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Green Lanterns 19 is Polarizing

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Event comics. Love them or hate them, if you are a reader of the “big two” (Marvel and DC) you are going to have to occasionally deal with event comics. They are not universally bad, but most times the way they interrupt other series with tie-ins and the effect they have on the comics universe outweigh any enjoyment there is to be had from the story itself. Most of Marvel’s recent event books haven’t even been that great of stories by themselves, even without mentioning the shambles in which they left the Marvel universe when they ended. Don’t get us started on Civil War II, for real.

Good guys vs bad guys vs even badder guys.

Too many times, these huge event books are just excuses for heroes fighting other heroes because of reasons. Those reasons vary in how interesting or innovative they are, but heroes fighting heroes is becoming a very stale premise. At least DC’s latest event, Justice League vs Suicide Squad had heroes teaming up with villains to fight other even worse villains.

DC seems to have learned a lesson when it comes to event books. The most recent event books at DC have only tied in to one or two other titles, and the effect they have had on the universe weren’t catastrophic. Take Justice League vs Suicide Squad as an example. Whether you enjoyed the event book or not, it didn’t interrupt every other ongoing title in the DC universe. It only even really mattered to two other series, Justice League and Suicide Squad. As far as the effect on the DC universe, the only lasting effect is that a group of supervillains who were the original Suicide Squad are now on the loose.

Calm down, pal.

Doctor Polaris

One of these is Doctor Polaris. He is a supervillain who has powers of magnetism. Think of Marvel’s Magneto except with dissociative identity disorder and a dash of megalomania. Doctor Polaris, who was previously thought to be deceased, has been released into the world by Maxwell Lord during the JL vs SS event. His “good” personality, Neal Emerson, is convinced he can use magnetism to eradicate illness. His main obsession is curing his brother’s inoperable brain cancer.

Despite his noble goals, Emerson’s work has consumed his life, and his alternate personality, Dr. Polaris, takes over, driving him towards evil acts to further his research. Our Green Lanterns story opens on Neal Emerson giving a “Lex Talk” about all the good his magnetic research can bring to the world. His audience, however is only one person; Doctor Polaris.

Emerson wakes up from his dream in a bunker of some kind surrounded by his equipment, and his Doctor Polaris outfit. He knows that he’s going to have another “Episode” soon, but he’s out of the medicine that keeps Polaris at bay. He has to concentrate on his work to save his brother Seth.

Family Matters

Back in Detroit, the Green Lanterns are about to go out on Justice League business. Simon’s brother-in-law Nazir is not happy about it. He feels like Simon has abandoned his familial responsibilities in order to go out and play hero. They argue. Jess is awkward. They leave. On the way, Jess tries to share some of her personal experience with family disagreements. Simon thought that having the ring would only bring good things. Now it’s pushing him away from his best friend.

Nope.

Meanwhile, Neal Emerson is making a shady deal to get some more medication. It turns out the nefarious character he is meeting with happens to be in the employ of Director Harcourt, who has taken over management of Task Force X in Amanda Waller’s absence. It is a ruse to capture the Doctor. Even though his assailants all have non-metal armor and weapons, it doesn’t take Polaris long to escape his captors.

Director Scowly McFrownypants

Director Harcourt brings Simon and Jessica in to help in the operation. She urges them to use lethal methods if necessary, because that’s how Task Force X rolls. The GL’s are pretty sure they can handle it. A short flight to Gateway City brings them to the hospital where Neal Emerson’s brother lies in a coma. Fortunately (or unfortunately) Neal is there. He’s dealt with Hal Jordan before, and before Simon and Jess can do anything about it, he gets the upper hand. In two weeks we’ll see how they get themselves out of this one.

Back to the Basics

Green Lanterns over the last couple months has not been a normal arc. We had a one shot about Jessica’s struggle with anxiety, a two-parter co-starring Batman and Simon’s feelings of inadequacy, and another one-shot about Volthoom the First Lantern. This is the first time in awhile we are getting back to Simon and Jess on an adventure together, and we are happy to be getting it.

Yeah, guuuuurl…

Doctor Polaris is a formidable foe. We’re not sure if the GL’s are riding high off of their success in Gotham City or what, but they have underestimated their query pretty severely. Probably, they are not going to be able to take Polaris down with a full frontal assault. They are going to have to appeal to his human side, to Neal Emerson himself.

This GL team has proven that they don’t have to punch all their problems away. They have thusfar been able to undermine the Red Lanterns, and diffuse the situation with the Phantom Lantern, as well as take care of the Scarecrow using their wits and humanity. Throughout this issue, there are a couple of reminders that Simon healed his best bud and brother-in-law using the powers of the ring. Chances are, he will have to barter that skill for Emerson’s surrender or something along those lines, but who knows how the Polaris personality will feel about that. We’ll see in upcoming issues.

