09 May 2011

Free Comic Book Day 2011 - "Green Lantern/Flashpoint"

FCBD 2011 Green Lantern Flashpoint Special Edition #1


Green Lantern Secret Origin Book 2
Geoff Johns - writer
Ivan Reis - pencils
Oclair Albert - inks
Randy Mayor - colors
Rob Leigh - letters
Ivan Reis & Dave McCaig - cover
Adam Schlagman - asst. editor
Eddie Berganza - editor

In anticipation of the forthcoming Green Lantern movie, DC Comics offered this reprint of the origin of Hal Jordan to prep audiences.  I've seen several depictions over the years, and this is as good as any of them.  Geoff Johns keeps the story succinct, while still dripping with information.  We learn enough about Hal, his dad, his botched Air Force career, Carol Ferris and the Green Lantern Abin Sur, whose fatal crash on Earth led to Hal becoming a Lantern that we have a strong sense of each character and the role they play in this drama.  Nicely done.

There are several GL-centric ads throughout this issue, including one for a video game (Green Lantern: Rise of the Manhunters), a direct-to-video animated movie (Green Lantern: Emerald Knights), collectibles based on the forthcoming live-action movie, an 11-issue long "War of the Green Lanterns" comic book story being told in three titles, and a collection of pertinent GL comics that were an influence on the aforementioned forthcoming live-action movie.  There's no mistake: this free comic exists to promote the film and GL merchandise.  As a Lantern fan I almost enjoy it, but then it feels sordid.

Flashpoint
Geoff Johns - writer
Andy Kubert - penciller
Sandra Hope - inker
Alex Sinclair - colorist
Nick J. Napolitano - letterer

This is a teaser of a forthcoming massive storyline that will be told across 24 comics--22 of which will be published in June.  All that's really shown here is that Barry Allen (The Flash) is the main protagonist in a story that appears to be predicated on something happening to the timeline.  The last page shows an overwhelmed Barry saying to the Caped Crusader, "I need your help, Batman.  You and I have to fix the world."  Batman is clearly not wearing his standard outfit, as there is a red circle behind his Bat-emblem.  What has happened to the timeline is, of course, the question to be answered throughout "Flashpoint."

I'm gonna pass.  20+ issue arcs were what chased me out of comics in the mid-90s, and I've become bored by "Oh, noes! Time is screwed up!" stories.  One of the last pages in this issue is an ad for "Flashpoint" action figures, and maybe I'm just being unfair but it seems to me that the whole point of this storyline was to introduce new character designs to sell toys.  I've got nothing against action figures, but if comic books should have learned anything at all from 1997's Batman & Robin, it's that the story has to be more important than the merchandising possibilities.  Then again, maybe this will become the most popular and critically acclaimed thing to happen with superheroes of its generation.  I doubt it, though.

3 comments:

  1. Been trying to get back to reading your blog, but you've been somewhat prolific in posts of late, so there's quite a mountain for me to chip away at. Best to start with what I know best.
    I didn't actually make it to Free Comic Book Day this year, the past few years I've taken more interest in the Derby as a Louisvillian, recognizing our state's annual 15 minutes in the limelight. I think that started a couple of years ago during Derby week when I was at Flanagan's for a drink and some visitors began chatting me up about the city. I realized not only how much I did know but also how many people were curious about the city and began to question why I wasn't more curious. Was I so jaded as to believe that I had seen all of my city there was to see? I was indeed, and have since sought to rectify that issue with an increasing appreciation of my environment. I was lucky enough not to be born on some minor island situated between oceans of corn, so I may as well show some appreciation for that good fortune.
    While not having seen the Green Lantern FCBD giveaway, your description paints the proper picture. As the great master of the Schwartz, Yogurt, once said, "Merchandising!" When DC Direct first started marketing action figures, I liked it. Not enough to buy any, but I liked that they were making available characters and designs from stories that were already popular, i.e. Kingdom Come and The Dark Knight Returns. But such genuine efforts tend to give way to what we see in this instance, a marketing blitzkrieg meant to completely envelope the avid reader in a particular storyline, emptying his wallet in the process. I feel in modern comics DC has a bad reputation for this sort of thing now, they did it last year with Blackest Night. They craft continuing storylines across multiple titles, just like they did in the 90's, that feed their bottom line and extend so long that they feel forced and the reader loses the suspension of disbelief during those weaker times and can see that they're being fleeced. It's bad policy. Kudos to Marvel, as I've liked the way they've done their crossovers since Civil War. They create a mini-series that will hit the highpoints of the storyline overall and simultaneously show you enough of how it affects characters you don't read about to maybe get you interested in picking up those titles during the crossover though it's not necessary, and then you see the cause and effects of the crossover related to your favorite character in the title you are already reading in most cases. Thus, to keep up with the story you may only have to pick up one extra comic per month, if that.

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  2. You raise a lot of interesting stuff about the Derby. I even contemplated blogging about that annual event and got so far as stringing together some generic thoughts, but I just didn't have anything worth publishing this year. And you know how low my standards are for what I'll publish here, so that ought to tell you how weak my Derby post was!

    As for DC, I see their current model as being symptomatic of the industry at large. Time and again, I've discussed how important mass distribution was to me as a reader. I simply cannot understand how the industry is to survive if young, casual readers can't buy comics at gas stations, pharmacies and other common, local stores. Oldham County is essentially a suburb of Louisville now and I cannot name one place here where anyone could buy a single comic book. How is that exclusivity good for the industry? Where are the jumping-on points? FCBD? You have to go to a comic specialty store to even participate!

    I would be remiss not to at least make note of the fact that the Green Lantern origin story was pretty good, though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Been trying to get back to reading your blog, but you've been somewhat prolific in posts of late, so there's quite a mountain for me to chip away at. Best to start with what I know best.
    I didn't actually make it to Free Comic Book Day this year, the past few years I've taken more interest in the Derby as a Louisvillian, recognizing our state's annual 15 minutes in the limelight. I think that started a couple of years ago during Derby week when I was at Flanagan's for a drink and some visitors began chatting me up about the city. I realized not only how much I did know but also how many people were curious about the city and began to question why I wasn't more curious. Was I so jaded as to believe that I had seen all of my city there was to see? I was indeed, and have since sought to rectify that issue with an increasing appreciation of my environment. I was lucky enough not to be born on some minor island situated between oceans of corn, so I may as well show some appreciation for that good fortune.
    While not having seen the Green Lantern FCBD giveaway, your description paints the proper picture. As the great master of the Schwartz, Yogurt, once said, "Merchandising!" When DC Direct first started marketing action figures, I liked it. Not enough to buy any, but I liked that they were making available characters and designs from stories that were already popular, i.e. Kingdom Come and The Dark Knight Returns. But such genuine efforts tend to give way to what we see in this instance, a marketing blitzkrieg meant to completely envelope the avid reader in a particular storyline, emptying his wallet in the process. I feel in modern comics DC has a bad reputation for this sort of thing now, they did it last year with Blackest Night. They craft continuing storylines across multiple titles, just like they did in the 90's, that feed their bottom line and extend so long that they feel forced and the reader loses the suspension of disbelief during those weaker times and can see that they're being fleeced. It's bad policy. Kudos to Marvel, as I've liked the way they've done their crossovers since Civil War. They create a mini-series that will hit the highpoints of the storyline overall and simultaneously show you enough of how it affects characters you don't read about to maybe get you interested in picking up those titles during the crossover though it's not necessary, and then you see the cause and effects of the crossover related to your favorite character in the title you are already reading in most cases. Thus, to keep up with the story you may only have to pick up one extra comic per month, if that.

    ReplyDelete