Bottom of the Pile: May 16, 2018 – Green Lanterns, Justice League: No Justice, MMPR, The Mighty Thor: At The Gates Of Valhalla

by Sage Ashford

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Green Lanterns #47
“Ghosts of the Past: Long Road Home”
Writer: Tim Seeley
Penciller: V. Ken Marion
Inker: Sandu Florea
Colorist: Dinei Ribeiro

If you haven’t been keeping up with Green Lanterns, our most recent story is one where Jessica Cruz gets trapped in her own memories thanks to a villain known as Singularity Jain, a cross between a demon, a black hole, and a lawyer. (So I guess just a demon and a black hole.) She offers Jessica the opportunity to finally break from her mental block that’s kept her from seeing the people who murdered her friends, but in doing so it’ll unlock a darker, more vengeance-obsessed side of her. Unable to resist the opportunity and finally put her past in the past, Jessica gives in and winds up powering Jain. She gets so strong she becomes able to suck the rest of the League inside of her, forcing them to deal with their own emotional weaknesses.

With that, it makes sense Bruce and Barry are focused on the deaths of their loved ones, that Cyborg is frustrated at the loss of his humanity, and Wonder Woman can’t see her mother or family ever again. …But uhm. So, Superman’s emotional weakness…is Kryptonite? Not that he might not be good enough to save his family or the world, but…just that one day someone might smack him upside the head with K-Rock. Wow, what a conceited jerk.

Seriously, all jokes aside, “Ghosts of the Past” was a solid story arc from Tim Seeley, delving into the emotional connection present between Jessica and Simon and how their friendship has helped make the both of them into better, stronger people. It almost feels like this book is winding down, as it goes all the way back to Hal Jordan leaving them just a single Lantern and forcing them to charge their rings at the same time in the hopes they would improve faster if they were made to work together. As rumors arise about the DC Universe as we know it “changing forever” again, it wouldn’t shock me if we weren’t too far from an ending given how this particular story developed.

But we’re not there yet, and Tim Seeley, Ronan Cliquet, and V. Ken Marion already seem to have another story loaded up. Jess’s sassy GL ring has been acting kinda weird…mainly because it’s not supposed to be sassy at all. But as it turns out, it’s been her willpower that’s rewritten the code inside the ring, giving it a personality of its own. Even though this is a cool idea, it’s something of a no-no for the Corps, so in two weeks we see One True Green Lantern (and professional Captain Kirk impersonator) Hal Jordan pop back up to confiscate her ring.  Uh-oh!

Justice League: No Justice #2
Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson
Artists: Francis Manapul and Marcus To

It’s hard not to see the similarities in what’s happening with the Avengers and the Justice League right now. The Final Host vs. the Omega Titans was the big deal a couple weeks ago, but now No Justice has the same plot point as No Surrender, where the majority of the hero population is trapped in stasis while the rest deal with a cosmic threat that would otherwise get steamrolled by the sheer army of heroes out there.

I kind of like this more than No Surrender at the moment though, mostly because with only four issues it’s forced to get to the point a lot faster. This week, our teams are trapped on Colu, trying to repel the Omega Titans without the help of Brainiac, who’s mind exploded after Amanda Waller tried to steal information from him. They split into their assigned teams and start trying to awaken the missing aspects of Colu since the power of Wisdom has taken over the sources of Entropy, Mystery, and Wonder. We’re only half way through, but a savvy reader can already pick out what’s clearly going to stick around once this story’s already over.

Lex Luthor’s change back to villainy makes itself plain in the speech he gives to Beast Boy: “Entropy isn’t evil, boy! It’s the natural decay of things.  It’s pathology.” An interview with Snyder on his upcoming Justice League run talked about how Lex would look to Joker as a guide for his future actions once the Legion of Doom is formed, and with dialogue like this it starts to line up. I’ll miss arrogant, “I’ll be a better Superman than Superman” Lex, but we got a sizable dose of it during Jurgens’ run, so some change might not be a bad thing.

Elsewhere, the team of Wonder runs into countless planets captured in the service of avoiding Brainiac’s wrath. I wouldn’t be surprised if this tied into the re-reveal of the Legion, down the line.  But it’d be even cooler if it meant some kind of story developing DC’s cosmic side a bit more.

