Darwyn Cooke’s impact on the medium of comics will never be forgotten as he brought the heroes of Golden Age and Silver Age to the children of the Internet Age, and my thoughts and those of the rest of the Pop Optiq comics team are with his family and friends. The best way to remember him is to support, marvel at, enjoy, and, most of all, smile at the comics and films he made, and much of his work from his DC stories to his Parker graphic novels is easily available on Comixology.
Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern produced the seminal take on Green Lantern. Johns took a struggling and insipid franchise and turned it into a consistent top seller. He made Green Lantern matter again by crafting an entire universe based solely on the power of emotions. His run never lacked heart, as the biggest theme was the complex relationship of Hal Jordan and Sinestro. This was never more evident than in Secret Origin one of the most compelling and insightful stories ever conceived by the legendary Geoff Johns.
When it’s not awkwardly taking shots at texting young people, making non-statements about the media, various world leaders, striking up a Strange Fruit-esque conversation about race involving only white people , or turning Bruce Wayne into a Randian hero with Carrie Kelly as his mouthpiece and Superman as his attack dog, The Dark Knight III #3 is an intergenerational superhero epic that boasts Andy Kubert’s best artwork of his career and flaming post-apocalyptic palette from Brad Anderson.
However, it was one of Moore’s shortest stories that proved to be one of his most impactful works. Being just 12 pages long, “Tygers”, found in the pages of Tales of the Green Lantern Corps. Annual #2, depicts the inciting action for Abin Sur’s eventual demise. It is a terrifyingly haunting portrayal of Abin’s descent into a hellish world rife with disturbingly dreadful demons and torturous landscapes. If you combined The Twilight Zone, Star Trek, and Dante’s Inferno, you’d get “Tygers”. For all intents and purposes, Alan Moore somehow crafted a horror story from a Green Lantern comic book. As it stands, the results have never been more grotesquely enjoyable.
On the surface, the title of Final Crisis feels like a misnomer. How can there even be a “final” crisis? There will always be a DC Universe, there will always be earth-shattering dangers, and there will always be heroes to ensure the end is never really the end. But the strength of Final Crisis lies in that it recognizes this, and uses this fact as the crux of the entire event: the promotional tagline was, after all, “Heroes die. Legends live forever.” The characters and stories of the DC Universe are timeless, never-ending, and very much alive in the way that language can be said to be alive. It’s from this angle that writer Grant Morrison attempts to comment on and interact with DC’s complex and often unwieldy history. While Final Crisis is not the final challenge these characters will ever face (because nothing ever will be until the day DC stops publishing — and at this point that’ll likely be the same day CNN puts it “Nearer, My God, to Thee” video to use), one walks away from it feeling like they’ve just experienced the ultimate in everything the DC Universe was, is, and will be.
JLA #1 is another feather in Bryan Hitch’s artistic cap as he excels at showing superheroes in action along with labs, helicopters, explosions, and even a decent flirty interaction between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. However, his plot maybe suffers from some hypercompression as ideas, threats, and allies are introduced at a rapid pace without proper establishment. There are also a few story logic issues, The Flash and Green Lantern are written interchangeably, and Cyborg is kind of treated as deus ex machina. These misfires make JLA #1 an average comic with great art.
What makes Blackest Night one of the best event comics of the past 10 years is that it seems real. Not in the sense that dead superheroes wanting to eat your heart could actually happen, but in the sense that it’s one of the most organic crossovers ever written. Because it was borne from another series that slowly began to escalate into a line wide conflict, Blackest Night never feels like an annual gratuitous crossover, as many event comics do. It makes sense that something as encapsulating as the War of Light or the Blackest Night would invariably affect the rest of the DCU, and because the crisis is injected into the rest of the DCU with such precision, the Blackest Night comes off as being a much direr situation than previous event crises. Blackest Night never feels complimentary or lifeless because it was the natural progression of what Geoff Johns was building to on Green Lantern. But as we praise Blackest Night as the seminal comic event, let’s not forget that it all really started with Alan Moore.
Being a travel agent on Earth-2 definitely has to be the Seventh Circle of Hell of careers. Sure the folks on the Nazi Earth or the Crime Syndicate Earth have their jobs cut out for them trying to convince anyone that their universe is a nice place to visit for even a nanosecond. But as Highfather’s sacrificial lamb to keep Darkseid from preying upon the whole of existence, Earth-2 makes a pretty strong case for having it the worst of all. That’s not the breaks, that’s just harsh beyond measure. But now Convergence has ushered in a whole new world — in the most literal way possible. Taking these characters in a completely new direction, Earth-2: Society makes a bold attempt at getting the Earth-2 line to hit its stride in ways that have eluded it since its inception.
DC’s latest event comic reaches its second (technically third) issue and continues the trend of disappointment. Despite a star studded cast of the excellent Earth 2 hero roster, Convergence has had very little to do despite all the publicity hype and the bringing in of countless parts of DC’s history. With so many great stories on the table, it’s a shame that this story ends up so empty.
Like a weekly root canal, it’s time to endure Earth 2: World’s End again. At least there’s solace that this defilement of this once great universe will soon end. What is truly making this final stretch of World’s End appalling is how little is happening. The last twenty two issues have featured their cast effectively spinning their wheels in the mud and one would assume that’s to kill time, both to justify this book’s status as a weekly and to build up to a great planet shattering climax. As previously stated, the end of the world is shockingly dull.
Last week, Earth 2: World’s End did something unexpected, it improved. With the help of Cullen Bunn, issue #19 has some moments to shine with great characterization and heart-felt moments to wash out the terrible artwork and redundant Life Avatar battles. All of that goes right down the tubes as World’s End falls back into line with over-stretched plot lines, sloppy science fiction, and egregious artwork.