Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Mosaic Part 3

gl mosaic

Green Lantern: Mosaic Part 3
Green Lantern: Mosaic #10-18

gl mosaic hal jordan

It is not an understatement to say that Mosaic stood out a series unlike much else DC Comics was publishing in 1992. If we do a quick survey of the company at the time, we see this was the start of a significant shift in the type of storytelling DC was doing. In the wake of 1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths the major characters were given fresh reboots and, while there would occasionally be crossover events, most large-scale events felt reasonably contained. 1987’s Legends was more an event based around themes rather than plot. Millenium and Invasion were kept relatively small and with little to no effect on the broader scale of titles. This allowed a bit more creator freedom which we can see in Gerard Jones’ work with the Green Lantern franchise.

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Mosaic Part 2

gl mosaic

Green Lantern: Mosaic Part 2
Green Lantern: Mosaic #1-9 (1992-1993)

mosaic issue one

If you thought the four-part prelude would prepare you for what Gerard Jones had planned for the Mosaic ongoing series, you would be incredibly surprised. From the first issue, Jones is making a bold statement about what direction he is going, and it ended up being unlike anything DC Comics was publishing at the time. In fact, Mosaic often feels like a series that should be coming out under the Vertigo banner, DC’s imprint for mature reader comics. Mosaic deals with issues of racism and mental illness, but also delves into surreal and metaphysical places. Let’s just take a look at issue one for an example of how strange things were going to get.

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Comic Book Review – Green Lantern: Mosaic Part 1

gl mosaic

Green Lantern: Mosaic – Part 1
Green Lantern Volume 3 #14 – 17

Green_Lantern_Vol_3_14

In the late 1980s, Green Lantern was the next property on DC Comics’ list to retool. The character, as a concept, has existed since the 1940s, but the incarnation at the time was quite different from its the masked crimefighter roots. Since the 1960s, the character had been reframed as a member of an intergalactic space corps using rings powered by will to create constructs. Over the course of twenty years, the title’s lead had been changed from time to time. It’s quite different from most other DC titles, you wouldn’t expect to see other characters taking over the mantle of Superman or Batman (at least not at the time). Hal Jordan was the chief GL, with school gym teacher Guy Gardner popping up for a short run, and then John Stewart, an African-American architect. Stewart is the focus of the Mosaic arc and spin-off series.

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Comics 101: Green Lantern Part 2

Hal Jordan was now the Green Lantern of Earth again. Kyle Rayner was still Ion, containing the power of the Green Lanterns without needing a ring to wield it. Guy Gardner and John Stewart were both Lanterns again and lived on Oa, the homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps training new recruits. Things were good. What they didn’t know is that Sinestro was busy in the Anti-Matter Universe, forcing the Weaponeers to construct a massive Yellow Lantern, which mimics the Central Battery on Oa, where the green power came from. With his own yellow battery, Sinestro created multiple rings sending them out to those beings in the universe that inspired great fear. Once his Sinestro Corps was assembled, they led a brutal assault on Oa, killing many Green Lanterns in the process. The battle was unlike anything the universe has ever seen and raged on to eventually come to Earth. Kyle Rayner was stripped of his Ion powers, but managed to get a ring in time to join the Corps. Sinestro was captured, but not before the Guardians allowed the Lanterns to compromise their values and use their rings to kill.

Sinestro was locked up in Sciencell on Oa but told Jordan that the “Blackest Night” was coming, and in this time of darkness Jordan would be compromised. Jordan was shaken up but worked to distract himself. The Guardians adapted to the new threat of the yellow rings of fear but establishing the Alpha Lanterns, regular Corpsmen transformed into emotionless judges, meant to keep the Corps in check. Meanwhile, other rings created from different aspects of emotion were manifesting in the universe. In Sector 666, the demonic Atrocitus vomited up a bloody red ring of rage. On a distant serene planet, two rebel Guardians made blue rings of hope. On the all-female world of Zamaron, its inhabitants made violet rings of love. And deep in a cavern on Okaara, one lone figure clutched an orange ring of greed. All of these various Corps began to get into conflicts and change the dynamics of the universe. In the Anti-Matter Universe, a jet black lantern manifest black rings of death, and these would change everything.

While the Corps worked to hunt down Sinestro’s soldiers still out there, using their rings to torture innocent beings, Hal Jordan encountered the Blue Lanterns and found his could use his green ring in conjunction with a blue one. He also ended up in Sector 666, where a red ring of rage overtook him for a little while. Sinestro was being transferred when his Corps arrived to liberate him and all hell broke loose. The War of Light began, all the various colors battling each other. As they were distracted, an old villain named Black Hand brought the scourge of the Black Rings to Earth. These rings were keyed only to the dead, and allowed hordes of dead heroes and villains to be resurrected as dark versions of themselves. At the time characters like Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkman were all dead and came back as monstrous Black Lanterns.

After a few days of fruitless battle, the Black Lanterns merely reconstructing themselves, its discovered that if two Lanterns of different colors use their powers together they can destroy a Black Lantern. Across the globe the battle rages and its revealed that Nekron, a being who controls death has been making the rings. It’s also discovered that an entity lives in the Earth who generates a White energy that creates a single ring and single Lantern. Sinestro gets ahold of it and fails, with Hal using its power to drive Nekron and the Black Lanterns away. Before the White Lantern vanishes, it resurrects a handful of heroes and villains. Through battle, Hal and Sinestro have reached a tentative alliance. Currently, Hal and girlfriend Carol (now wielding a Violet ring) have discovered that the Red Lantern, Atrocitus is on Earth looking for the source of his rage power. The White Lantern has also reappeared in New Mexico, forming a crater where it landed, and much like the sword in the stone is immovable.

