Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns & Agent Orange

Green Lantern: Rage of the Red Lanterns (2009)
Reprints Green Lantern #26-28, 36-38 & Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns #1
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Mike McKone, Shane Davis, and Ivan Reis

Green Lantern: Agent Orange (2009)
Reprints Green Lantern #39-42 & Blackest Night #0
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Phillip Tan, Eddy Barrows, Ivan Reis, Rafael Albuquerque, and Doug Mahnke

In the wake of The Sinestro Corps War, Geoff Johns was fleshing out the rest of the color spectrum in a build-up to the even more significant Blackest Night event. If you notice the gap in the issues Rage of the Red Lanterns covers, it’s because those issues appeared in Green Lantern: Secret Origin. Going back to that story, you see the importance of Atrocitus and the seeds being planted for Blackest Night. Secret Origin has also done a great job establishing the more complex relationship between Hal Jordan and Sinestro. We get a great scene in Rage, where Hal talks with Sinestro. The villain was captured at the end of The Sinestro Corps War but seems completely confident he’s in no harm. It’s an ideological war between these two, with Sinestro holding a far more complex and nuanced view of the universe and justice than the rather blunt Jordan.

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Wanted-Hal Jordan and The Sinestro Corps War

Green Lantern: Wanted – Hal Jordan (2007)
Reprints Green Lantern #14-20
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert, and Daniel Acuna

The Sinestro Corps War (2007)
Reprints Green Lantern #21-25, Green Lantern Corps #14-19, Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps Special
Written by Geoff Johns, Dave Gibbons, and Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Ethan van Sciver, Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, Angel Unzueta, Pascal Alixe, Dustin Nguyen, and Jamal Igle

In the wake of Infinite Crisis, all DC mainline titles leaped forward by one year. That gap year was covered in the year-long weekly series 52, which you can read my reviews for. While Johns was one of the chief architects of the whole affair, it’s clear from reading Wanted – Hal Jordan he didn’t necessarily want this for the Green Lantern. In some ways (the Sinestro Corps), it gave time for threats to reasonably build in intensity, but Johns also tells a similar story to Revenge of the Green Lanterns. While that story was about Jordan dealing with the fallout from his actions as Parallax on the Corps, Wanted keeps him on Earth against the Global Guardians and Rocket Red Brigade as he deals with the consequences of violating foreign airspace. 

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Recharge & Revenge of the Green Lanterns

Green Lantern Corps: Recharge (2006)
Reprints Green Lantern Corps: Recharge #1-5
Written by Geoff Johns & Dave Gibbons
Art by Patrick Gleason, Prentis Rollins, and Christian Alamy

Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns (2006)
Reprints Green Lantern #7-13
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino, Ethan van Sciver, Prentis Rollins, Ivan Reis, Mark Campos, Oclair Albert

The Green Lantern revival led by Geoff Johns was a smashing success. Interest in the character was at an all-time high, so all the elements before the mid-1990s were brought back. One of those was the Green Lantern Corps. They’d existed since the first appearance of Hal Jordan, but over the decades, their ranks had been built out tremendously. In the wake of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Green Lantern title even added Corps to its name and became an ensemble book rather than just focusing on Jordan. It was a no-brainer that the Corps had to return, so it was given its own sister mini-series to Rebirth with the similar title Recharge, a reference to the power rings needing to be charged every 24 hours. 

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Rebirth/Secret Origin/No Fear

Green Lantern: Rebirth (2010)
Reprints Green Lantern: Rebirth #1-6
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ethan van Sciver

Green Lantern: Secret Origin (2010)
Reprints Green Lantern #29-35
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis

Green Lantern: No Fear (2006)
Reprints Green Lantern #1-6 & Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins 2005
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Darwyn Cooke, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan van Sciver, Simone Bianchi, Jesus Moreno, and Prentis Rollins

Green Lantern was created by Martin Nodell in 1940, debuting in the pages of All-American Comics #16. But that is not who this review will be talking about. That’s because Green Lantern also debuted in the pages of Showcase #22, published in 1959, where he was written by Julius Schwartz. How is that possible, you ask? That’s because of the concept of Legacy, something that is paramount to how DC Comics has differentiated itself from its marvelous competition. That first Green Lantern was a radio announcer named Alan Scott, who wore a red shirt and a green cape, and whose ring had a weakness to any object made of wood. The ring was implied to have mystical origins. In 1959, readers were introduced to Hal Jordan, a hot shot test pilot who finds a dying alien that bequeaths his power ring to the man. Hal learns this alien was a part of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force that wields rings that focus their will. The rings can manifest what is in the bearer’s mind until they break concentration. 

