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I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.
Then I read them.
Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.
I read 12 comics last week: Captain America: White #4, Thors #4, Secret Wars #7, Batman/Superman #26, Superman: American Alien #1, Batman #46, Avengers #1, Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern #1, Justice League: The Darkseid War Shazam #1, Chewbacca #3, Darth Vader #12 and Batman and Robin Eternal #6.
The best comic I read last week was Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern.
Tom King is quickly becoming a writer that must be followed. I don’t have many of these. Normally with writers I like, I am interested in what they are writing, but I don’t necessarily pick up everything they lay down. King is becoming someone who must be read.
Case-in-point is Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern. This book really makes me mad – I mean the existence of it. I get sucked into these ancillary titles all the time. In this case, the Justice League battle with Darkseid from their eponymous title has spawned a series of (so-far) largely forgettable tie-in books. I’ve read them all. I’ve forgotten most of them, but this one, this one works.
King brings an unexpected depth a pathos to the character, not because Hal Jordan doesn’t normally have depth and pathos, but because the writers of these sorts of books generally avoid all that for whiz-bang action. Not King. The Green Lantern he writes here is not only true to the core of the character (something the current Green Lantern title has forgotten to tap into) but also because he makes the character dynamic. Green Lantern changes here, and not just because of the power of a new god with which he’s been charged, but because the character changes throughout the course of the story. Hal realizes something new and different about himself and a reader gets the sense that, handled correctly in subsequent appearances, this could really propel Green Lantern into something worth reading.
That is if King was on the title. I may be getting to the point of wanting King to write all comics…
Doc Shaner’s art is quite good as well, and perfectly suited to the story King is telling. A very pleasant mix between Darwyn Cooke and Dave Gibbons, both artists who’ve left their mark on Green Lantern, the pencils are clear and the action crisp. Shaner’s Hal Jordan looks like Hal Jordan in all phases of the story and in all costumes the character wears in the issue. Shaner doesn’t lose sight of how important that is. He’s destined for bigger things that fill in books.
This story is so good it rivals what Geoff Johns has done in the main Justice League title and that’s very much saying something.
This one tugged at the heartstrings in all the right ways.