Comics 101: Green Lantern Part 1

In Comics 101 I breakdown a comic character’s back history in an easy to understand way for newbies.

The story of Green Lantern began in 1940 with Alan Scott. Unlike the latter and more long running Green Lantern, Scott was based in mysticism and magic. He is a railroad engineer at the time and discovers a mysterious green lantern that imbues him with a magic ring. The ring gives him the power to fly as well as manifest constructs from it. Scott ended up being a founding member of the Justice Society of America, a World War II era precursor to the Justice League. He also had two children out of wedlock, Todd and Jennie who would grow up to be the super heroes Obsidian and Jade, respectively. Scott is still around, as a member of the JSA, and partnered with his old pals plus some new blood. But the core of the Green Lantern story really began in 1959.

In the late 1950s, the Silver Age of Comic Books began. DC has sort of pulled back its superhero publishing, with Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman being about the only remainders. Julius Schwartz, the editor in chief at the time was wanting to take names used by heroes back in the 1930s and 40s and create all-new characters around them. This time around, Green Lantern was to be ace pilot Hal Jordan. While testing an experimental craft for his employer Ferris Air, Hal was pulled by a mysterious force to a crash site in the middle of the desert. There lay a dying alien wearing a strange green and black uniform. His name was Abin Sur and he told Hal he was part of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic police force. Sur was dying as a result of the crash and Hal was deemed the only one on Earth worthy to wield the ring. Hal accepted and became Earth’s Green Lantern. The ring held 24 hours worth of energy and would have to be recharged in an accompanying lantern. The only catch in its seemingly invulnerable power was an impurity that made it vulnerable to the color yellow in spectrum. Hal would go on to battle a cavalcade of odd 60s appropriate villains, but his arch-nemesis would always be Sinestro.

Sinestro was also a Green Lantern, but unlike Hal, he saw his place as using the ring to control the population of his home planet Krougar. The masters of the Green Lantern Corps were known as the Guardians of the Universe, small blue skinned men whom demanded total submission from all the Corpsmen. Sinestro and the Guardians clashed and as a result he was stripped of his ring. Enraged that this power would be taken from him, Sinestro sought out other sources. He found a way into the Anti-Matter Universe, a sort of reality underneath our own and home to the Weaponeers. The Weaponeers constructed a new ring for Sinestro, a yellow ring that specifically affected the power of the Green Lanterns. While the green ring used the aspect of Will, the yellow ring tapped into Fear to feed itself. For years, Sinestro plagued Hal Jordan and was eventually killed.

Along the way, other Earthmen took up the ring. Hal would become increasingly annoyed with the Guardians dictates and leave the Corps. In time social worker Guy Gardner became a Green Lantern, as well as architect John Stewart. Hal also befriended many of the alien Corpsmen: Kilowog, a lumbering brute, Tomar-Re, one of the most noble of the Lanterns, Salaak, a typically annoyed and distant being, and Arisia, a young girl whose family were a long line of Lanterns. Things went dark when Hal’s home town of Coast City was attacked by Mongul, an alien warlord. Mongul’s massive engine city/ship destroyed the city and killed everyone there. Hal became obsessed with using his power to fix things, rebuild Coast City. This obsession led him into madness and he began to kill other Green Lanterns to amass a large collection of rings. The Guardians were desperate to stop him and resurrected Sinestro. The two old enemies clashed and in the end the Guardians, the GL Corps, Hal, and Sinestro were obliterated. Except for one solitary ring.

This ring found its way to Earth and into the hands of young artist Kyle Rayner. Unlike Hal, Rayner had no one to teach him how to use the ring so he underwent a lot of trial and error. In time, he joined the Justice League and established himself as the one true Lantern. Hal returned as a villain, Parallax, infused with an almost infinite power. Parallax attempted to destroy reality and recreate it in his own image but the heroes of the DC Universe stopped him. He returned once more when Earth’s sun was being devoured by an alien Suneater. Making the ultimate sacrifice and redeeming himself, Parallax flew into the sun, reigniting it. He was rewarded for this act of bravery and made The Spectre, the manifestation of God’s wrath. Kyle Rayner continued on as the Green Lantern and eventually unlocked a power in his ring that turned him into a being called Ion, a sort of pure manifestation of the Green power.

Things changed suddenly when Kyle crashed to earth, after having been missing in space for a few months. Along with this, Coast City suddenly appeared rebuilt. All of Earth’s former Lanterns (Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and even Alan Scott) became involved as Hal Jordan was reborn, as well as The Guardians of the Universe and all of the dead Corpsmen. It turns out that the source of the rings’ power was a cosmic entity known as Ion, while Sinestro’s ring was powered by Parallax. The Lanterns battle the now unleashed Parallax entity while Sinestro returns from the dead. In the end the Corps is restored, but Sinestro returns to the Anti-Matter Universe with some big bad plans for the Green Lanterns….

Continued