Get it? Bipolar? Because magnets.

Feeling Emotions

The art by Ronan Cliquet remains top-notch. This book has been consistently good with each of its art teams, and Cliquet is no exception. The skillful way he draws emotive facial expressions really connects with each character, and the panel layouts have some interesting variety without being too confusing. He’s a good fit to the book, and we wouldn’t mind seeing him stay on permanently.

This issue, while being setup for what we’re guessing is a longer arc, promises more of the GL’s overcoming their internal demons, and saving the villains as much as themselves. We’ve come to expect a good amount of battling the enemies within as much as without from this team, and this story promises that in spades.


Green Lanterns #19: Polarity Chapter One

Writer: Sam Humphries

Art: Ronan Cliquet

Colors: Blonde

Letters: Dave Sharpe

All Images Courtesy of DC Comics

 

Ian is an amateur nerd and geek-of-all-trades. His main obsessions include Star Wars, superheroes, and movies nobody else seems to like. His children grow increasingly annoyed by his “Dad jokes”.

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Fanfinites Gift Guide for the Comic Nerd in Your Life

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With the winter holidays bearing down upon us, the panic button for “What do I get them?” is now becoming a tempting last resort. Fear not, our team of Fanfinites has compiled a holiday gift list guaranteed to please any comic geek in your life.

Jorge

Green Arrow Rebirth vol. 4: Rise of Star City
This is a great gift for the green arrow fan in your life, moving into one of the best arcs in the current series of Green Arrow. In one of the most action-packed, fun, and emotional adventures with team Green Arrow it leaves much to enjoy whether you’re a long time reader of the series or just getting into it. With stunning art by Juan Ferreyra and Eleonora Carlini and masterful storytelling by Benjamin Percy, this book belongs in any great DC collection.

Ian

Journey to The Last Jedi: Captain Phasma
It’s a double-whammy, a great comic, and a great Star Wars story. After a disappointing turn in The Force Awakens, it turns out Phasma is just as ruthless and evil as we all hoped she would be. Perfect for the Star Wars fan in your life.

Milan

Sex Criminals Vol. 4: Fourgy!
The end-of-year holidays are always a time inviting good cheer and reflection. And there’s no better way to partake of that spirit than with some bonkers fucking and dildo throwing. Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s magnificent brainchild deeply explores the nuances of relationships, responsibility, and adulthood while compromising none of their usual humour and shenanigans. A must-read for anyone who doesn’t hate happiness.

Priscilla

Ms. Marvel vol. 8: Mecca
You can never go wrong with Ms. Marvel, a series remarkable for its consistent quality over the years. Kamala Khan is an incredibly relatable hero and this was a great arc for her. Mecca shows the power of superhero stories to explore complex real life topics with sensitivity, all without losing humor and superpowered fights. Old fans will enjoy how well this arc ties to her journey so far, but it’s still accessible to new readers.

Kori

Green Lanterns Vol. 4: The First Rings (Rebirth)
It’s no secret how much the Fanfinites love Green Lanterns, particularly Jessica Cruz. With the upcoming fourth and final trade for Sam Humphries’ marvelous run on the title, we finally get to see the birth of the Lantern Corps, and how big of a role Jessica and Simon Baz have in shaping not only the Corps but the universe itself.

Holiday Sweater

If you’re feeling something a bit more festive, don’t forget to take a look at our store! We have a custom-designed holiday sweater this season, made especially for the Kate Kane fan in your life!


Images courtesy of Marvel, DC, and Image Comics

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Saga Delivers a Questionable Respite

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I find Saga‘s plot to be a good selling point on its own. The adventures of a forbidden couple in a war-torn galaxy—simple, neat, and beautifully illustrated and written. However, one other thing I really like is the notion of culture we get on each destination. No two places are alike. With every change of scenery, we get a taste of unique flora, fauna, religion, politics, peoples, and worldviews. It’s quite an ambitious setting, even if we only get to taste a dash per arc. And our heroes’ sour business in Pervious proves no different. Last issue generated a bit of a buildup on this planet’s aesthetic and ethic. Today we start to see what makes this sandy place stand out.

Spoiler alert: it’s nasty. But that’s only as far as the first few pages. The rest, concerning our heroes, is not unpleasant, but ‘strange’ would be underselling it.

