Thursday, 27 February 2014

Green Lantern, Volume 4: Dark Days Review (Robert Venditti, Billy Tan)


With Geoff Johns leaving Green Lantern, Robert Venditti has some pretty big shoes to fill but his work on Valiant’s XO Manowar series has been spectacular so he seems more than capable to pull this off successfully. I was eager to find out if he’d worked his magic on Green Lantern - and unfortunately, no, he hasn’t. 

Hal Jordan is now head of the Green Lantern Corps and decides to set free the hundreds of Green Lantern rings he’s holding on to, garnering hundreds of new recruits from across the universe. Unfortunately most of them are inexperienced kids. Meanwhile Hal and Carol have a falling out and decide to take a break; Prixiam Nol-Anj escapes; and an ancient threat emerges to destroy all Lanterns, everywhere. 

First of all, the book starts with a completely arbitrary and stupid attack by the Orange Lantern Larfleeze as he tries to get some shiny stuff for himself like a cosmic magpie. Larfleeze has got to be the most one-dimensional character ever – he just wants stuff for the sake of it, constantly uttering his intentions as he goes! This dumb attack is just to “test out” the new GL members who don’t know how to use the rings – it’s just a shame that none of the characters are especially interesting or that scene might’ve been better. 

There’s some relationship stuff with Hal and Carol that was also duller than dull – I mean, if Carol doesn’t know by now that Hal’s an idiot, she’s as much to blame for her unhappiness as he is! 

Incredibly, the main story doesn’t get going until halfway through this 180 page book when a giant scientist from the universe that existed before ours appears. This guy is Relic, who has discovered that the light spectrum – the source of all power for all Lanterns – is like a reservoir and that the more the Lanterns use up that reservoir the more they are destroying the universe. 

This is actually a really interesting situation as Relic, though appearing as a bad guy, is actually a good guy – he’s trying to stop the universe from being destroyed. For some reason, Venditti’s turned the tables on the Lanterns and made them the bad guys! The more they use their rings, the more they destroy the universe. Whaaaat?! 

One of the biggest problems with DC, and particularly with the Green Lantern books, is the number of crossovers going on. It wreaks havoc on the collected editions that don’t include the crossover issues, like in this book, where you get massive jumps in story from one page to the next with no idea of what’s happening unless you’re also reading the other titles. For example – and this is a big SPOILER so stop reading now if you’re going to be a baby about that kinda thing – Oa blows up. The Green Lantern homeworld goes ka-BOOM! Also John Stewart dies! 

Oa blowing up is dealt with in a couple of pages which is really weak considering it’s a pretty damn big deal! And John Stewart’s “death” isn’t referenced at all. He’s there one page then later on somebody says John died! He doesn’t really of course but it’s bizarre to see him ok in one scene and then later on being told that he’s dead. It’s like, what? When? How?! Oh and Guy Gardner’s a Red Lantern and Kyle Rayner’s a White Lantern!?! 

If you’re just reading this book, stuff like that is jarring to see on the page because it comes out of nowhere. Those events are probably dealt with in more detail in other books like Green Lantern Corps and Red Lanterns (and who knows whatever other GL titles there are), but because this book just collects the Green Lantern comics, the holes in the story completely throws the reader for a loop. 

Dark Days is just a really weird and really boring Green Lantern story. Weird because how it manages to make all Lanterns everywhere baddies, and Hal Jordan one of the worst for wilfully taking part in the downfall of the universe (and he’s supposed to be the hero!!); and boring because mostly it’s made up of bland GL action we’ve seen a million times before, and even duller cops’n’robbers stuff like when Hal and co. chase after Nol-Anj in a ridiculous Western pastiche. I love Venditti’s XO Manowar comics but his Green Lantern series is really poor. Dark Days is one of the weakest GL books I’ve read in a while.

Green Lantern Vol. 4: Dark Days

2 comments:

  1. My one question: does Simon Baz appear in this volume, or does Venditti ditch him because... y'know... Muslims (roll eyes).

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    1. He's not in this volume but not because of any reason other than he's a crappy gimmick character.

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