Sunday, March 24, 2013

Wrath of the First Lantern--A Review

Some years ago, the Justice League of America found an alternate Earth where Evil always triumphed over Good ("Earth-3.")  Benedict Arnold was on the dollar bill; people had their hearts on the right side of their bodies ... it was a real mess.  There they discovered dark versions of themselves in the Crime Syndicate of Amerika -- Ultraman was the evil Superman, Superwoman was the evil Wonder Woman (although she was actually evil Lois Lane -- don't ask) and Power Ring was the evil Green Lantern.  Power Ring's magic ring was powered by an evil wizard named Volthoom.  They never got deep into the details, but it seemed that Power Ring's ring was cursed in some way; he mentions being tricked into putting it on and implies that he can't remove it.  He also mentions that Volthoom constantly whispers to him through the ring and is never quiet.  All this happened back in the 1960's, when comics cost twelve cents (now they cost four dollars) and the guy who's now writing Green Lantern had yet to be born.

[Green Lantern takes on Power Ring while Batman fights Owlman and the Flash takes on Johnny Quick in Justice League of America #30 from September, 1964.]

Geoff Johns, that writer I just mentioned, is the one behind the recent revival of DC's Green Lantern books. Geoff is leaving GL to write Justice League, but before he goes, he's tying up all the loose ends from the GL mythos with a neat little story called "Wrath of the First Lantern."  That First Lantern is named...Volthoom.  It's a nice little Easter Egg for long-time fans like myself.  In the new story, Volthoom was imprisoned by the masters of the Green Lantern Corps, the Guardians of the Universe.  He was then used to power the Green Light of the "emotional spectrum" (green is the color of Willpower and the power of the Green Lantern Corps, just as blue is the color of Hope which powers the Blue Lanterns, and so forth.)  Well, Volthoom has finally broken loose from Guardian Prison, and folks, he is angry.  He may have been evil on Earth-3, but he's E-V-I-L here on Earth-1.  (And so far, for all we know, he may even be the same Volthoom.)

[Volthoom as he first appeared to the Guardians.  Yeah, he looks trustworthy.]

The story has been interesting so far, to say the least.  Volthoom has been busy sucking up all the emotional energy that he can in an attempt to essentially rewrite the history of the Universe.  Which means a lot of us are going to die if Volthoom has his way.  So it's up to the Green Lantern Corps to try and stop him.  Only they don't have the help of the Guardians, or anybody else for that matter, even the more sympathetic members of the other Corps of Light.  (The other Corps wield the powers of Rage, Fear, Avarice, Hope, Love and Compassion.)  Right now Volthoom is going after Earth's Green Lanterns one by one and forcing them to relive all of the regretted decisions of their lives as a preface to his gaining the power to rewrite everyone's lives...and destroy them.  Time in Guardian Prison has changed Volthoom's appearance somewhat:

--but he still seems to be a jerk of the first order.  My one complaint so far has been that recent issues of Red Lanterns, Green Lantern Corps, and Green Lantern: New Guardians have been a little repetitive as Volthoom puts the same whammy on the protagonists of each book, but I trust writer Geoff Johns to get things moving.  The story line is scheduled to run through this May, and the first issues, including the flagship title, Green Lantern itself, are still on newsstands, so it's not too late to jump on board.  Enjoy -- I am!

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