Greenflame

Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

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Random Lantern-related thoughts

With the “Revenge of the Green Lanterns” story arc coming to a close last month, current Green Lantern writer Geoff Johns gave this recent interview over at Newsarama.com: GEOFF JOHNS – GREEN LANTERN, OA, PRIME, & MORE – NEWSARAMA.

Now, I liked the story arc, and on the whole I’ve enjoyed Hal Jordan’s return, the ongoing development of Kyle Rayner’s character over in Ion (Ion #6 Review – Silver Bullet Comics), and the new Green Lantern Corps series (which is in comic relief mode at the moment). The idea that Jordan gets some space to work out some sort of redemption for his past atrocities (even if they were technically not his fault) is good – though I think the run of Jordan as Spectre did it better. And I even liked them bringing Arisia back (even if the retcon wasn’t great). But Arisia’s costume was not great (an understatement).

One of the things that appeals to me about the concept of the comic book Green Lantern Corps is that the defining characteristic of a Lantern is that they can overcome fear, are strong willed, and have a firm moral centre (of sorts). Gender doesn’t come into it. Age doesn’t come into it. Body-shape doesn’t come into it. Species doesn’t come into it (they’re an inter-galactic organization, after all). To paraphrase Paul, “There is neither human nor alien, animal nor plant, male nor female, for you are all one in the Corps.”

Which means, by implication, that the characters in the stories shouldn’t looked like the epitomes of Western ideals of beauty and sex sprayed with latex. Rather, they should look and dress like everyday persons (allowing for the alieness of that). If they can have Mogo, Gnort and Jack T. Chance (not to mention Alan Scott – yes, I know he’s not in the Corp technically) then they should be able to have an Arisia or Jade (who are/were strong-willed, intelligent female characters) able to be portrayed differently. I guess it wouldn’t sell as well though.

Anyway, Karen Healey, over at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed). Karen Healey: Snarkier Than The Collected Works Of Lewis Carroll – Post Hoc Something, Ergo Whatever takes this up. (Warning – profanities abound) [Hat tip to Matt at Problem Attic — #20 / 2006-09-28]

3 Comments

  1. Thanks for the link to the interview.

    Gotta say, I really had serious issues with stuff like the reformed Hal sleeping around with people and not even remembering their names… The idea of superheroes completely caving in to the cultural norms of the moment when I knew them as gallant and honorable for years is … dunno.

    Hey, gimme a break, it’s tough getting old.

  2. Yes, it annoyed me too. That bit of the characterisation was odd – especially given how all the other characters (and writers) talk of Hal as having a strong moral centre and clear ideas of right and wrong. I guess they are redefining some of that in terms of contemporary values – as comic books have done in every generation (c.f. Adams and O’Neil’s run on GA/GL in the 70s).

    Still, I wonder if some aspects of the characterisation are overdone attempts to redefine the character. The original hotshot, flyboy test pilot who had a way with the women tended to get lost over the years as Hal became more introspective and aware of various shades of grey and social issues. And they seem to be bringing that back.

    In part, it may also be Hal “rediscovering” his youth (seeing as he’s been de-aged at bit) and also a reaction against his recent past. Parallax corrupted Hal’s sense of right and wrong into absolutes that had him trying to establish a “justice” in the world, and the Spectre incarnation also played on that. Maybe he’ll swing back into the middle somewhere?

    On the other hand I can’t stand the fact that he signed up with the Air Force. 1) The Corp should support you when you join, and 2) you can’t serve two masters. Just idiot story writing, I think.

    Liked the Batman/Hal Jordan issue a while back though. That seemed to capture some of the character well.

    It will be interesting too to see where the DC Universe goes. The company/writers etc. have said they thought the 80s-early 2000s moved far too much into dark and gritty stories and lost some of the wonder and fun that the stories used to have. Post Infinite Crisis they’re going to try and bring some of the light back (All Star Superman is a good example. All Star Batman is not).

  3. Yeah, I’m with you on all of this.

    The difference between this and the O’Neil-Adams revolution was that then we were recognizing that there was stuff accepted as “normal” that was actually sin. Hal’s mission and morality had to expand beyond physical heists to fight systemic robbery and socio-economic oppression. But now we’re shrinking his morality — stuff he used to think was wrong suddenly isn’t any more.

    I’d love to believe that this was part of a larger character development arc that will have him “swinging” back (unfortunate term there…) toward the middle, but I’d have wanted him to vocalize the change as O’Neil and Adams did. And, as a writer, I’d have the Ollie Queen character foreshadow the later return rather than just smirk and wink “hope I’m not interrupting something” or whatever he said (I gave the issue away already).

    But, yeah, great call on the AirForce thing. And I think the long term Bruce Wayne – Hal Jordan antagonism is one of the best new wrinkles in there since I was a kid.

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