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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern

Green Lantern is solidly middle of the road as far as superhero movies go. Perhaps in a less crowded (and less high quality) summer action season it would seem a stronger contender, but the film really shows as Warner Brothers’ first major attempt to produce a big-budget superhero film not directly related to Superman or Batman. It’s perfectly functional, managing to do everything it sets out to in a relatively efficient manner, but there’s never really a sense that the film exists as anything more than a series of plot points that need be checked in order for the movie to cross the finish line. Given the potential of the source material, as well as its relatively unique nature amongst the slew of generic superheroes, a functioning and formulaic adventure can’t help but feel like a bit of a disappointment.

Hal Jordan: Space Cop? It has a nice ring to it...

Note: We also have an introduction to the Green Lantern mythos available, if you’re interested in checking it out.

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Four Minutes of Green Lantern from WonderCon..

Now we’re talking.

I am very excited about Warner Brothers’ upcoming Green Lantern, despite some of the difficulties with the first trailer. This second batch of footage has significantly restored my faith, even if it doesn’t address all my concerns from the last footage (bad dialogue and a god-awful comic relief character). At least the CGI looks better, even if there’s still work to do on the costume. Here’s hoping they can pull it together before the release date in June.

If you’re looking for an introduction to the character, why not have a look at our handy introduction.

I like the tone of it much better. It’s less “generic superhero” (which was a dumb approach in a market over-saturated with superhero films) and more “epic space opera”, which I hope might set it apart from the competition. I always though that the “space opera” angle would be the right one to push with the character, as it has a wonderful Star Wars vibe to it.

Non-Review Review: Justice League – Crisis on Two Earths

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows.

Okay, well maybe it’s not quite “stand-alone”, seen as it’s based off a script that was intended to bridge the two animated series Justice League and Justice League Unlimited. Anyway, some of these movies – such as Justice League: New Frontier – are excellent examples of Western animation in their right. Some – such as Wonder Woman – are spectacular introductions to characters that perhaps never really got the attention that they so sorely deserved. On the other hand, some are just animated versions of a Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster production.

Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths is one of those.

Owlman is a bird of prey...

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Grant Morrison’s Run on Justice League of America – The Deluxe Edition, Vol. 3-4 (Review/Retrospective)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. I’ll be looking at movies and episodes and even some of the related comic books. With the review of Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths later on today, I thought I’d take a look at Grant Morrison’s graphic novel which inspired it in someway. However, I figure – given that large debt that the entire Justice League cartoon owes Morrison’s iconic tenure on Justice League of America – it’s time to take a look at the latter half of Morrison’s run on the title.

We have no powers, there are millions of them and there’s a child in there who needs us to save the world. Let’s go.

– another day at the office for Superman

I remarked in my review of the first two deluxe hardcovers collecting his work on the series that I was perhaps a lot less impressed than most with Morrison’s work on the title. It was grand and bombastic, but it ended up feeling more than a little hallow, especially measured against some of his bolder efforts within the superhero genre. Although time and a few re-reads have softened my perspective quite a bit, I will concede that I don’t measure this as the writer’s best work. It’s epic and smart and fun, but never really becomes anything too much more.

But, then again, they are the Justice League. If I want deep characterisation of philosophical meanderings, I can check out a different book.

It actually looks quite peaceful when you're not saving it...

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Absolute New Frontier (Review/Retrospective)

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is a comic book review of the graphic novel which inspired the animated movie Justice League: New Frontier

Today some would say that those struggles are all over– that the horizons have been explored– that all the battles have been won– that there is no longer an American frontier.

The problems are not all solved and the battles are not all won– and we stand today on the edge of a new frontier– the frontier of the 1960s– a frontier of unknown opportunities and perils– a frontier of unfulfilled hopes and threats.

– John F. Kennedy, 1960

It’s a Kennedy-era superhero saga, capturing a lot of the spirit of the sixties, the era that really saw DC comics – and comic books as a whole – massively reinvent themselves.

Green Lantern's light...

