We all knew this day was coming. Geoff Johns can’t write Green Lantern forever, though he probably would if he could. One day Johns was going to move on to new things and leave Green Lantern to finally sink or swim without its long time master. He’s been writing about Hal Jordan and the intergalactic police department for nine years now and in that time so many new ideas have been introduced and old concepts have been revamped.
Johns introduced the emotional spectrum, the Black Lantern Corps, made the Guardians into villains, and unearthed secret after secret of hidden Green Lantern Corps past. We can only imagine at this point what is ahead for Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and maybe even Simon Baz. But what will happen to Johns’ many creations and even the characters he saved from oblivion? I imagine the characters in other Green Lantern titles will continue unscathed. Atrocitus will continue to appear in Red Lanterns, Saint Walker will play an important role in Green Lantern: New Guardians, Larfleeze will be hanging out in Threshold. These ideas have long since taken on a life of their own beyond their creator. Geoff Johns or not, these stories can only continue to go in new directions and even higher heights.
Green Lantern was a dead brand before Johns came along. Hal Jordan had long since gone crazy and destroy the Green Lantern Corps and now Kyle Rayner was all that was left. Rayner kept the light burning for years, both in story and property, but only Hal Jordan’s return could usher in the sweeping changes that needed to take place. It was not always the best writing, but it was exactly what the brand needed. Now the line is a juggernaut with infinite possibilities and we need to thank Geoff Johns for that.
People die. It happens. But why can legacies only be passed along after death? The old hero dies and a new one rises to take their place. It happens all the time, but what’s wrong with doing it a little differently? Why can’t the old hero just move on? Super-heroics is a dangerous business and people will ultimately die, but is it impossible to simply retire, to live? How does killing the hero do anything but hurt the franchise?
Barry Allen died so that Wally West could become the Flash, Ted Kord was murdered and Jaime Reyes replaced him as Blue Beetle, (almost) every single character ever named Manhunter was killed so that Kate Spencer could step up to be the brand new Manhunter. This goes beyond just legacy characters too. It seems that in order to introduce a new concept, you must first destroy an old one. Ed Brubaker brought Bucky back from the dead as the Winter Soldier, but in the process he kills off Jack Monroe, the hero known as Nomad. Obviously, not many people cared one way or the other about Nomad, but now that character is off the board forever (I highly doubt anyone will be attempting to resurrect him, ever). Whatever potential he may have had in the future is now gone. Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man was brought back to life during Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, but then his daughter, Stature, and Vision are killed in the same series. Creators often talk about world building, but too often the elimination of characters are used to launch that idea of world building at the reader. It seems that in order to build you must first destroy.
4 out of 5 stars DC Comics David S. Goyer/Geoff Johns – Writers Carlos Pacheco – Penciler Jesus Merino – Inker Guy Major – Colorist
Virtue and Vice is your elevator into the DC Universe, if that elevator suddenly went into a freefall and dropped you down into the sub-basement. It is a perfect sample of what the DCU can offer and is a great introduction into the Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America. There are no origin stories, no hard hitting narratives; instead, Goyer and Johns cut out a healthy slice of continuity and offer it up as an appetizer to impress you.
The heroes here are not iconic, but current (2002 current). Unless you’re a DC Universe continuity cop, you probably won’t be familiar with everything. Nothing is explained to the reader up front, but rather through the progression of the story answers can be found. It’s not outright confusing, but you just have to deal with the fact that Wally West is the Flash, Kyle Rayner is the one and only Green Lantern, JLA headquarters is on the moon and Lex Luthor is President (yes, that was a thing that happened). Several references are made to previous stories that took place in each teams’ ongoing series, JLA and JSA, but an unfamiliar reader can simply pass that off as ‘casual’ conversation.