Issue #44
“Mommy just had a bad dream”

Whether by Deliverance or Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the collective imaginarium on the hillbilly as a trope paints a rather unflattering picture. Regardless of any possible validity when comparing the trope with real life, we know these characters to be dogmatic, narrow-minded, and prone to violence. If last issue had something of a cowboyish feel, the centaur dune dwellers we meet pose a different theme altogether. Enter a roguish pack that exhibits a disturbing likeness to certain conservative population sectors. The moral coherence on these three is suitably puzzling as well. They’re perfectly willing to rob and kill two Landfallians on their way to Abortion Town, yet they disapprove of the couple’s decision.

A centaur mother and son, and the second human I recall seeing thus far in this comic identify a peculiar set of footprints on the sand. This is how the possible new set of baddies hop on the ‘pursue Alana and Marko’ train. Their motivations may simply be the loot they entitle themselves to, but the outcome of the purpose often involves killing and a callous conscience on the matter.

Meanwhile, the mood aboard the family’s rocketship can best be described as weird. Considering how Alana dispatched last issue’s poop monsters with magic, the tone of grief and urgency have given way to puzzlement. Something I rather love about these panels is the casualness with which they discuss this impossible event. Marko’s fresh out of the shower and in a towel, Petrichor does laundry, Hazel amusingly misuses a word for kinky grown-ups without knowing it. It’s a scene virtually pulled out of a Sunday in any human family’s household. However, Alana violently hurling some black substance is not something that commonplace. That’s a visual cue to remind us things are quite grave, alright.

So, here’s the plan. Petrichor, whose hands are still injured stays behind to watch the ship. She’ll have Marko’s wedding band-translation device to hold the fort verbally and sword-ly. As for Alana, Marko, and Hazel… they’ll put on some cowboy hats (and a hoodie for Marko’s horns). And then they’ll roguishly hop aboard a train, because of-god-damned-course.

We couldn’t forgive ourselves, Brian or Fiona, or life itself, if we didn’t have that scene. This comic handles plenty of the kind of action we’d expect in a movie. And I gotta say, Fiona’s pen translates the feeling of movement really well into the panels. I don’t know how challenging that really is, but Rob Liefeld’s work is a clear indication that it’s very possible to screw that up. So cheers as ever, Miss Staples.

Now, back to Petrichor. Of all the non-hostile characters in this comic, I find her to be the most alluring. Past the novelty of being a trans character not used as a token, she hints so very much. We know her to be very close to her roots in Wreath, its traditions, values and mysticism. This, in turn informs her features as a soldier in a binary war. And that, by extension, nurtures her two most important characteristics: competence and loyalty. However, we don’t know much about her past. This issue corrects that via her stoic mourning of a lost love. The palette of dark blue against pale fire appropriately conveys a feeling of melancholy and gravitas.

Petri casts her lost love’s picture into the fire, which is the universal code for moving on. The ambience grows in relevance. Having done this, she performs a prayer-ritual beseeching the Wreath Saints. The bloodletting is an ingredient befitting the most important of esoteric affairs, be it oaths or blood magic. So, what is Petrichor’s purpose in all this? Well, she’s praying to the Saints to send her someone to fuck. There is indeed some humour behind this apparent dissonance between deed and intent. However, if we go by D. Oswald Heist’s notion that the opposite of war is fucking, Petri has just joined the rest of the cast regarding sexual desire. True enough, when these characters aren’t busy killing, running, or Saga-ing, the’re most definitely having intercourse.

The Saints, on their part, answer to this momentous prayer by literally raining on her bonfire. The dicks. However, that is not the worst development to occur in the scene, as the rogues have followed Sir Robot’s footprints all the way here. Seeing Petrichor’s magic wielding, their most immediate response is to kill her. Although it appears the youngest bandit is not particularly into the idea. We can expect him to thwart the killing, or perhaps prove the gift-in-disguise Petrichor asked for. We’ll see.

This issue closes on a dreamy note, by which we mean a nightmare sequence. Alana dreams about a kinky encounter she had back in the day. The tone turns dark as her partner (not Marko) reproaches her for her habits, to which he attributes her baby’s death. The Fadeaway episode that partially led to the schism between Marko and her was a nasty bit, but we know this is not the reason she lost the baby. This is her own guilt speaking, and it’s difficult to shake guilt off, especially if the character has a conscience. Alana wakes up to find her husband peacefully asleep. But she is not the only one awake inside this train car. Her son is standing right before her.