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Non-Review Review: Justice League – New Frontier

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

Justice League: New Frontier is probably the best of the animated direct-to-DVD feature produced by Warner Brothers. It’s an adaptation of Darwyn Cooke’s superb New Frontier, a look at the gap between the Golden Age and the Silver Age of comic book superheroes, an attempt to offer an in-universe explanation for the shift in tone and content in the medium between the forties and the sixties. It’s also a damn good exploration of the shift in American public culture and consciousness, exploring the difference in America’s attitude towards the government, the attempt to reach the stars and the fall of McCarthy-ism. It’s also a damn fine bit of animation.

Some sort of League... possibly for Justice...

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Non-Review Review: Green Lantern – First Flight

This post is part of the DCAU fortnight, a series of articles looking at the Warner Brothers animations featuring DC’s iconic selection of characters. This is one of the “stand-alone” animated movies produced by the creative team that gave us the television shows. 

In case you weren’t aware, director Martin Campbell (the man who saved the Bond franchise twice – with both GoldenEye and Casino Royale) will be bringing a big screen adaptation of DC comic’s Green Lantern our way next summer. I am really looking forward to it, which might seem odd – Green Lantern has never really had the popular exposure that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or even Flash has had. Of course, that might be down to the fact that nobody has produced a television show based entirely around the character – hell, even Aquaman had that aborted Ving Rhames pilot and that fictional movie. So, it’s understandable if Green Lantern isn’t exactly lighting up the radar in the same way that, say, Kenneth Branagh’s Thor is. That said, if you’re looking to get a taste for the character, you could do a lot worse than checking out Green Lantern: First Flight.

Shoulda put a ring on it, indeed...

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Green Lantern 101: A Beginner’s Guide to The Green Lantern Mythos…

The trailer for Green Lantern arrived yesterday. I’m already excited about the release. However, I acknowledge that Hal Jordan isn’t quite the household name that Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent is. So I put together this collection of frequently asked questions about Green Lantern, which will hopefully give you a bit of an introduction to the character. If this proves popular, I might do the same for Thor or Captain America, the other major comic book releases of next year. Check out the trailer below.

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Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern – Blackest Night, Blackest Night: Green Lantern, Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps & Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps (Review/Retrospective)

Wow. This is pretty much the climax of Geoff Johns’ five year run on Green Lantern, dating all the way back to Rebirth – where he reintroduced Hal Jordan, the original Silver Age version of the character. Since the very start of his run, he’s been dropping hints about the upcoming “war of light” and the prophecy first articulated in an Alan Moore short story decades ago – the prophecy of “blackest night”. Throughout his tenure on the title (and indeed his role shaping the DC Universe as a whole, as one of its guiding writers in the last decade), he has hinted again and again about big events looming on the horizon. Blackest Night is that event. And, in a way, it’s just as wild and crazy and huge as it should be.

Green Lantern reaches new heights...

Note: I am aware that the excellent Peter J. Tomasi wrote the Green Lantern Corps tie-in, but I thought it best to include it in the write-up here. I’ll actually be including my review of the tie-ins under the “Geoff Johns’ Run on Green Lantern” banner, even though he didn’t write all of them. If you’re looking for an opinion on Tomasi’s writing, it’s excellent and it’s highly recommended. Indeed, all four of these wonderful hardcovers are. Oops, did I just spoil my review?

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Absolute Green Lantern: Rebirth (Review/Retrospective)

Face facts, John. The real Hal Jordan is back. And he’s bringing the past with him.

– Batman

Batman states the above as if it’s some sort of dire threat. Perhaps to him, one of the darker of the superhero community, it is. However, to writer Geoff Johns, it’s a mission statement. Let the reconstruction begin. It’s easy to balk at a relatively recent superhero comic being given DC’s prestige ‘Absolute’ format (it’s even easier when you realise it’s only six issues long for that hefty price tag), but Green Lantern: Rebirth deserves it. Not because it’s as iconic as, say, Alan Moore’s Watchmen or Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, because it isn’t. Nor is it because of the series’ increasingly important place in the DC canon. It deserves the treatment because of what it represents. This was the moment that the pendulum swung back in mainstream comics, a conscious rejection of the “darker and edgier” philosophy that gripped the medium in the nineties. It’s also a pretty good read.

Shine a light...

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