PURVIEW: Green Lantern

17 07 2009
The future looks bright for Green Lantern fans.

The future looks bright for Green Lantern fans.

It’s a good time to be a Green Lantern fan. Just this week it was announced that Ryan Reynolds will be donning spandex as Hal Jordan in the live-action adaptation set to begin production next January. In two weeks, an animated film, produced by Bruce Timm (the guy who delivered Batman: The Animated Series from 1992 to 1995), is set to be released. And this past Wednesday saw the publication of Blackest Night, the eight-issue crossover event from DC Comics that features the Emerald Knight.

Although I can’t say that I’m breathless with excitement (I’m no pubescent Twilight fan after all), I am anticipating good things in the months to come.

In addition to Ryan Reynolds starring, it has been reported (at Variety.com and elsewhere on the web) that Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, GoldenEye) will direct. The dude’s rebooted the James Bond franchise twice; I think he’s more than suited to the task of translating Green Lantern to film.

Marc Guggenheim and Michael Green have been assigned the duty (privilege?) of scripting the movie. Neither is unfamiliar with comic book narrative: Guggenheim currently writes Amazing Spider-Man; Green is a regular contributor to Superman/Batman.

Moreover, neither is unfamiliar with film narrative: Green is the creator of Kings, a modern-day interpretation of the Biblical story of King David (although NBC has recently cancelled it). Guggenheim is the co-creator of Eli Stone along with Greg Berlanti (a producer on Green Lantern).

It’s too early to spread rumors or cast aspersions, but that won’t stop fanboys. Empire Online posits potential casting for Carol Ferris, Jordan’s boss and love interest: Rose Byrne, an Australian actress (28 Weeks Later). It even presupposes a villain: Hector Hammond, a former consultant to Ferris who (after exposure to cosmic radiation, natch) turns into a telepathic terror.

The animated film is much more simply summarized (it’s already complete), and is what you’d expect: an origin story. Jordan is recruited into the Green Lantern Corps and placed under the supervision of Sinestro, an esteemed member of the Corps. When Jordan discovers that Sinestro might be involved in conspiratorial shenanigans, he must act quickly to restore justice to the galaxy.

Green Lantern: First Flight is the latest (fifth!) in the series of direct-to-video features produced by Warner Premiere (a subsidiary of Warner Bros), and is directed by Lauren Montgomery, who also helmed the preceding feature, Wonder Woman.

Blackest Night is the crossover event of the summer, which means nothing to most people, but much to fanboys. The story (whose plot elements have been building for several months) concerns the emergence of William Hand (formerly a minor villain among Green Lantern’s rogues gallery) as the herald of Death. Given powers to resurrect the dead and warp their desires to match his, Hand leads (predictably) the Black Lantern Corps.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Silver Age Green Lantern, an occasion to be celebrated at Comic-Con International in San Diego next weekend. Yours truly will not be attending, for it has sold out. Nevertheless, my spirits remain high for my favorite superhero, but my expectations are guarded.

[update] GamesBeat is reporting that an official video game tie-in has been greenlit (no pun intended). Double Helix is producing the game (the first to feature Green Lantern). The studio (a division of Foundation 9) is no stranger to adapting film properties; it has recently released games based on The Golden Compass, The Matrix, The DaVinci Code, and Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Blackest Night #1 is available now ($3.99).

Green Lantern: First Flight is scheduled to be released on 28 July 2009

Green Lantern is scheduled to be released on 17 June 2011.


REVIEW [Comics]: Power Up

15 07 2009
What if life came with power ups?

What if life came with power ups?

From the creator of Earthworm Jim comes this [autobio]graphic[al?] novel about the life of lowly retail employee Hugh [Randolph] and his dream of creating “the world’s greatest video-game!”

Hugh is frustrated with complacency, but reluctant to take chances and possibly improve his situation. His best friend and co-worker, Doyle, on the other hand, is content to trot along the path of least resistance, or, as Doyle’s boss puts it, “Doyle … will never advance.”

Moreover, Doyle’s deranged: as the duo drive to work, he pretends to consume pedestrians with his “Pac-Man hand” (“wocka-wocka-wocka”).

So what draws together this unevenly matched pair? Their love of playing and designing video-games, of course! And, in only a minor contrivance, Hugh stumbles across an antiquated game system at a yard sale. Soon, he discovers that the game is capable of bestowing powers upon him: “invisible shields,” a “continue flag,” and “boots of speed” (among others that any gamer/reader will surely recognize and appreciate).

As Hugh begins to activate such powers and improve his life (and, he hopes, the lives of his wife and son), he discovers that he should have been careful about his reach exceeding his grasp.

The story’s strongest elements belong to Hugh, who experiences his powers as would any other developing superhero: by trial-and-error, often with humorous results (Hugh’s thwarting of an attempted armed robbery is particularly funny).

Unfortunately, a sub-plot concerning Hugh’s strained relationship with his son is never really resolved and the plot’s conclusion is a literary “cheat” in the mode of many stories concerning wish fulfillment (but I’ve probably said too much already).

From a technical standpoint, TenNapel’s work is solid: each page possesses a simple layout, which serves the artist’s bold line-art and precise comic timing. Barker’s lettering is a great complement to the work as it functions in both a dynamic and loose way (the sound effects are particularly evocative).

Power Up is available from Image Comics, Inc. ($12.99)