You know, the one that was never born. Whereas Hazel took more after her mother, this little impossible one takes more after his dad. Cool-looking kids Alana and Marko produce, no doubt about that. This kid looks to be around Hazel’s age, which is just as well, she certainly needs some friends her age to overcome the trauma conga line she has endured. We can surely expect things to get weirder from here on out. But thus far, this has been one of the strangest turns in a comic series that delightfully revels on the bizarre and the unexpected.


Saga #44 Credits

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan

Artist: Fiona Staples

Images Courtesy of Image Comics

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A Great Year for Green Arrow

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When DC’s Rebirth event finally began, there were a lot of expectations surrounding another rebranding of its universe. It didn’t end up being a complete clean slate event like the New 52, but instead drew off of its predecessor and went into an entirely new direction. While still considered somewhat successful, a lot of comic fans were very disappointed to see the way their favorite heroes were reinvented as not every single title was given the attention they deserved, ala the few good titles on the New 52.  One the biggest offenders back then, in 2011, was Green Arrow. The writing brought us a younger Oliver Queen with a personality that was very different from his beloved 70s-90s counterpart and the stories were either just stuck at decent or just plain bad. Equally infuriating was the decision to not include his long time partner and love interest, Black Canary.

However, when Rebirth began releasing its one shot titles heralding the coming of most of its early series I was so incredibly impressed with how Benjamin Percy took what pieces his predecessors had left and shaped to create such a wonderfully fresh entry for a new generation of comic readers. Seriously, the first issue of Green Arrow blew me away with it’s set up to a series long villain that’s still working strong 35 issues into the series, serving as a critical look into today’s society. This is a staple of the Green Arrow history and his label a DC’s biggest social justice warrior. Plus Percy brought Black Canary back into the fold, like he’s my favorite just for that.

The first half of the year for DC’s Rebirth included some really good titles but honestly none of them had me impatiently waiting every two weeks for a new issue like Green Arrow did and this isn’t me just saying that because I’m a huge fan of the character to begin with. The stories for the first fourteen issues were marked with immersive storytelling and mystery that expanded into more with every arc, the build up of a villainous organization that were victorious where counter parts like New 52’s Court of Owls failed (don’t mind my disdain for them), and such great character development on all fronts that not reading into the history of this version of Oliver Queen didn’t make a new reader lost or daunted. In my opinion, Green Arrow is one of the best, if not the best, titles that DC has out right now.

With the year ending though, we’ve seen several great arcs and issues that stood out from each marking them as the pinnacle of storytelling and quality come from each month as the series moves further into greatness. I’d like to look back on this amazing year for the series by picking out the five best issues included in it to help fans remember what has made them love the series and perhaps even entice some new readers into picking up this great series. A note that I will only be choosing from issue #14 and on since that was the first issue of 2017. Also this is simply my opinion of what the five best issues are so if you don’t agree we can discuss it in the comments where I will fight you to death! Just kidding, no but seriously.

5. Issue 29: Hard-Traveling Heroes pt. 4: Hunting Grounds

Highlights: Batman v.s. Green Arrow, Court of Owls Cameo

Now you’re probably wondering why I chose this one when I just showed off how much I disliked the Court of Owls. Well that’s quite simple, if you’ve read this one because they’re given literally the most minuscule of roles and it serves just for Ollie to throw them back into the realm of irrelevance from whence they came. Anyway, this issue has Oliver travel into Gotham and infiltrate said organization to find a Ninth Circle double agent infiltrating their ranks in order to establish a calculated downfall of the city. It’s one of the few times, in this series anyway, that we get to see Oliver don his non-hero self as he infiltrates the Court by simply being himself. What we get from this is a social commentary on the dangers of elitism and a criticism on some activities of the 1%, though I’m sure most of them don’t hunt the homeless for sport.

Go away, seriously

Yet the best part of this issue was of course the fight and then team up between Green Arrow and Batman. This arc was marked by Oliver teaming up with a different member of the Justice League in each issue to take on the Ninth Circle and keeping them from doing to other cities what they had done in Seattle. Having Batman featured in this one was sure to make every fan scream with pure excitement. Oliver is often mentioned as being the lighter version of Bruce, having the same upbringing, well similar at best, they both fight for the same reasons but take completely different approaches to it. Either it was great to see these two battle one another and do battle together as they took on one of the Ninth Circles burnt lieutenants.

4. Issue 33: Trial of Two Cities pt. 1: Homecoming

Highlights: Return of Moira Queen, Oliver and Dinah make up, and the return of Shado

This is one of the more recent entries on this list but definitely sets up the current arc involving the trial of Oliver Queen. For those who don’t remember, Oliver is currently on trial after his death being faked as a murder suicide along with one of his secretaries in order to throw his name in the mud early on in the series. When he reveals that he’s still alive he’s put on trial for her murder and recently decides that in order for him to do any good as either Oliver Queen or the Green Arrow he must clear his name. Also recently he’s been taking the fight to the Ninth Circle which shows us that the climax of the conflict may soon be upon us.

