Johns, Geoff

About the Author:

 

Geoff Johns was born in Detroit, USA and studied media arts, screenwriting, film production and film theory at Michigan State University.  He worked as an assistant to movie director Richard Donner for four years before becoming a writer for DC Comics.  Johns has also written for film and television, including Smallville and Robot Chicken.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

4 out of 5

(5 books)

Green Lantern: No Fear

(Art by Darwyn Cooke, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver, Simone Bianchi, Jesus Merino and Prentis Rollins)

Following on from 'Rebirth', this relaunch of the Green Lantern series sees the resurrected Hal Jordan settling back into his former life as Green Lantern.  Meanwhile, Earth is targeted not only by the deadly robotic Manhunters but also by a race of aliens intent on manipulating the human genome to turn them into living weapons.

I'm not someone who considers themselves a Green Lantern fan but I have to say that I really enjoyed 'Rebirth'.  This, however, was something of a disappointment, lacking both the scope and pathos of that preceding story.  This is pretty much just Hal Jordan getting on with normal life, which definitely feels like a comedown after the whole Parallax/Spectre thing.

I'm not saying it's a bad book, but it is a pretty average one.

3 out of 5

 

Green Lantern: Rebirth

(Art by Ethan Van Sciver, Prentis Rollins, Marlo Alquiza and Mick Gray)

The first book of the relaunched Green Lantern series.  Hal Jordan, once the greatest of the Green Lanterns, became the supervillain Parallax before dying and bonding with the spirit of vengeance, the Spectre.  His successor, Kyle Rayner makes the shocking discovery that Parallax is, in fact, a parasitic entity of pure fear which infected Jordan and is seeking to break free once more.  The remaining members of the shattered Green Lantern Corps have to unite to not only resurrect Hal Jordan in his true form, but also to defeat the unleashed Parallax.

I've never been that big a Green Lantern fan, with largely a passing knowledge of the series' lore (purists will be horrified that the 90s version of Kyle Rayner was the Lantern I was most familiar with), but this book does a great job of walking you through the history of the characters involved.  Long-time fans might feel this is hand-holding, but I found it to be a great jumping-on point.  Johns also seems very respectful of the preceeding lore and goes to great lengths to give roles to all the main human Lanterns; Jordan, Rayner, John Stewart and even Guy Gardner.

The book builds in impact very nicely across its length, feeling almost like a whole-DC Universe event storyline rather than just a Green Lantern one.  Also, where DC comics are often viewed as darker and less optimistic than their Marvel counterparts, this book ends on a really nice hopeful high, with the fire of the Green Lantern Corps relit once more.

If there was one criticism I would level at this book, it is simply that its real-world imperatives are a little too obvious.  Johns clearly had the remit to return the Green Lanterns to the status quo with the most famous incarnation of the character in the leading role; an annoying trope which happens over and over again across comics.  Basically, because Hal Jordan is the most famous and therefore marketable Lantern, this whole story was created just to put him back in the driving seat.  But it was beautifully done.

5 out of 5

 

Green Lantern: Revenge Of The Green Lanterns

(Art by Carlos Pacheco, Jesus Merino, Ethan Van Sciver, Prentis Rollins, Ivan Reis, Mark Campos and Oclair Albert)

Book 2 (or 3, depending on whether you count 'Rebirth' as part of the main series or a separate standalone).  Having taken up his former life as Earth's Green Lantern, Hal Jordan now has to face the repercussions of his actions under the influence of Parallax.  This involves fighting the offspring of his hated enemy Mongul, winning back the trust of the Batman and launching a mission to rescue the Green Lanterns who he believed he had killed.

I liked the overarching theme of this book that although Hal has returned to his role and earned his redemption, that doesn't erase the damage he did as Parallax.  It's not all 'forgive and forget' for some his former colleagues and he still has a long road ahead to atone for his crimes.  I also liked the reintroduction of Hank Henshaw (AKA Cyborg Superman), a villain whose appearances I've enjoyed ever since he first turned up in 'The Return of Superman' (reviewed here).

Despite those positive points, the stories within the book feel fragmented and disassociated from one another.  The theme of facing his own mistakes is a good one but doesn't cohesively tie the whole book together, leaving it feeling less like a coherent graphic novel and more like a series of separate stories (which, of course, it would have been in its original serialised comic book format).

