Thursday, July 26, 2012

Two #11s from Geoff Johns

Aquaman #11 (DC Comics) This month's issue of the Geoff Johns-written, Ivan Reis-penciled Aquaman has almost as many inkers credited as you average issue of Green Lantern. That's perhaps because so much time was spent drawing shadows and details on splash pages of an ancient Atlantean throne room, which Johns inserts at least two of into his script.

His usage of splash pages on 20-page books—down, remember, from 22-page books in order to save on the cost of production—has long been frustrating, but here it is downright perplexing. There are three full-page splashes, and one two-page splash, which accounts for 1/4 of the page count devoted to just four-panels.

The panels chosen for the splash treatment aren't even significant to the story, necessarily; one could see the logic of choosing them were the things they revealed new or original to the story, but that is not the case. The first splash is the first page, showing Aquaman and The Others entering the aforementioned throneroom. The double-page is another image of the same room, only a bigger image of it, showing Black Manta and his men standing around in it, searaching for something. And the climactic splash page is a third image of the throne room, or, actually, maybe a second throne room connected to the first; it looks the exact same, and there's no indication that the characters have moved from one room to the next, but the figures in the statuary have changed.

The remaining splash page is used for the "first appearance" of one of The Others, the members of the retconned, pre-Justice League super-team Aquaman was a part of, but it's just his first appearance in this particular issue—we've seen him on covers and flashback scenes in previous issues—and he's not doing anything particular unusual or demanding of an entire page to get across or emphasize. He's just showing up. It would be like if they were doing doing a comic book about your life, and you got a splash page depicting your entrance into work.

Green Lantern #11 (DC) And speaking of Green Lantern and it's many inkers, this particular issue has five—count 'em!—five different guys inking Mahnke's pencils, including Mahnke himself and four other dudes, which works out to four pages per inker. To their credit (and Mahnke's, and colorists Tony Avina and Alex Sinclair), it's not readily apparent from the art itself that there's any problem with the production.

This particular issue isn't terribly eventful, as it mainly follows Green Lantern Hal Jordan and his frenemy Sinestro talking about what happened in the previous story arc, and the newly re-Black Lantern-ized Black Hand using his dead-raising powers to eat Chinese food with the reanimated corpses of his dead family.

Near the climax, there's a moment where our heroes see a jumble of images, granted to them by contact with a book of prophecy, and readers get a series of "previews" of upcoming Green Lantern events, as Johns has been doing in many of his books for several years now (Red Lantern Kyle Rayner! Atrocitus leading The Manhunters! Guy Gardner in jail, and sad! Black, Arabic-tattooed, gun-wielding ski mask Green Lantern! Et cetera!).

What most interested me about the issue is the reference in passing to Jordan, Sinestro and Indigo's plan to save the Green Lantern Corps and the universe. If I understood the explanation correctly, they are apparently going to forge purple "Indigo Tribe" rings for the Guardians of the Universe, and then forcibly stick 'em on the little blue tyrants' fingers, which would kinda sorta force 'em to feel "compassion," but it would in actuality brainwash them into being mindless, compliant guys in tribal body paint who say "Nok" in every sentence.

This is...strange. Because the just-concluded story arc was all about Jordan's struggling to free his archenemy from the influence of the Indigo brainwash ring. So Hal's plan is to inflict his bosses—who, to be fair, are a bunch of assholes who have inadvertently caused about 95% of the conflicts Geoff Johns has written about since he took over the GL franchise in 2005—with a fate he thinks is too cruel for his worst enemy, Space Hitler.

That is kinda strange, isn't it...? It's not just me...?

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Well, when you put it THAT way...!

Right now, I am so pissed at the Guardians, that I think having them turned into little blue Compassion Zombies would be JUST the thing for them! Not forever, mind you...a couple of millenia maybe.

I'm beginning to sympathize with Krona a lot more than I used to!