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Subj: Reflecting on Green Lantern #172...
Posted: Fri Dec 30, 2016 at 02:46:06 am EST (Viewed 485 times)
Despite its timing and place in the early 1980s slow transformation of DC Comics and the acquirement of fresh new creative talent from Britain there is nothing in the slightest revolutionary or groundbreaking about the new direction for the series that arrives with Green Lantern #172.
Delivering scripts that offer the most simple and cliche of melodrama Len Wein's aims for the title are on the face of it nothing but giving more of the same from where Hal Jordan left the earth back in #151 for a forgettable and fairly disasterous tour of his sector of space. Hal loves Carol, Carol loves Hal, but woe duty always gets between them. Rinse and repeat. Yes it's all here, even the gold dressed villains and yellow painted dilemma's will be along in force come the next issue. And yet, thanks to the arrival of Dave Gibbons, it is a run on the title that actually works. Or at least is quite enjoyable if you approach it in the flavour of being a very traditional superhero comicbook.
Dave Gibbons' unique bright and clean layouts aren't quite as unmistakable here in issue #172 as they will be come the next two issues, but seeing the obvious caution he is feeling with this first issue on a major US title is fascinating in itself. Tight layouts and a hint of the Mike Grell approach to the title suggest an artist nervous about rocking the boat by delivering anything truly different for the books visual identity, but then in amidst the conformity we do see the occasional glimpse of what it is Gibbons is truly capable of as Wein requests Green Lantern to perform some feat of skill with his Power Ring. And that final page as Hal reunited with Carol Ferris after returning to earth from a long exile and his disorientation and detachment from normal everyday life leading to him misreading the situation when initially dropping by Ferris aircraft is surely as bold a statement on Gibbons' part as to where he intends to steer the visual style of the book going forward.
Reading Green Lantern #172 today one cannot deny that in its own retroactive way here is a slice of Green Lantern that might well be an issue written tomorrow. With Hal Jordan returning from deepest space after a long long exile and the strangeness of that return to normality. And the considerable bewilderment that such an adjustment triggers.
And So, a tale made in another era, yet when set against the background of today's adventures of Hal Jordan it all feels rather like a story that we might just see done tomorrow. Perhaps the reality is that Green Lantern as a title changes a good deal less than we might have assumed...
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