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Comic Book Review – Justice League: The Darkseid War

Justice League: The Darkseid War Essential Edition (2018)
Reprints Justice League #40-50, Justice League: The Darkseid War Special, and DC Sneak Peek: Justice League
Written by Geoff Johns
Directed by Jason Fabok and Francis Manapul

The New 52 came in with the Justice League and ended with it too. After fifty issues, Geoff Johns capped off his run as Rebirth became the banner on every comic. With this final arc, Johns could wrap up most of the threads laid out over the last four years, more or less. The Darkseid War brought back the titular menace from the first arc and expanded on DC lore. Now it did so in some highly confusing ways and clashed with other points, but this is sort of a thing for DC Comics ever since Crisis. The continuity just doesn’t quite fit. But you just get used to it and move on, I suppose.

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Comic Book Review – Justice League: Forever Heroes & Injustice League

Justice League: Forever Heroes (2014)
Reprints Justice League #24-29
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke

Justice League: Injustice League (2015)
Reprints Justice League #30-39
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke and Jason Fabok

Last week, I shared the big Justice League event of the time, Forever Evil. While that event was happening in its mini-series, the main Justice League book changed a bit. The heroes readers were familiar with were caught in a pocket dimension prison, so the Justice League comic devoted its pages to telling the origins of the villainous Crime Syndicate. For the unfamiliar, the Crime Syndicate are villainous versions of classic DC Heroes. They are:

Ultraman (Superman)
Owlman (Batman)
Superwoman (Wonder Woman)
Johnny Quick (The Flash)
Power Ring (Green Lantern)

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Comic Book Review – Geiger Volume One

Geiger Volume One (2021)
Reprints Geiger #1-6
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Gary Frank and Brad Anderson

In the Marvel/DC-dominated superhero space, it can be a bit daunting for someone to do capes & tights seriously outside of that duopoly. Most of the time, these end up being more like Black Hammer, a critique or commentary on superhero comics seen through a contemporary lens. Geoff Johns is a comics creator who has undoubtedly seen better days. His peak was in the early to mid-2000s working for DC, where he managed to revitalize the Justice Society and did some absolutely legendary work on The Flash and Green Lantern. His role at DC grew, which led to a leadership role in their film & television development. Johns would help co-write the screenplays for Wonder Woman and Aquaman and serve as a producer on almost every single DC film. 

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Comic Book Review – The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Volume 3

The Flash by Geoff Johns Omnibus Volume 3 (2022)
Reprints Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge #1-3, Blackest Night: The Flash #1-3, Blackest Night: Black Lantern Corps #1, The Flash: Rebirth #1-6, The Flash Secret Files and Origins 2010, The Flash v3 #1-12, Flashpoint #1-5
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Scott Kolins, Ethan Van Sciver, Francis Manapul, Andy Kubert

I’m not sure what has happened to Geoff Johns in the last few years. It’s been a disheartening turn of events between some weighty accusations lobbed at him by Justice League star Ray Fisher and some egregious delays on books like Shazam. Recently, artist Bryan Hitch shared that plans for a Justice Society revival book with Johns had been scrapped even after promotional art was shown off in 2021. Johns has become a writer whose work I prefer to wait to be collected than deal with the chronic delays. This definitive collection of his Flash work marks the point where things really went off the rails for the writer and DC Comics for about a decade. Looking at these stories, we can see how the previous consistently high-quality stories being told by Johns about the Flash lost some luster.

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Comic Book Review – Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 4 (of 4)

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 4 (of 4)
Reviewing stories found in Teen Titans v3 #32-46
Written by Geoff Johns and Adam Beechen
Art by Todd Nauck, Tony S. Daniel, Carlos Ferreira, Peter Snejbjerg, Al Barrionuevo

This is around the point that Johns was spread pretty thin at DC. He wrote The Flash, JSA, Hawkman, Action Comics, Infinite Crisis, and was part of the collective that penned the weekly series 52. Even though he’s one of my favorite writers of the pre-New 52 era, I have to admit this Titans work feels very rushed. I get the sense he had some big stories he wanted to tell and was trying to get them all out but possibly got burnt out on the book. Significant changes were happening with DC on the multimedia front, so I think his attention was shifting to other things.

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Comic Book Review – Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 3 (of 4)

Teen Titans by Geoff Johns Part 3
Reviewing stories found in Teen Titans v3 #20-26, 29-31 & Outsiders #24-25
Written by Geoff Johns (with Judd Winick)
Art by Mike McKone, Marlo Alquiza, Tom Grummett, Matthew Clark, Art Thibert, Tony S. Daniel, Carlos D’Anda, Scott Shaw, Scott Roberts, Nelson, Richard Bonk, and Todd Nauck

Johns jumps into these issues, which serve as the bridge between the Identity Crisis & Infinite Crisis periods in the DC Universe. The company had gone all-in on centering its shared universe around the fallout of the former and the lead-in to the latter in a way that didn’t always flow. Johns was the chief architect of the whole thing, and I’ve always found it interesting how his writing during this time can feel very in sync with the larger picture but then have moments where he appears to be overwhelmed with how many plates to keep spinning. The opening issue here is a direct tie-in to the events of Identity Crisis and is one of the few epilogues to that event that seamlessly transitions into new stories.

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