Thursday, August 16, 2012

Paul's Picks! - August 15, 2012

Well, it's that time again folks: Wednesday! And you know what Wednesday is?... Well, of course you do, you're reading a blog about comics, so you obviously know it's New Comics Day, a.k.a. Paul's favorite weekly holiday! And now for his much-anticipated pick-of-the-week...

New Comics Day came, and I'm back to share with all of you my thoughts about the one book that arose victorious as Paul's Pick! This was one of the tougher weeks I've had in a while, as there were more than 3 books that were easily deserving of a "Pick." But don't worry, I'm here to make all of the tough decisions that must be made. All the books can't win, just one book (ok, so maybe I've split it in the past, but you get the point). And so, in a very interesting turn of events, my Pick of the Week goes to...

Green Lantern #12 by Geoff Johns and Renato Guedes

To say that I've had some mixed feelings about this book since the relaunch would be an understatement, and my partner-in-crime (Seth) certainly hasn't tried to hide his disdain for the fact that Johns has seemingly been going down similar paths that he already set in the past. Some (myself included) long for the days when Hal Jordan was off fighting the man-shark or Hector Hammond, rather than teaming up with the many different Lantern Corps in order to defeat some universe-wide threat that could destroy all of existence. Don't get me wrong, a few years ago I was completely blown away by these new Corps, but even I can't deny that it's time for something different. I certainly believe that there are more stories to be told with the whole Lantern spectrum, but I believe readers may be ready for a break. And that's kind of what we're being promised with the "Third Army" coming up, but then again, we don't really know what to expect from that, do we? So the question is, if Geoff insists on remaining focused on these characters and telling these kinds of stories, can he do so in a way that is going to not only interest the new reader, but appease and hook the long time fan? I believe that the Black Hand is one of the most interesting and scary villains from the DCU, but isn't there something new and exciting to be done with him rather than the same-old-same-old?

I'm glad you asked. Yes, there is. Don't believe me? Go grab issue 12. The whole issue felt refreshing to me. As a long time reader, I've been on this title since Johns brought Hal back with "Rebirth." In a lot of ways, this issue seemed like an average, run of the mill superhero story, but before long I got the picture that there was something different going on, something a little bit fishy. Oh boy, was I so right. I don't want to spoil it for those of you who may not have gotten to read this yet and intend to, but the hook to this issue rocked me. It stuck its hand all up in  my brain and twisted things around. I don't know where we're going with this, and I don't know how Johns is going to take us there. But I was just reminded very plainly of how good Geoff is at setting up a story and maintaining multiple parts. Does anyone remember Infinite Crisis? Blackest Night? If there is one thing we know for certain, it's that this guy knows how to make a big story cohesive and exciting.

And that's just it: I'm excited! I've been hearing about the Third Army for months now. I'm aware that it's all starting up over the next couple of months, and I am also aware of the fact that it's somehow tied directly into setting up the Trinity War (DC's next big event coming in 2013). But the fact of the matter is, I just haven't been excited. But now I am, and all it took was a hint at something different. Maybe not totally new, maybe nothing world-breaking, but something unexpected. For a comic to rise above its peers, it has to do the unexpected, it has to grab you and make you wonder and question things. Well, Geoff, you did just that. 

As I'm sure some of you have noticed, Doug Mahnke stepped off of art duties for this month, leaving a gap to be filled by the prolific and talented Renato Guedes. Some of you may know him for his recent work across the street at Marvel. As a matter of fact, he drew some of the best tie-ins to come out of AvX over on Secret Avengers. So imagine my surprise to find him over here at the other side, crafting such an important issue as this. His take on these characters felt so different and yet so familiar that I can't help but wish he had a few more issues to try his hand out in this world. His work is beautifully done, making this one of those rare but sweet occasions where you don't mind the "fill in" so much.

As if all of this wasn't enough, there's one more thing I feel the need to mention. Many of DC's books are ending with cliffhangers this month (undoubtedly due to the fact that we will have to wait two months for their conclusions, due to Zero Month in September), but we won't have to wait two months for a conclusion to this story. We will get the conclusion, as well as the beginning of the Third Army event via the oversized Green Lantern Annual #1, by Johns and, wait for it... Ethan Van Sciver. The same team who returned Hal Jordan to us all those years ago are teaming up to bring us the conclusion to Black Hand's revenge, and I can't wait. For the first time in a while, I am incredibly excited for what is coming from Green Lantern.

That does it for my Pick this week. Agree? Disagree? Feel free to shoot me a response on twitter directly @jollygreen05, or at the site @AncillaryTweets.

**ALSO, if you haven't read Wonder Woman #12 by Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang? Go. Do it. Now. The hook will hook you so hard...

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