3 out of 5

 

Green Lantern: Wanted: Hal Jordan

(Art by Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Daniel Acuna)

Book 3.  When Hal Jordan's flying partner Cowgirl is shot down, he breaks international law and violates Russian airspace to save her from the terrorists who previously held them both captive.  Confronted by the Rocket Red Brigade, the Global Guardians, the Justice League and alien bounty hunters, Green Latern has to clear his name and save his friend.

I liked the idea that Hal considers himself above things like national jurisdictions, being the guardian of a whole sector of space and that this naturally causes friction with other Earth-based superheroes, particularly in the wake of 'Infinite Crisis'.  Despite this, the front half of this book is a bit messy and Hal's renegade status is all cleared up a little too quickly and conveniently for my tastes.

However, what took this book up a notch in my book was how it begins to lay the groundwork for conflicts to come.  Here we're introduced to the Sinestro Corps, as well as discovering Star Sapphire's surprising connection to the Guardians, giving us two new parallels for the Green Lantern Corps to contend with (and it won't stop there!).  Whilst nothing of this gets resolved or even comes to a head here, there is a definite and enjoyable feeling of the larger game being afoot.

4 out of 5

 

Infinite Crisis

(Art by Phil Jimenez, George Perez, Jerry Ordway, Ivan Reis, Andy Lanning, Oclair Albert, Marlo Alquiza, Marc Campos, Wayne Faucher, Drew Geraci, Jimmy Palmiotti, Sean Parsons, Norm Rapmund, Lary Stucker and Art Thibert)

'Infinite Crisis' is the most important story event to hit the DC Comics universe in twenty years and is a direct follow up to 1985's 'Crisis On Infinite Earths' by Marv Wolfman.  As the story here begins the OMAC warriors are killing metahumans worldwide, magic has been devastated by the Spectre's insane purge, the Society of supervillains has united to defeat their heroic enemies and an intergalactic war rages in deep space.  More significant than this, however, is the fact that Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman no longer trust one another and cannot unite to fight the growing darkness. 

Watching these events are characters from parallel Earths which were destroyed; Alex Luthor, Superboy Prime, Earth-2 Superman and his wife Lois Lane.  Apalled by the state of Earth they decide to intervene and establish Earth-2 as the only Earth, erasing the darkness growing on Earth-1.  I know it sounds complicated, but Johns makes sure we've got a full commentary of all the parallel world stuff, including a recap of the events of 'Crisis On Infinite Earths'. 

So much happens in this book that I can't begin to even summarise it all, but suffice to say that 'Infinite Crisis' sweeps through the entire DC universe, killing many of the characters and irrevocably changing many more.  A few highlights include; two Supermen getting some payback on Doomsday, the all-out war between heroes and villains in the streets of Metropolis, the introduction of a new Blue Beetle, a psychotic Superboy going on a kill-spree and the full might of the Green Lantern Corps unleashed. 

Amidst all this awesome stuff (the book's packed so full you'll read it again and again and still find things you missed before), two things stand out in my mind.  The first is the fact that, when things come to a head, because Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are still at odds, it is their younger counterparts Superboy, Nightwing and Wonder Girl who have to step up and combine their abilities to save the universe.  And one of them doesn't survive. 

The other stand-out bit will only appeal to long-time Bat-fans like me.  Early in the book the Joker is told he's too nuts to join Lex Luthor's Society.  However, Luthor has made bad mistake and at the end, after the universe has been to the brink of destruction and back, the Joker (along with the real Lex Luthor) shows up to knock him down for good. 

I honestly can't recommend this book and the entire lead-up series enough.  My only disappointment here was that there isn't enough of the Shadowpact (introduced in 'Day Of Vengeance') and absolutely no sign of the Secret Six (introduced in 'Villains United').

5 out of 5

Collaborations & Anthologies:

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One (here)

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two (here)

JLA: Crisis Of Conscience (here)

JLA/JSA: Virtue And Vice (here)

Power Girl (here)

Prelude To Infinite Crisis (here)

The OMAC Project (here)

Ultimate X-Men: Ultimate Collection Book 1 (here)

Read more...

DC Comics (here)

Marvel Comics (here)