Tuesday, August 16

Green Lantern #67 (Aug 2011), Flashpoint #3 (of 5) and Batman and Robin #25 (Sep 2011)

“War of the Green Lanterns, Conclusion”

This is it – the conclusion of the “War of the Green Lanterns” which has been going on for several months across all of the GL titles … delayed from when it should have come out the month before until last month, so it's been a while since I read the penultimate chapter. Luckily this last part is pretty straightforward.

The climax of the story focusses on Hal Jordan convincing Kyle Rayner, the artist, that the key to defeating Krona, who has empowered the Guardians with the emotional entities of the color corps is to literally draw the representatives of the other color corps out of the Book of the Black where they've been imprisoned for several chapters in this saga. What a wonderful and uniquely comic-booky plan! No, I'm serious. But instead of returning to their owners, the various power rings flock to Krona himself! Oops! Little Blue Guy (did we ever get an explanation for why he shrunk?) attacks and starts torturing Hal, as the newly freed Sinestro looks on. Then Sinstro comes to the aid of his enemy – and a green power ring chooses him! Together, Hal and Sinestro overwhelm Krona, putting the lie to his last words: “I am all-powerful! I am a Guardian! I am immortal!” “No,” Hal retorts. “You're just old.” Technically, it appears that Krona's last word is, “AAIIEEE!!!” The emotional entities are freed. And what is Hal's reward for saving the universe yet again? To be stripped of his own ring and booted out of the Corps. It seems that the Guardians haven't learned a damn thing. “This isn't how it's supposed to end,” mutters Hal as he appears somewhere on Earth. “Coming in September: Green Lantern #1 Starring Sinestro?!”

But I won't be there. I've decided I'm a bit burned out on Green Lantern for now. In order to keep my number of titles down to a reasonable number (somewhere around 20-25), I've decided that with the DC relaunch I'm leaving off GL as a monthly at least for the time being. Another reason is the end of Emerald Warriors and its replacement with The New Guardians starring Kyle Rayner (whom I've always been rather indifferent to) and the addition of Red Lantern Corps (which I have aggressively no interest in). If you haven't picked up on it already, I tend to be a bit obsessive-compulsive. One way that manifests is, when I get one title in a group, I've gotta get them all – all the Batman Gotham City titles, all the Superman titles, etc. Since I don't want two of the Lantern group titles, I'm dropping them all. I'll go back to getting individual collections as they come out, as I was doing up until the beginning of Blackest Night a couple years ago.

“Flashpoint, Chapter Three of Five”

Cyborg has to take a bit of a dressing down from the US President (who looks a bit like Barack Obama – man the Flashpoint world does suck, doesn't it?) on the first page for not being able to rally the super-humans and for having someone on the inside working against him (I doubt it's the girl eavesdropping since it looks like she'll be a Flashpoint character carried over into Justice League), then we see the aftermath of Barry Allen's encounter with a lightning bolt atop Wayne Manor – he has “third degree burns over seventy-five percent of [his] body.” But he's determined to try again – he feels his memories reorienting themselves from his native universe to the new Flashpoint universe. “If we don't fix this soon =KKKFF= I won't even realize it's wrong. … I won't remember my wife … or your son.” The blast of the second bolt of lightning – KRA-KKOOOMM – blasts Thomas Wayne completely off the roof, but before he breaks his neck (or maybe is impaled on a wrought-iron fence) Barry zooms down the side of the manor and grabs him. He has access to the Speed Force once again.

Meanwhile, in New Themyscira (“formerly known as the United Kingdom”), Lois Lane encounters The Resistance, which includes among others the Canterbury Cricket (that's just so bizarre I was tempted to pick that special up, but I resisted). With his speed restored, Barry's body heals itself and he reconstructs a Flash constume. He and Thomas work to make contact with other members of the Justice League (except there's no such thing in this world). Barry learns of the disastrous arrival of Kal-El's spaceship – right in the middle of Metropolis rather than in the fields outside Smallville, to the tune of 35,000 dead – but no one knows what became of the ship or its occupant. Thomas knows who can find out, though – Cyborg. Victor Stone doesn't recognize Barry either, of course, but in return for Thomas joining his cause, Cyborg hacks into government files and learns of Project: Superman as well as two subsequent rockets that landed on Earth.

Vic, Thomas, and Barry break into Project: Superman – and pass the remains of “Subject 2” – “It looks like a canine skeleton.” Then they find Subject 1, Kal-El himself, a pale, emaciated shadow of what we're familiar with. “This is the most powerful being on the planet?” Thomas growls. “His skin … it's so pale,” Barry observes. “I don't think he's ever seen the sun.” And we know what that means, right? Anyway, they break him out even as the guards respond to an alarm. They make it to the surface, where Subject 1 sees the sun for the first time in his life – and launches into the air. His heat vision kicks in just about as quickly, but he seems horrified at the result, and zooms away. Facing a squad of a dozen guards, armed for bear, Thomas observes: “There goes your big savior. So what NOW?

Okay, Reverse-Flash seems able to change history in some interesting ways. I'm not reading most of the Flashpoint titles, but I've wondered how far his reach extended. For instance, apparently he kept Abin Sur from encountering whatever extraterrestrial menace that mortally wounded him before he crashlanded on Earth and bequeathed his ring to Hal Jordan. Somewhat similarly, Reverse-Flash managed to change where Kal-El's rocket landed on Earth. How exactly does that work? That's not something that seems like it would have been consequent to some event in the Earth's past that he could have changed. Was he able to travel into space and divert its trajectory? Or change the speed of the Earth's rotation so that its “target” had moved? It seems to me that simply changing events in Earth's history would not change events elsewhere, or the trajectory of an interstellar ship. It's similar to what I thought about after seeing the “rebooted” Star Trek movie a couple years ago, which began with a changed event about 25 years before the Enterprise's first mission. Based on that one change, what events from the series could we expect to still play out in the revised future – or at least begin as they did “originally”? For instance, the S.S. Botany Bay should still be out there at that point. The same for the Yonada from “For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky.” And the Jack the Ripper entity is still out there. And that's just three things that come to mind first – there are many more examples I'm sure. Those events are remote enough either in time before the branching point or in space not to be affected by the premature death of Kirk's father. Of course, from that point there should also be an ever-widening divergence and not only in areas that you might think about at first. (Thomas and Barry briefly discuss “the butterfly effect.”) For instance, who knows what kind of little, subtle events differed in the new time-line that resulted in Spock and Uhura apparently being lovers (something I don't think there was much hint of in the original series). What I'm saying, however, is that there should be some logic to what changes and what does not. And maybe there is and I just don't see it. Anyway, just thought I'd comment on it.

We've seen what happened to the occupant of the second Kryptonian space craft to land on earth. Poor Krypto. What about the third? I wonder if we'll find out what happened to Kara?

“The Streets Run Red, Part 3 of 3: Boys' Night Out”

I haven't really cared for this story arc so I'm not going to give it much treatment here. We mainly get to see Jason Todd working with and doing his best to piss off Dick and Damian – and succeeding. It looks like he bails on them at one point to meet up with the villains on his own, but it's all part of a plan. We get to see more commentary by Jason on Dick as Batman. Jason manages to rescue his “sidekick” Sasha and get away by activating some bombs he hid away months ago – “Y'never know when you're going to need to buy some time!” – and gives “Batman” (his skepticism) a choice – “Me or the deaths of a few hundred people?” “This sucks!” rages Damian. “No one knows it more than me,” responds Dick – which is pretty much where the previous issue ended as well.   Just one more issue to go ....

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