I’m not exactly a blogger, but I thought I’d share my opinion on a rather big topic regarding Green Lantern. That topic is none other than Venditti’s writing on Green Lantern. Before I talk about this, I just want to tell my short history with Green Lantern. I started reading comics only about two and a half years ago when the New 52 happened. I did not read the main Green Lantern title, though. In an attempt to be a hipster, I read New Guardians instead (good book btw). Twelve issues in, I jumped into the main Green Lantern title. I have yet to read all of the first twelve issues of the New 52 Green Lantern (I’m searching for them) but I have read issues 0 and 13-27.
About a year ago I decided to start reading John’s run from the beginning, starting with Rebirth. I don’t exactly have all the money or time in the world so I’m not done with his run yet (don’t spoil anything!). I am currently a little more than halfway done with The Sinestro Corp War (epic stuff). That being said, I get the gist of John’s run and I think I have a good understanding of what he has done, but of course I am not familiar with all of it yet.
So after ten years of writing Green Lantern, Geoff Johns retired from the book and Robert Venditti took the mantle. Needless to say, people were mad. From my perspective, this divided Green Lantern readers into one of three crowds. First is the crowd that didn’t care; this group is the 1% and very few people were indifferent about the change. Second, was the crowd that knew Venditti from his superb work on X-O Manowar (go read it) and thought he was the perfect choice. And lastly was the crowd that left Green Lantern just because Johns wasn’t writing it. To be fair some of the last crowd did give Venditti a chance, but left because they weren’t used to a different style. Personally, I am a part of the second crowd, and am a fan of Venditti’s work. However, people from all these groups have shown some discontent with Venditti’s work now that it’s here.
So what is the difference between Venditti and Johns that made so many people angry? The difference is very apparent actually. Johns reinvented Green Lantern, which is why he is considered the god of that domain. He turned a character and series that people didn’t care much about and made it a total epic. I think his work is phenomenal, but that shouldn’t discredit Venditti. Venditti takes a very different approach. As we have seen with the events of Lights Out, he has begun his run by informing readers that the emotional spectrum is actually a finite, rather than infinite as most readers assumed. I call this Venditti’s thesis. I think this will dictate his run long term. Johns’ thesis was that there are more corps than the green lanterns. Johns’ entire run was basically exploring all the different corps, but it took him several issues to state that thesis. Venditti’s is much different, but I think it is just as smart and innovative as Johns’.
People ask why Venditti didn’t just stick to what was already there and keep going with it. Well, I actually attended the Green Lantern Lights Out panel at NYCC this year and he said that he did not want to fill Johns’ shoes. He didn’t want to use those shoes and instead decided to use a different pair and run with those instead. In other words, Venditti respects Johns and his work. Why mess up a masterpiece? Instead he is taking a leap of faith and trying to establish a new era for Green Lantern in a different way, but in the best, most interesting way he can.
This finite energy is an intriguing idea, and based on the events of Green Lantern #27 readers know that things are going to get messy, in a good way of course! But Venditti has done more than just say that the emotional spectrum’s energy is finite. He made Hal the leader of the corp (for now), blew up Oa and made Mogo the new mobile headquarters for the green lanterns, caused controversy on the use of the rings amongst the lanterns, and even shook up some love interests. Of course, people got angry about this too. OH NO, IT’S CHANGE. I don’t get what the big deal is. Venditti shaking things up is a positive in my book; otherwise things become static and tiresome. He is keeping things fresh and interesting, which is a GOOD thing.
As much as I love what Venditti is doing though, I have a problem with two things: Hal’s characterization and notorious plot holes. Staring with Hal, Venditti definitely knows what Hal is about and understands him, but he makes him more idiotic than he should be. Several times we have seen Hal rush into things mindlessly, declare a stupid law regarding the rings, etc. It’s not hard to see that Hal has a brutish nature at times. I have no problems with Hal making his bad decisions, but it happens more often than it should. Venditti needs to show us that Hal is indeed a hothead, but can be smart when he needs to be. I am aware that he likes to make heroes both good and somewhat evil (X-O Manowar readers know what I’m talking about), but making Hal dumb won’t accomplish that.
Now I will move on to the plot holes. There will be some spoilers of the last few issues. The plot holes became apparent in issue #27. First was when the tribesmen attacked Hal from behind and knocked him out in about two melee attacks if memory serves me right. This makes little sense. Hal’s ring could have easily detected a threat, and should have automatically created a force field. Venditti could have cleaned this up rather easily too. He could have had the transforming enemy disguise himself as a lantern or friendly, so the ring could detect a threat but Hal would have been confused anyways. The tribesman could have then come up and shot through Hal’s automatic shields because they were using weapons that go through constructs. One or two nice shots to the body or head would have knocked him out the same way and then the scene would have made sense.
Then we have the biggest plot hole that someone brought up in a review. I will have to go back several issues to explain this. So first Nol-Anj gets her ring because she loves her tribe and then she escapes to her people. After Lights Out, Hal declares that illegal use of the emotional spectrum is a crime. Hal goes and fights Nol-Anj, declaring loudly that illegal use of the emotional spectrum is a crime, but they come to an agreement. Instead of Nol-Anj going to jail, her tribe would go for her instead. The tribe then arrives on Mogo, fights the lanterns and work their way to some wilderness and safety. Here they meet a partner from their planet, one of those aliens that can transform (I can’t recall the name). Together they get to the control center, knock out Hal, and make the green lanterns look evil to the rest of the universe by rewording and exploiting their plans.
Alright, now that this series of events has been reviewed, I have questions. How did the tribesman plan all this out? How did they know one of their transforming associates would be there? They didn’t know about any of this until Hal announced it. They were arrested shortly afterwards, so how did they plan this out? If someone knows the answer to this, feel free to tell me. Venditti hopefully will explain this in the next issue though.
So I’ve said all I have to say, the good and the bad. I conclude that I really like Venditti, and I don’t understand the hostility toward him. What he needs to do is sharpen his writing so Hal doesn’t come across as being stupid and these plot holes can be avoided. Otherwise, Venditti is doing great. By introducing new ideas, characters, status queues, etc. he is keeping things fresh and original. People just need to embrace change. I have high hopes for Venditti and I think he will have a long, fruitful run.