Too Much of a Good Thing

Editorial - DC's Green Lantern Plans a Step Backwards

In 1959 John Broome, under the guidance of DC Comics' editor Julius Schwartz, gave the first rebirth to the Green Lantern franchise.  In their vision one being from Earth would be selected for the rare opportunity to represent humanity in something greater, to serve as a member of the Green Lantern Corps.  That singular individual would be chosen as the best humanity has to offer and while he would be like the rest of his fellow Green Lanterns he would be unique from his fellow heroes in the DC universe's blossoming hero community.

Since then the number of Green Lanterns has been ever increasing and in doing so the novelty of being a human in an army of aliens has long since been erased.  DC has struggled in balancing the increasing roster and at any given time over the past 75 years Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart or Kyle Rayner have found themselves as the "main" Green Lantern.  The long term effect on the Green Lantern fan base has been a lot of divisiveness, but having the four Earth lanterns spread across three books seemed to alleviate that...until now.  With today's DC Rebirth WonderCon panel the comic book company announced their plans for the immediate future and reaction from the Green Lantern sector of comic fans has been more than mixed...and I agree with them.

A GL smorgasbord - not in a good way
In one corner we have Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps - a book where DC is cramming Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps (and Sinestro and his Corps) into one series.  Yes it's twice monthly, however with all four of the most popular Green Lanterns shoved into one series you can pretty much guarantee that there will be more talk about who's featured the most than there will be about the stories themselves.  

Rebirth is also about a new start, however DC is putting Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti on the series, and while I'm neither his biggest fan or his harshest critic I do think that we needed a change.  Green Lantern was once one of DC's best selling books and even though it's expected to have a sales drop when someone like Geoff Johns leaves a book, Venditti's lukewarm reception by readers is enough to warrant a change when you're trying to get fans excited about your books, especially a talent with name recognition.  That Ethan Van Sciver is attached to the series as one of the two artists is a positive move, but at the end of the day readers aren't going to stick around if they aren't grabbed by the narrative.  

Really!?
Now in the other corner we have Green Lanterns being written by Sam Humphries and co-starring Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz.  Yes, a twice-monthly book co-starring the least favorite Green Lantern and the most under-developed Green Lantern character.  The two latest additions to an already over watered-down comics franchise will share page time in a book all their own.  Oh, and it gets better - both will also be featured in the new Bryan Hitch written Justice League series.  So readers can look for Simon and Jessica in four issues a month while they can find every other Green Lantern stuffed into two - this is better?

I can't overstate how confused I am by the decision making here.  There were already enough Green Lanterns and if DC's answer to diversity is going to be "just create another Green Lantern that fits into a target demographic" then they've lost their ability to be creative.  Of course it's not just DC with Marvel doing a fair number of diversity driven changes which are equally deprived of creativity.

For Green Lantern it's all just too much.  From a purely narrative sense it's laughable that six Green Lanterns would come from the same space sector let alone the same planet...and even moreso when you consider that all six come from the same country!  DC seems so concerned about making sure that readers have someone "just like me" to read about that they willingly choose to further dilute an already water-down concept.  

I was rather optimistic about DC's Rebirth plans prior to today's event.  I'd hoped to see the wealth of the Green Lantern franchise spread around a bit more, with perhaps Jessica made a part of the Titans and the others spread around between the two Green Lantern titles and Hal once again a central figure in the Justice League.  At the start of the panel DC Comics co-publisher Dan Didio made a promising statement that Rebirth is a "re-commitment to our fanbase", but in the end all I feel is disappointment that many Green Lantern fans apparently aren't a part of that fanbase.




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About Myron Rumsey

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa.  I'm a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music.  Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

9 comments:

  1. I'm confused as to your logic for being mad.. Are you mad because DC is actually trying something different and not ramming another generic Hal Jordan is the best GL ever story down our throats.

    Your logic for having this many GL from one sector and let alone from earth is very valid and truthful. My only disagreement with you is that Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz aren't deserving of a fair shot at headlinging their own series together. Say what you will but both of those character are open for interpretation and exploration while the current crop of GL (Hal, John, Kyle, and Guy) all have at some point or another been headliner of their own title and been forced to play the background behind Hal for decades.

    It not so much as DC trying to force diversity down our throats but exploring new avenue to keep the lantern line fresh. While I'm not the biggest Cruz fan I can see her appeal and I think she and Baz at least deserve a chance to get some much needed spotlight to at least give the lantern line some much needed jolt of energy.

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    1. Laron,

      It's more about the fact that DC is cramming the existing GL legacy into one book while "exploring" two characters that are superfluous at best. There are far more creative ways of keeping the line fresh than to further divide the fanbase - Cruz and Baz could have been part of the Titans where they'd have a change to grow just as much as on the Justice League, and when you hear Sam Humphries talk about how the two of them don't really know what they are doing it's rather illogical to think that they'd be a part of DC's greatest superhero team.

