04 January 2017

Faster than a DC Bullet: Project Crisis!, Part LVIII: The World of Flashpoint featuring Green Lantern

Comic trade paperback, n.pag.
Published 2012 (contents: 2011)
Borrowed from the library
Read August 2016
The World of Flashpoint featuring Green Lantern

Writers: Adam Schlagman, Jeff Lemire, Pornsak Pichetshote
Artists: Felipe Massafera, Robson Rocha, Joe Prado, Ibraim Roberson, Alex Massacci, Andy Smith, Keith Champagne, Ig Guara, Marco Castiello, Ruy José, Vincenzo Acunzo, Cliff Richards, Ben Oliver
Colorists: Rod Reis, Pete Pantazis, Stefani Rennee, Allen Passalaqua
Letterers: Dave Sharpe, Pat Brosseau, Travis Lanham, Carlos M. Mangual, Wes Abbott

Like I said when talking about the Batman World of Flashpoint volume, despite thinking these books were kind of dumb at first, I'm coming to enjoy them. The World of Flashpoint featuring Green Lantern is another solidly enjoyable volume-- I liked all four stories here. The key ones are definitely the first and last stories, both written by Adam Schlagman: "Abin Sur: The Green Lantern" and "Hal Jordan." These stories essentially run in parallel, depicting the lives of their two main characters. In this timeline, Abin Sur still crashlands on Earth and is found by hotshot test pilot Hal Jordan, but Abin doesn't die, meaning he doesn't pass his Green Lantern ring on to Hal.

Why are the Guardians of the Universe jerks in every timeline?
from Flashpoint: Abin Sur: The Green Lantern #1 (script by Adam Schlagman, art by Felipe Massafera)

Abin's story is about him holding onto the Green Lantern determination to protect life in a universe increasingly hostile to it. We see his youth, we see his friendship with fellow Green Lantern Thaal Sinestro (I had no idea Sinestro had a first name), we see Sinestro's turn to evil when he's told their timeline is an aberration and can be rewritten, and we see Abin sent on a mission to Earth by the Guardians of Oa, who want him to recover the White Entity, the essence of life, from its hiding place. Only once Abin finds out about the Amazon-Atlantis war consuming Earth, he wants to stop that instead. This isn't anything deep, but it is a solid, enjoyable tale, with larger-than-life characters doing big things and making tough choices. The art of Felipe Massafera and his collaborators (Robson Rocha and Joe Prado) is some of the best art on a World of Flashpoint story I've seen yet, communicating character and strength. There's some real tragedy, and real emotion here. As always, I'm curious to see if these events will play into the main Flashpoint title. It seems like they ought to, but Flashpoint is only five issues long and so many things have been set up in The World of Flashpoint by this point!

And Hal Jordan kind of a loser in every timeline?
from Flashpoint: Hal Jordan #3 (script by Adam Schlagman, art by Cliff Richards)

Hal's story is about a hotshot pilot who never achieved his potential: his tragedy is never receiving a Green Lantern ring. This is another story that feels true, revealing a different side to the real Hal by showing how his life would have gone differently. With Ben Oliver and Cliff Richards on art, both solid choices, this is another story that communicates character and stakes well, with Hal's yearning for the air, and his relationship with fellow pilot Carol Ferris, where he can never bring himself to make the next stop. The story culminates in an all-out attack on Great Britain, stronghold of the Amazons, with suitably tragic consequences. It seems a shame based on these two tales that Adam Schlagman never wrote many other comics; the Grand Comics Database indicates he mostly did some backups in various Green Lantern titles, and hasn't written any comics at all since The World of Flashpoint. His character-driven work on these two tales would make me assign him an ongoing series ASAP!

Of course, even when he's not an actual archer, Ollie is still a pretentious jerk who carries a bow around and a poor friend to Roy.
from Flashpoint: Green Arrow Industries #1 (script by Pornsak Pichetshote, art by Ig Guara & Marco Castiello and Ruy José & Vincenzo Acunzo)

Of course, with Green Lantern you must have Green Arrow: the short tale "Green Arrow Industries" is surprisingly good, giving us a corporate Oliver Queen who is finally pushed to do the right thing... and then turns out to be too much of a coward to go through with it. I didn't expect to like this tale as much as I did; it has some nice moments like Ollie being unable to shoot a bow and arrow. It also sets things up nicely for "Hal Jordan," since the nuclear missile Hal deploys was made by Green Arrow Industries.

Even mad scientists can love.
from Flashpoint: Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown #2 (script by Jeff Lemire, art by Ibraim Roberson & Alex Massacci)

I don't know what "Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown" has to do with Green Lantern, but I guess it had to go somewhere. I enjoyed the Frankenstein tales in Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers of Victory, and this could fit alongside them pretty easily; little here is dependent on what is unique to the continuity of Flashpoint, as far as I could tell. Jeff Lemire's story is, like all the other ones in this volume, one of tragedy: this time of monsters searching for their place in a world that hunts and despises them. Frankenstein leads a team of monsters during World War II, is put into hibernation in an experimental facility for decades, and wakes up when the facility is destroyed by the rampage of Subject One in the "Project Superman" World of Flashpoint tale. Lots of good adventure stuff here: mad scientists, evil robots, everything you'd expect from a Frankenstein/DC mashup. I see Lemire actually wrote a New 52 Frankenstein and the Agents of S.H.A.D.E. series later on; I should check it out based on my enjoyment of this and Seven Soldiers.

Alternate history stories in ongoing continuities can be fun, and I think the Green Lantern volume of World of Flashpoint has captured what those stories should be like better than most of the other volumes: it shows you familiar characters not quite achieving the greatness you know they ought to, giving an extra layer of tragedy to the terrible things that happen to them.

Next Week: Okay, but what about the Flash? Time to find out what happened to the Fastest Man Alive in The World of Flashpoint!

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