Thursday, September 02, 2010

The Sinestro Corps War has revealed my fear of event comics

The other late great event comic that I’ve read somewhat after the sell-by date is the Sinestro Corps Wars as found in the pages of the somewhat recently relaunched Green Lantern. I was never a very big Green Lantern fan. Not through any problem I have with the character or any sort of Marvel vs. DC loyalty. I was just never really interested in him. I never dismissed him outright, like other readers have, as just some dude with a magic wishing ring. But I have to say that I used to love the panels on the old Absorbascon blog that had Hal being hit in the head with random yellow stuff.

Is this a great story line? For the character – yes; for the uninitiated – not really. Luckily I had read some of the other recent DC crossovers, so I got the whole superboy prime stuff and the Anti-Monitor being a big deal but so much of the threats and reveals of this story required knowledge of past DC Comics that is felt a bit like a long inside joke. Sure you wouldn’t be totally lost coming to this cold, but unlike Planet Hulk where previous knowledge of the Marvel Universe merely enhances what is there, the big developments and shocking reveals in this storyline require you to have the same knowledge that the writers have.

There’s nothing wrong with giving your new readers something to go back and research. Hey, they’ll buy old comics (or at least the trade collection of Crisis of Infinite Earths, or whatever), and by showing them these really wild and crazy characters that are huge threats could spark imaginations to a point where they go back to just know more. Then again, who am I kidding, anyone reading this comic is likely to have been reading all the comics required to understand everything that happens. I know I’m building a bit of a straw-man argument here, but at the same time, there was enough going on that I just couldn’t follow.

I guess, Blackest Night, would be more of a proper Event comic for me to read but that wasn’t available. And really, this was enough for me. Again, I like the idea of it. Having an opposing force of Yellow Lanterns that take the fight to the Green Lanterns is an idea so perfect for the comic that it’s unbelievable that this is the first time it’s actually happened. Then the spectrum of rings coming out was just that much better. So, why the heck was I basically feeling “meh” about this?

Well, it comes down to a few things really. I didn’t read the complete run of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps before reading these collections. It bothers me that I need to have collected and read two entire series in order to build a relationship with characters I’m supposed to care about. That relationship should be built into the actual story. Heck, I ended up empathizing with the Forgotten Lanterns or whatever they were called, more than the heroes. I kept reading a lot of the non-human characters as “sexy elf chick” or “XXXX-treme army dude” or whatever since they were all basically characterized a bit overly simplistic to a point where I didn’t really care if they made it or not. Having the Guardians of the Galaxy basically address me by saying “oh yeah, make sure that guys lives, he’s super important” is not exactly my favourite type of storytelling.

And then there’s the plot jumps. Okay, it wasn’t the worst, but it could have been used so much better. Rather than have “meanwhile, back at the ranch” type of breaks between areas of the corps war, we could have one plot developing along one narrative line. I felt like I kept getting pulled back like a little kid trying to tell you a joke he once heard at recess. “Oh yeah, and so he was all like ‘bllaaaah’ and, oh yeah, I should have said that he was a vampire, and then, there was this rabbit, did I mention is was happening at the north pole?” etc. etc. I appreciate getting more of the story, but the result felt scattered and pulled me out of the narrative flow a bit too jarringly, only to jump back to finish up the last story. Couldn’t these have been handled in separate books without damaging either narrative?

So, anyway, that’s it for me and event comics for a little while.

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