Friday, 8 May 2015

Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3: Willpower (The New 52) Review

Green Lantern Corps vol. 3: Willpower (The New 52)
Angry pose is angry.

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi

Artists: Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna

Collecting: Green Lantern Corps #15-20, Green Lantern Corps Annual #1 and Green Lantern #20

Background information:

Previously in this series, things have been bad for Green Lantern Corps members Guy Gardner and John Stewart. John has been accused of murder (which he kinda… did). And Guy has been kicked off the Corps and sent back to earth. All because the Corps’ bosses, the blue imps known as the guardians (who may or may not represent the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild, the lollipop guild) have been trying to replace the Green Lanterns with an entity known as the Third Army. They’re the Green Lantern equivalent of zombies… which has never been done before. Nope, never.


Sorry, Guy, you need to read the first
three volumes of three other comics to
answer that one.
To be honest, I can’t say that I’ve loved Green Lantern Corps it’s been decent, but I’m ready for it to end. Thankfully, Willpower offers a satisfying end to the series, even though it’s hardly the strongest Lantern book out there.

Guy Gardner’s angry…er. Having been kicked of the corps, he’s now roaming the streets of his hometown beating up bad guys and getting into trouble everywhere he looks. Meanwhile, John Stewart has joined Star Sapphire Fatality in hunting down the pieces of the destroyed planet (and Green Lantern) Mogo. Meanwhile again, the Third Army is making its way across the universe killing and assimilating everyone and everything.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Gee, that sounds overly complicated”, you’re kinda right. Willpower is a big enough trade to be able to cover all of these stories, but following all three, for the most part, separate stories feels jarring. The trade isn’t helped by the age old problem of all Lantern books crossing over because… yes. There are bits and pieces missing that you need to read all the Lantern titles to understand, and that makes for line of books that are very unfriendly to new and casual readers, who may not be ready to jump feet first into a book that requires so much financial and personal investment.

That said, one thing that Peter Tomasi has always been good at is writing a very character-driven book. Willpower is no exception. It’s very clear that Guy and John are both the driving forces behind this story. It’s their actions and personalities that fuel this entire story. Guy’s headstrong attitude and John’s constant guilt influence nearly every moment in this volume, and it makes for good storytelling.

Contrary to all appearances, there are no poo-people in this
Which makes it odd that the two issues that investigate these characters the most are the least interesting of the volume. There is a certain point where the first lantern Volthoom, the guy powering the third army, is diving into the memories of Guy and John. Tomasi obviously wants us to believe that these issues have some kind of emotional impact, and both chapters certainly are written to do so; but there is absolutely no reason for us to care about these moments. That Guy botched his job as a cop feels irrelevant, and though it slightly more significant to bring up all of John’s past mistakes, “past mistakes” seems to be the main description of John’s character, so his past feels pointless in a book where all we’ve seen are the past mistakes.

Art in Green Lantern Corps bugged me to no end for a long time. Each angry/stressed face looked at first like Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna learned to draw by tracing pictures of constipated guys trying to pass stones. No it’s kinda’ grown on me. I still don’t love the faces, but there is some amazing action drawn here that somehow manages to be brutal and epic without being overdone.

Willpower is a fitting end to a decent series, and it gets a three and a half out of five passed stones.

*** ½

+ Character-driven story.

+ Superbly-drawn action.

- Need to read the whole series to understand.

- Some character investigation falls flat.

Alternate Option: Green Lantern: The End

Read one, and you have to read them all.

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