There are some other great moments to love here as well. Starro’s gone from a generic villain to a hilariously cocky villain who drops puns and probably wouldn’t be that bad a person to hang out with…if he weren’t obsessed with controlling everyone’s minds. Plus, watching Amanda Waller realize she’s the reason the Earth is currently staring at an Omega Titan is priceless.

Ultimately, No Justice is worth every penny, especially when they’ve got Francis Manapul and Marcus To on art duties. These guys are two of the most talented artists working in the industry today, and if someone told me they got this book for the art alone and didn’t even care what the story was, I’d believe them.  (The story is still fun, though!)

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers #27
“Shattered Grid”
Written By: Kyle Higgins
Illustrated By: Daniele Di Nicuolo

Shattered Grid continues on, as the Rangers learn there’s a way to fight back against the Black Dragon Cannons capable of disrupting their connection to the Morphing Grid. Jason and Lauren (of Power Rangers Samurai) travel to the group of Rangers who’ve managed to figure this out–the RPM team and their scientist, Doctor K–and while on the way they get to discuss the insanity of life as a Power Ranger.

There are a lot of great moments in this book plotwise, but I think this is easily my favorite. As a fan of the source material where Power Rangers comes from, it can be hard for me not to be an elitist over how much better I think Super Sentai is. But one thing I’ve always thought Power Rangers had over it’s Eastern cousin is it’s continuity between series. Sentai has been kind of disrespectful with its continuity over the years–it matters when they say it matters, and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It’s been more present lately with the “10 Year Later” DVDs and having characters crossover like the Dekaranger did in last season’s space-centered Kyuurangers, but that’s definitely a recent thing.

But for Power Rangers, there’s always been the suggestion that it’s a contiguous universe, with characters from past seasons crossing over into future ones frequently–especially in the first half of its history. Hopefully once we’re done with Shattered Grid, Kyle Higgins (or whoever’s doing the Power Rangers going forward) leans into that. There’s so much potential in allowing the Rangers of different teams to work together on different missions, feeling more like an army instead of groups of teenagers thrown at massive empires and expected to save the world all by themselves.

The Mighty Thor – At the Gates of Valhalla #1
“The Tomorrow Girls” & “The Lord of the Realms”
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Jen Bartel & Ramon Perez
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson

I was under the impression “At the Gates of Valhalla” would be a meaningless one-shot that just told some one off stories and had no relevance to whatever Jason Aaron was doing. And, I was partially right.  You don’t need to read “At the Gates of Valhalla”. But you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t.

Beautifully illustrated by Jen Bartel, “The Tomorrow Girls” sees the Granddaughters of Thor traveling back in time specifically to meet the woman who inspired them to be heroes just as much as their grandfather has. They land in several “wrong” spots while working their way through the past–landing in Viking Thor’s era, then the twenty-sixth century where they meet a Thor who isn’t even their father (reminding us Jane isn’t the first and won’t be the last time Thor’s hammer goes to someone else), before finally running into Jane after she was forced to give up her hammer in order to finish chemotherapy.

Though their encounter with Jane is all too brief, it stands as a firm counter to all the people who believe Jane’s time as Thor will be quickly forgotten….and a hint that she isn’t done with her adventure days just yet. There were rumors that Jane Thor would return even once the Odinson took his rightful place as Thor once again, and now those rumors are seemingly proving themselves to be true. Now whether Jane will get her own mini-series or simply join Thor in the main title, one thing is certain: Thor is going to need all the help he can get. The flip side of this one-shot, “The Lord of the Realms” is much more forward thinking, showing the dark elf lord Malekith travel through the realms and enjoying the carnage he’s created since he took control over the dark elf lands. Things get twisted in a way that would make even the Joker cringe, and reminded me Thor 2 had no excuse for being the worst Marvel film when it had a villain this good.

See you in seven.

Sage Ashford

A writer with way too many hobbies, Sage can often be found catching up on the latest anime, or reading a stack of comics between Wednesdays and Thursdays.

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