Sunday, June 05, 2011

Damn: Green Lantern Edition

DC announced the Green Lantern creative teams for September and to be honest, I've spent the last couple days in stunned disappointment.

It was my fault for getting up my hopes. I thought a reboot would bring in a new set of creators who haven't had a chance to mess with Green Lantern since all of Johns sweeping changes, but it seems that the writers will be the same as before with the addition of Peter Milligan. (Who is paired with Ed Benes, and nothing on Earth could make me want to see how Ed Benes draws Bleez.)

It will also take place a few months in the future, after the completion of the "War of the Green Lanterns" storyline.

Fortunately, we won't see a clumsy attempt to fit everything created in the past few years into the origin story again.

Unfortunately, we won't see a creative attempt to fit everything created in the past few years into the origin story again.

Really, this is wise because it is one of the best selling titles, and there is a lot of appeal to it that would be lost in a reboot. We won't have to wait as they slowly roll out Guy, John and Kyle again, after all, and they have no excuse to run through the Blackest Night and War of the Green Lanterns crossover plots again. We can start at the status quo, with four Earth Lanterns and seven Color Corps.

I'm just disappointed, because I was getting the impression that Johns had run out of interesting stories to tell in this franchise. I was hoping at least he'd be moved to a character other than Hal, and someone else could give us their interpretation. I loved Johns's Hal right after Rebirth when he was reviled by everyone. Once he became the golden boy again, he lost his shine. There's an excessive masculinity in Hal Jordan that's hard to sympathize with unless his personal life is somehow in the crapper. Johns keeps pushing home how exciting his life is and how much he gets laid along with the impression that he's the go-to guy on the superhero world. The text supports his macho character flaws rather than mocks them, when Hal's character is best when the writer makes fun of his alpha maleness. Basically, he needs a good humiliating conk on the head every issue or so and he hasn't been getting that enough from this writer.

The other irritation of course is that Carol Ferris, the main Star Sapphire, will remain under Johns's dubious control. Honestly, I don't like a thing he's done with the Star Sapphires other than give us an excuse to make thousands of them. This whole angle on love is just mean-spirited and cynical. There's a spark of a chance that the energy is good at the core of it, but things have been set up so that it completely takes over a woman's mind. She turns into a nightmare stalker. She lives only for love and captures others in crystals. They brainwash villainesses into becoming this way. The name of the Violet Entity is The Predator.

And oh yes, this is all based on taking every bit of continuity into account and explaining away Carol, Debbie, and Dela's behavior as Star Sapphire. And using the Predator, which Englehart used to explain why Star Sapphire's behavior was so completely over the edge, to explain that the violet energy is difficult to control. All in the canon, after all.

Carol is presented as the good Star Sapphire because she resists control and has the most experience. That way she can be a hero now but have been a villain then, and the Violets can be a menacing threat.

What I don't get is why the Violets must be a menacing threat overall. Why can't it have been a problem with Carol or even a problem with EARTH as a location somehow causing the violet energy to be unbalanced? Why is Miri the exception of the ones we've seen for being noble and helpful? why is Carol played as special for having some control? And why couldn't the Predator have been the red entity taking control of Carol and mucking with the violet energy like Parallax took control of Hal and mucked with the green?

Why is Love bad in Green Lantern?

And why are they all scantily clad women, except the dude who gets some armor? What the hell? Do you just not want women reading Green Lantern?

I suspect Johns thinks this is a creative, fascinating take on things since Love is supposed to be a virtue. Except that since the Star Sapphires are conflated on every level with sex (another aspect I hate about them) it's not a new take. It's an old take on sex as all-consuming, addictive, and dangerous. It's an old take on women as the wicked temptresses who would distract the hero from his noble duty.

And it's an incredibly shallow view of Love.

Really, the only thing that even mildly redeemed this take on Star Sapphire was Tomasi and Gleason's Miri. She should be the template for Star Sapphires. Carol should be like Hal, someone who messed up badly.

