This week: Reviews of Green Lantern Corps #45, Joe the Barbarian #2 and Uncanny X-Men #521!
Review: Green Lantern Corps #45
The news that Peter Tomasi will be spinning Guy Gardner off into a new GL: Emerald Warriors series is pleasing – one of the defining attributes of his GL Corps run is that he gets the character more than anyone else in years; but as the book’s cast have developed, he’s been left in the background more and more. Here, as he battles against Red Lantern-ness, he gets to come to the fore once again, and despite being a little soppy at times (witness his reunion with Kyle… there’s definitely something going on with those two), it’s one of the stronger issues in a while. The book has struggled with the fact that so much of the associated mess of Blackest Night has been dumped onto it – while Johns can pick and choose the (largely non-GL) characters he wants the crisis to affect, Tomasi is left to show the Corps as a whole battling with it – but with a clearer focus this issue is a much better read, and a sequence showing the “good” and “bad” parts of Guy’s history – colour-coded by the green and red ring energies – is a nice moment if you’re a fan of the character. [SP]
Review: Joe the Barbarian #2
There doesn’t seem to have been a huge amount of love for this series so far, and I’m not sure that’s hugely fair. People seem to be criticising it for being a Grant Morrison Vertigo series that isn’t of the awe-inspiring levels of complexity, subtlety of meaning and downright groundbreakingness of others he’s done before. But really, that’s judging it for what it isn’t, not what it is – which is, as it happens, rather a lot of fun. While the conceit isn’t hugely original, what really makes it work is that rather than having Joe unaware that he’s hallucinating (with only the reader seeing the flashes of “reality” that poke through), he’s actually working on the assumption that it’s all imagined. Which, of course, means that it might not be. It’s a nice inversion, and the scenes that flicker between the two realities work really well. What continues to really sell it, though, is the sheer beauty of Sean Murphy and Dave Stewart’s visuals. No, it doesn’t really challenge in the way Morrison’s work often does, but it’s an engaging and charming little piece of work. [SP]
Review: Uncanny X-Men #521
It’s tempting to criticise the greed with which Matt Fraction is plundering the X-Men’s history to the build his already too-large team, as a figure who looked to be a fleeting visitor is added to the core cast. The prospect of the writer of everyone’s favourite post-modern super-spy regularly writing everyone’s second-favourite post-modern super-spy is a winning one, however, and it’s hard not the welcome Fantomex’s arrival on Utopia. The writer’s effortless balancing of multiple story strands continues here, and while Nation X may not have created the “under siege” feel that the X-Men’s present status quo seemed to strive for, there’s a real feeling that Fraction has now delivered the finished article regarding his vision for the book. [JHa]