      I also take exception to your comment of "ramming another generic Hal Jordan is the best BL ever story down our throats" - how is DC showing the heroic nature of the character any different than showing Batman is the best detective or that Superman is the best superhero ad nausea. Again, there's a reason Hal was chosen for the ring - because he represents the best of us. So yes, he's entitled to be shown in that light.

      Baz and Cruz are not deserving of headlining a series - they've done nothing to deserve it other than existing. Neither have had any real training - why not let Baz and John Stewart co-star in a book, or make Cruz Hal's partner and logically extend the mentor relationship that John's started in Justice League? It would have been just as viable to make Green Lanterns about John and Guy and have a Baz/Cruz back up feature and then you'd have proven characters anchoring a title while developing the "new blood".

      I also don't understand the logic that adding more Green Lanterns is the key to injecting energy into the franchise. A new writer would have done that just as easily. We don't see DC creating multiple Wonder Women to help her sell more - we see a top name writer assigned to the book.

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    2. I agree they might be unnecessary characters but with that being said there more potential to be explored with those two who don't have 60-75 years of existing history. In my opinion the problem with the line is that you have character that all fall into place behind the OG GL Hal. (which by no means take this as me downing Hal at all) I also agree with you that DC rams Superman and Batman down our throats to the point of it being sickening.

      Since Rebirth John always being portrayed as Hal buddy cop but never allowed to take the spot light and when he does his books while good don't sell enough to keep them around past a certain amount of issues. Guy always the angry one that can never get a solo series and when he does and it good (Charles Soule Red Lantern) we all know it a temporary fix and he will go back to being the angry GL again (Edge of Oblivion). Then there Kyle who they keep telling us is so special but he always playing the naive lantern no matter how many time he get played for a fool (Omega Men).

      All have been a part or headlined a solo series since the New 52 inception and since Geoff Johns has left we can both agree the quality of the books has gone down. Its my belief that by giving these new rookie lanterns who until the series was announced were nothing more then jokes and by letting them headline the book together and being in Justice league at least gives you a different dynamic that Hal in JL just wouldn't give you.

      For my money your right in the mentoring aspect of partnering up the earth lanterns but since Baz was introduced they've done nothing to make his character more interesting or flush out his personality minus small appearances in the main lantern book in which he was essentially baby sitting Hal family in space.

      I like the idea of them headlining the book and honestly I'd love to see the aspect of Baz personality explored. His ring picked him because he has aspect of both Hal and Sinestro. If the book not a success or fan aren't feeling it DC will scrap it and stick Hal back on JL and expand the line giving the older guard lantern more screen time.

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  2. Not liking the groupings as well but may still pick them up, hoping that they at least tie up all the loose ends properly before starting this rebirth.

    If the reds and larfleeze(Yey he's back after that worthless appearance in godhead) are going to be in the GL book, then would have preferred it if Guy and Kyle joined jess and simon in that book instead . Would have been a refreshing group while hall and john stay with the GL corps.

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  3. Agreed, there are a number of creative ways that Simon and Jessica could have been given a spotlight and still served the core Green Lanterns better than shoving them all into a single title. I'm not sure if I'll buy Green Lanterns at all and vote with my dollars - it'll be the second time in 45 years in the hobby that I won't be buying a GL title.

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  4. Well I understand your point Myron and you should vote with your $ and not buy the title your not interested in. Granted I'd hope you give the first arc a chance and review it for your site.

    I've felt the same way since the renegade Hal arc has started I couldn't get into it so I honestly clocked out and stuck with the amazing sinestro book.

    Question: Do you believe all the event of the previous sinsetro series will carry over to the new books ? I personally hope so

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  5. I think so, Laron. Robert Venditti said that Sinestro was going to park Warworld at the center of the universe and that his book would be about the Green Lanterns trying to gain a foothold in a universe where the Sinestro Corps won.

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  6. That our Sinestro.. I look forward to seeing how Robert Venditti handles his series.

    For my $ both books and JL look intriguing and I hope they are good.

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  7. The Green of WillApril 3, 2016 at 11:22 PM

    Myron - I agree with pretty much everything here. There are simply too many Earth Lanterns. It's fairly obvious that Geoff Johns run was brilliant, and part of that brilliance was balancing the characters between Gl and Corps, but also in tying both titles together, creating continuity without unnecessary "crossovers". Additionally, making Kyle Rayner the White Lantern allowed for a preservation off the character while expanding the mythology and creating space for John and Hal. Gardner could and should continue as a Green/Red combination, whether headlining his own title or giving a distinctively Guy Gardner perspective to a GL/GL Corps continuity. Finally, Sinestro worked in his own title, but it was thin at times. Giving him a true, focused mission like building New Korugar would be a great move while boosting his ego as the savior of Korugar and keeping him in the forefront without needing him to be a continuous foil for Hal.

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