Spoiler CityIf you haven't read Infinite Crisis #4 or any of the more recent issues of Green Lantern -- eyes slideways, spud. I'll be chattin' them up, assuming I have sufficient time before I have to bolt for the bus stop.
I'm losing some faith in Geoff Johns. But maybe it's just that he's pouring it all into INFINITE CRISIS and doesn't have much left in the tank for GREEN LANTERN. That could be. All I know is, the last two issues of GREEN LANTERN have struck me as very lackluster, while INFINITE CRISIS continues to rock hard.
On GREEN LANTERN -- it may just be that GL is a concept where the traditional Golden/Silver Age secret identity makes little sense. I postulated in this Martian Vision entry that Green Lanterns might well wear masks as a symbol, to show the universe they protected that when they were in uniform, they were not individuals any more, but they represented something higher and greater... in other words, when you see the mask and the power ring, it's never personal, it's always business. And that makes sense to me. But why should a Green Lantern need a secret identity? They aren't vigilantes; they are law officers, appointed to their post by the oldest legitimate authority in the cosmos.
I've always thought Hal could have just been straight up with the world, including all his weird friends (the Innuit guy with the pastry-derived name, and that bitch on wheels he had the rotten judgement to be in love with, among others) about his other job. Yeah, he's got enemies, and yeah, sure, some of them might be dumb enough to go after one of his loved ones... once... but I doubt they'd have done it again, once they saw Power Ring Retribution in action. And overall, Green Lantern isn't just a superhero name or a secret ID... it's title, and it's a job. Hal could have been open about it. And who knows, that openness might have set him apart enough from the cookie cutter mold of DC's Silver Age pantheon so his book wouldn't have been in constant danger of cancellation.
I babble all this because it strikes me that what's wrong with Johns' current work on GL is all coming through the secret identity. About the only element I'm uncomfortable with in the current title is Hal's day job -- he's rejoined the Air Force, apparently for no other reason than to get to fly jets. And he doesn't even get to do that much; he shows up for a posted flight time but bam!, his new boss, an Air Force general who knows his secret identity, calls him up and sends GL on a mission instead.
The only real reason Hal seems to even have a secret ID is that (a) it gives the writer another plot device to work around and (b) it gives Hal a shot at the character who is obviously intended to be his new romantic interest, a female top gun military pilot only known, to date, as Cowgirl. Yay. They take Carol Ferris off the table, which makes me cheer, and who do they put out there instead? Cowgirl. Yippee kai yay, motherfucker.
Most of the rest of the recent issues seems inventive enough. Johns is doing cool stuff with Hector Hammond and the Shark, tying these two apparently accidentally evolved GL villains together with some weird aliens who like doing this sort of thing to primitive beings. Yeah... I think it's just the secret ID stuff that's bugging me.
Now, as to INFINITE CRISIS #4:
Heh. What gets mopey useless dickhead Conner mad enough to fight? Earth-Prime Superboy kicked his dog! Yeah, that would piss me off, too.
Whoa! Every punk ass teen or former teen superhero in the world shows up to save Conner from getting the asswhipping he so richly deserves at the soon to be gore streaked hand of the clearly psychotic Earth-Prime Superboy. And then one of them (I have no idea what her name is, but Lord, I wish it had been Starfire) leaps into the fray, snarling insults, and -- CHRIST!!! HER BLOCK IS KNOCKED OFF! (Unlike Rock Em Sock Em Robots, though, I don't believe you can press it right back on again.) Man, we never saw this stuff in the Silver Age. Oh, God, why couldn't it have been Starfire?
Elsewhere in the book, Chemo wipes out Bludhaven Falls! I don't care. But jesus, if Modern Age means cold blooded murder (and I'm guessing it does) Johns is putting the pedal to the metal here.
"When a Luthor stands next to a Superman -- they will ALWAYS be at odds." Oh my yes.
You know, I've been waiting for a pre-Crisis Superboy to come back, tell Conner he's not Superboy, and kick his ass for him for what, fifteen, twenty years now? I suspect Johns knows a lot of us have been waiting for that... so this is what he gives us. Modern Age fans have nothing to bitch about; the whole purpose of this little riff is to force everyone in the audience to accept that Conner really IS Superboy. Nobody but Johns could have made me buy that... but he's doing it.
Booster is still trying to track down the new Blue Beetle. Those of us who read Kung Fu Monkey are already way ahead of the curve here, though.
A new Spectre. Nobody I've ever heard of. But he's, you know, ethnic, just like the new Blue Beetle. So that's... well... I guess it's cool. Actually, I don't care. I'm just glad it's not Hal any more.
Hmmm. You know, EP-Superboy actually killed quite a few people, towards the end of that brawl. And I don't know who ANY of them are.
They couldn't have killed ONE lousy New Teen Titan I recognized? Starfire? Cyborg? Raven? SOMEbody?
And... finally... WHAT an ending. Johns has managed to end EVERY issue of this miniseries so far in a way that makes you crazy to get the next issue. It's masterful.
Geez, I wish I could just pick this up as a TPB...