My reason for this issue being on this list is extremely shallow but I’m pretty okay with it. Since the end of the Rise of Star City, Dinah and Oliver have been going through a pretty rough time together which was exacerbated by the fact that Oliver got up and left for the Hard-Traveling Heroes arc. Seeing the two of them make up and resume their passionate relationship is both beautiful and extremely cringe worthy.

We also find out that Moira Queen is still alive and had taken her husband’s place among the ranks of the Ninth Circle. Though it is clear there is a division in their ranks as the heads of the organization feel that her and Cyrus have not lived up to their expectations. They secretly call on the assassin, Shado, to collect their dues from her while Moira merciless ends Cyrus Broderick who has been a villain for most of the series. She drops the bomb that she’s still alive to Ollie at the conclusion of the book but it’s unclear whether she’s there to hide behind her soon or eventually sell him to the Ninth Circle, we’ll just have to see where her cold heart takes her.

Yikes

3.Issue 14: Emerald Outlaw pt. 3

Highlights: Green Arrow vs. The Dark Archer, The return of Malcolm Merlyn

Yeah I know I was stretching with mentioning the 14th issue of the series early on but honestly could you not include an issue that brought the return of the Green Arrow’s arch nemesis? Not only at that, but the original incarnation of said villain? I mean come on the choice was pretty obvious. For those of you who had the…”pleasure” of reading the New 52 Green Arrow you’ll know that the Dark Archers persona was given to Tommy Merlyn in a weird story that I’m not going to get into right now, so seeing the patriarch of the family return to evil glory was pretty amazing.

The Moneyshot!

The issue itself was pretty solid as well. With a string of attempted murders with a stolen Green Arrow, the police are on the hunt for the Green Arrow and Oliver is on the hunt for the archer to clear the Green Arrows name. The ensuing fight between the two is epic and beautifully drawn but also sets up for the next few issue which Oliver would be facing some of his toughest enemies and situations in the entire run of the series.

2. Issue 16: Emerald Outlaw pt. 5

Highlights: Final showdown with the Vice Squad, THAT ending

I tried really hard not to include two issues so close to each other but damn this was a great arc. For the entirety of it, Oliver was dealing with public opinion being against him, the looming threat of the Ninth Circle and the Dark Archer, and the ever violent threat of former police officers who were suspended for unlawful brutality forming the vigilante group know as the Vice Squad. The struggle was absolutely real for Oliver in these past few issues but little did he know it was only going to get worse from here on out.

The final showdown with the group was exciting and action packed as the Green Arrow schooled them in their ways and bringing to a head the social commentary of police brutality in the United States. As usual he hits us with what we need to hear and does a damn good job of it, especially the wise words of Chief Westberg, “…the best person to handle a bad cop…is a good cop”. This statement resonates with how the police force have a responsibility to not only watch over their own but to assure that justice will always be unbiased. The ending though is what makes this such a great book, the very same chief is killed by another green arrow in the Dark Archer arsenal and it really hurts to see him go after how much he’s contributed, pity that it would be blamed on Oliver as well.

1.Issue 24: The Rise of Star City: Finale

Highlights: Everything!

This one was definitely my favorite of probably the entire series. A glorious end to a wonderful arc and sets up just how much a hero can lose even if he wins. Starting off from the previous issue where the Space Needle was blown up to destroy the symbol of Seattle in order to start the conversion in the Ninth Circles corporate run Star City, our heroes are slowly collecting themselves after a major defeat. The issue splits up Oliver as he’s on the hunt for the Ninth Circle’s Seattle leader, Cyrus, as his friends work to defend the city from the likes of Chesire and Brick.

The revelation of his family’s involvement and the subsequent fight between Oliver and Cyrus is brutal and unflinching, ending quite harshly for him. The fight is exciting in the city as the action flows with both humor and amazing art from my current favorite artist, Juan Ferreyra. Yet what I took away most from this issue is not only personal growth and responsibility on his part but on ours. Oliver finally gives himself up to the police, determined in the fact that only Oliver Queen can save this city. As I’ve stated multiple times already, the staple of the Green Arrow series is to bring to our face the social injustices of the day and how we, not need to address, but to give them the attention that they need in order for us to grow and learn to do something about them.

Anyway this was my list I look forward to another great year of Green Arrow and if you haven’t read anything of it yet, I hope this list makes you give it a try!

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