Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2: Alpha War (The New 52) Review


Green Lantern Corps Vol. 2: Alpha War
Hmmm... where would we find two shiny
people in a dark room...

Writer: Peter J Tomasi

Artists: Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna

Collects: Green Lantern Corps #0, 8-14

Background Information:

In the last volume, Guy Gardner and John Stewart took on an alien race called the Keepers- the ones formerly tasked with storing the green light of willpower. During that time, John was imprisoned and interrogated with other Lanterns over codes that would allow the keepers to enter Oa, the home of the Green Lantern Corps and the Guardians of the Universe. In order to stop one lantern from giving the codes away, John killed him. He then went on to take that lantern’s body to his home planet where his parents and younger brother gave him a farewell. Of course, at that point, nobody knew that the lantern died at John’s hands.

Yep, that’s totally not going to blow up in his face.

Totally won’t.

Review:

Quick, shoot the green guys... oh... wait...
The first volume of Green Lantern Corps could have been much better, even if it wasn’t bad. I seriously doubt people would be desperate for a second volume based on the previous one, were it not for the fact that the series crosses right over with the other GL titles. Good thing that Alpha War seriously ups the game in Tomasi’s New 52 run; producing a story that rewards you for slogging through the first volume and ramps up interest in the third.

This volume concerns the fallout of John Stewart’s lantern killing. The Alpha Corps (the Green Lanterns charged with policing the Green Lanterns), have footage of the dastardly deed and have come with an arrest warrant for Stewart. Naturally, Guy Gardner opposes the arrest and you can bet people are going to smash each other with green objects.

The story is deeply rooted in how bad the Guardians are, and it almost goes without saying that to people familiar with the years of GL history. There’s nothing new here in that regard, but there’s a sense here that it’s finally going to boil over and that makes the volume interesting.

Tomasi also does a fine job at digging into GL history as references to the Manhunters, Mogo and the Psions. They’re all wrapped into the story and it’s entertaining in many ways. The battles between the Alpha Lanterns and the Corps is also well-done in the way it takes advantage of that history. Let’s face it; the Alphas are able to switch off the Lantern rings, so Guy needs to pull out something pretty clever. I’m more than happy to read that, but there’s one issue that bother me.

This book is supposed to be about Guy and John- two equally awesome lanterns that work together to save the universe. Why, then, does this title seem to be almost exclusively Guy’s book? Between this and last volume, John’s position has been relegated to “person in need of rescuing”. That has to be insulting to Stewart fans, and it smacks in the face of all the work DC did at the beginning of the New 52 to diversify their line.

The cliffhanger at the end of this book, however, is worth the price of the book and definitely validates buying the next volume. I won’t spoil it, but there’s some suggestion here that Guy won’t hijack the whole title for much longer.
It never occurred to me that Guy had an even stupider
haircut at some stage.

Somehow, though Pasarin’s art was distorted and not pretty at all in the first volume, the art in this volume looks a lot better. The constipated faces aren’t there anymore, nor do they look botoxed. There is still a lot of green here, and you’re gonna’ get sick of that colour by the end of this volume, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Alpha War has successfully validated Green Lantern Corps. It gets a four out of five people in need of saving.

+ Rewards you for reading volume 1.

+ Draws on GL history.

+ Art looks better.

- Guy steals too much spotlight

Alternate Option: Green Lantern: The Return of Black Hand

If you start this series, you need to read all the GL line.