Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time again: Green Lantern crossover event! I know, I know, it seems we’re lucky if we get a month or two between these, but this particular one has an added bonus: Jack Kirby’s New Gods! Why it took so long to bring these two cosmic epics together is beyond me.
We begin with the double-sized opening salvo of Godhead issue 1. All five Green Lantern book writers contributed to the story while six artists handled the pencils and inks. For so many cooks in the kitchen, it flows surprisingly well. The story starts by giving us a condensed and revised history of the New Gods, with some alterations that may or may not upset long-time fans. High Father in particular is presented much more malevolently than we are probably used to. We are treated to a wonderful quad-page spread here as he and Metron visit the Source Wall, hoping to find the key to the Life Equation and adequately prepare themselves for Darkseid’s eventual return to destroy New Genesis. They speak with the Relic, still stuck there since the events of Lights Out, who reveals that the combined power of the seven emotional spectrum shades of light hold the power to breaching the wall. High Father concocts the idea to steal one ring from each Corps, which he does so in an incredibly quick fashion. What follows is his attempt to wield the power, ultimately failing, and realizing that perhaps the answer lies in Kyle Rayner, the one and only white lantern. We’ve seen historically that the Black Lanterns represent death while the White is for life and is made up of the seven colors, so it seems like a logical next step in the plan.
We get a lot of cameos here. There’s some real heartbreaking moments. As the opening chapter, this book sets a decidedly dark tone for what’s to come. While I haven’t been crazy about every decision made in the GL mythos lately, they are at least exploring them to their fullest and standing by their choices. The pace moved a bit quicker than I’d have anticipated, and perhaps more than it should have. This is actually a massive story that deserves to take its time. This is like “Star Wars meets Star Trek” huge. Better to let it unfold at an appropriate tempo. I suppose the one complaint I have is the characterization of some of the New Gods. As I stated, High Father is quite a bastard here. I’m really not used to that and not sure if that feels appropriate, since he is supposed to be the antithesis to Darkseid. While certainly more merciful, making him a dictator who is willing to kill and pillage as he sees fit just makes me wonder who we’re supposed to root for here. And Orion isn’t much like we’ve seen him to be in the pages of Wonder Woman, putting that book even further into it’s own little pocket universe. Both of these books came out today, and compare and contrast how this one character feels between the two issues. Night and day. But that being said, it’s still a strong opener for what I hope is a satisfying event.
Moving on to chapter two of the story:
The team that’s been on the book since issue 21 still remain here, and open their issue with the remnants of Green Lantern Corps members floating pummeled and dismembered through space. Clearly something big went down. We flashback a bit to what got us to this point. Mogo is starting to fall apart, as it was his ring that the New Gods confiscated for their Life Equation stick-thing (I certainly would’ve preferred the Rubik’s cube like design on the cover of Godhead 1. Makes me think of the lament configuration from Hellraiser). Hal and the team are getting reports on their computer about a planet called Aydin, the most populated planet in the universe and the spot in which the New Gods decided to test out their new device with devastating consequences.
Saint Walker, as the last of the Blue Corps, also had his ring taken, and continues to sulk in his “all hope is gone” attitude, which has rubbed me the wrong way since it began. This is a character who has faced countless situations of hopelessness and always persevered. To see him in this state is depressing, as he’s a personal favorite character. The New Gods return to the Source Wall to figure out where they went wrong and begin to use Mogo’s ring to siphon information from the Green Lantern computer archives. As opposed to shutting them out, Hal decides to use this opportunity to their advantage in locating the offenders. That brings us back around to the beginning of the issue, with the GLC getting their asses handed to them. We end with a teaser and a note to read Green Lantern Corps issue 35 next week for chapter three of the story.
I guess some people haven’t been a fan of Billy Tan’s pencils, but I for one find his work more than adequate. Sure, he’s no Doug Mahnke, but he gets the job done, and appears to improve with each issue. Venditti’s writing still teeters for me. I’m not really sure if I’m sold on him yet, and this is his 15th issue (not to mention co-writing GLC for a bit, too). I certainly preferred Godhead to this issue. Scripting was handled on that by Jensen and Jordan of GL: New Guardians, so perhaps they just have a better handle on dialogue. But there’s nothing here turning me away from keeping up with the story, so I’ll be checking out the rest of the books this month to see how Act One plays out.
I give Godhead a solid Four globe rating, while GL 35 gets three, but since this is a double review, I’ll average them out and stick with a 4 out of 5.