I had some hope in a reboot that we'd see the Star Sapphires revised to something less horrible, but seeing the exact same writers on the books kills that.

Though maybe we can count on losing the pink nightmare outfit if the Pants for Everyone! trend continues. That's something I suppose, even if it's a wrongheaded something.


  1. Miri is indeed a superb Star Sapphire. Everyone loves Miri! And her costume is also the best. On the other hand,I don't know if getting Jim Lee to redesign the Star Sapphire outfit is necessarily going to improvement.

    I AM glad that at least the four Green Lanterns are safe however.

  2. I love Green Lantern, but the Zamarons were always problematic to me. I liked Flash's Golden Age Star Sapphire who didn't have any connection to the Zamarons and wasn't trying to marry Jay (she was man hating lesbian would be conqueror). I also liked Deborah Camille Darnell who refused the gem from the Zamarons and stole Carol's. She wasn't mind controlled nor was she a stalker. Of course Geoff Johns killed her off in Infinite Crisis because she didn't fit in his architect for what a Star Sapphire is.

    The thing I don't like The Star Sapphires most of all is that they are primarily made up of would be rapist predators who are scorned. No matter what gender they are man, woman, other the implication is creepy and sadistic. I think of all the things I hate most of the emotional spectrum its them and the stupid Rage Lanterns.

  3. I think Guy "I love the Corps!" Gardner showed us what a Star Sapphire can be. There's more to love than romantic love – love of family, love of friends, even love of country if you want to stretch it that far. The Zamaron's (new?) pattern of choosing Star Sapphires whose love is lost also has potential; Miri and Fatality, for example, cannot fixate on winning back their lost loves, as they are gone forever. As I read the canon, Carol is actually the only remaining would-be rapist predator in the Star Sapphires.

    If I can generate a dozen decent plots (for a Star Sapphire RPG I ran) built around this concept, why can't DC find a writer who can do the same? Heck, I'm even available...

    -- Jack of Spades

  4. Jack -- Y'know, I could get behind that if I could see Carol being played up as odd. But everything I've read that's not by Tomasi, she seems to be the pick for the ideal Star Sapphire. Plus the Entity is STILL called the Predator.

    And Johns idea of a male Star Sapphire is infuriating.

    Man, I could do a lot with a Corps based on love, too.

  5. I find it funny that Guy Gardner and Wonder Woman are the only Star Sapphires to portray non-romantic love. (Hint because they are temporary and shoe ins.) As for Fatality, sure she loves her family, but I swear that once someone remembers her and John Stewart they'll remember all the times she acted like a creep and predator to John in Kyle's old run.

  6. "Why can't it have been a problem with Carol or even a problem with EARTH as a location somehow causing the violet energy to be unbalanced?"

    But..but...that would mean that humans aren't the most awesome thing ever and earth isn't the center of the universe. The readership couldn't handle it :).

  7. I also agree with Ragnell that Carol should be the one with the problem not the concept of love as a whole, but that won't be the case as long as she's top female in the Green Lantern franchise. This is why I want Hal to move one with someone else and stop acting like old Carol to his love ones. I swear the two have switched roles since Rebirth.

    Hal went from being a villain of his own choice who believed he was justified. Now he was as brainwashed and unwilling as Carol was with Star Sapphire. Hal used to have respect for himself and others. Sometimes his cockiness and male nature showed, but was for the most part good to his girlfriends and did have a sensitive side. As opposed to the uptight, repressed Carol who played games and toyed with Hal. Now Hal's disrespecting his friends and girlfriends, Carol included. Now it's Hal who turned down the marriage proposal instead of Carol.

  8. Man, I forgot all about Miri. Was she fridged or just forgotten with the rest of the Sapphires?

    Oh, and for Benes art, expect this Carol to be recoloured red for Bleez basically. Maybe he'll prove me wrong, though I seriously doubt it.