Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1

Tales of the <i> <ul>Corpse</ul> <p>: get it?</i>

Tales of the Corpse: get it?

“Tales of the Blue Lantern: Saint Walker”
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jerry Ordway
Colorist: Hi-Fi
Cover Artists: Ed Benes, Rob Hunter & Nei Ruffino
Variant Cover Artists: Dave Gibbons & Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
“Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Mongul: For Your Love”
Author: Peter J. Tomasi
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: John Kalisz
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Adam Schlagman
“Tales of the Indigo Tribe”
Author: Geoff Johns
Artist: Rags Morales
Colorist: Nei Ruffino
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman

When I read a somewhat negative review of Tales of the Corps this week, I couldn’t wait to disagree with it.  Turns out I got my wish.  I heartily recommend this book to Green Lantern fans, Alan Moore fans, and anyone who wants to read three entertaining stories within 25 pages.  It’s not ‘important’ per se, but it *is* entertaining, and it does flesh out the major players in this War of Light; something that I felt had been glossed over in a rush to get to Blackest Night.

The first story is also the strongest story, which opens where Green Lantern #42 left off.  Saint Walker and the Blue Lanterns are fending off an attack from Larfleeze, also known as Agent Orange, on their spiritual homeworld of Odym.  The opening page is a striking collision of blue and orange, and Jerry Ordway’s clean linework and figure depictions are the best I’ve seen from him in a long time.  In fact, I’d like to see future Green Lantern stories drawn by Ordway based on what I’ve seen here.  In these dire moments, Saint Walker’s life flashes before his eyes, and we get to see his journey to Blue Lanterndom.  I’ve always wondered about Walker’s sainthood, and this story really brings those religious aspects to the forefront.  As you’d expect, this is a story of hope against all adversity.  What you might not expect is the moving tale of a man who clings to Hope despite losing everything.  Saint Walker is a proverbial Job, on a dangerous pilgrimage to save his planet and his people.  Saint Walker emerges as so much more than a one-dimensional Polyanna do-gooder; he becomes an undeniable Beacon of Light – an Andy Dufresne, if you will – a hero for the weak and oppressed.  I’m laying on the superlatives, but the quintessential Blue Lantern has easily become my favourite character in this event; there’s something so refreshing about his Definite Goodness in this time where the Green Lanterns are mired in so much grey.  He reminds me of Optimus Prime; an incorruptible force for Good, who’ll fight to the end for all of us.  Look, just buy the book on the strength of this story alone, okay?

On the flipside, Peter Tomasi dabbles in some black humour, as he’s in the habit of doing.  If you’ve read his Black Adam miniseries, you’ll understand why; if not, allow me to spell it out for you: he’s damn good at it.  His track record with Mongul is also sterling, so the result here is to be expected.  This tale of Mongul’s warped childhood is simultaneously harrowing and amusing.  Chris Samnee’s art is rather simplistic, but well-suited to this “kid’s story” nonetheless.  A young Mongul is bored while his father (also Mongul) is out conquering and subjugating.  He watches some of his father’s exploits on “TV”, fantasising about what it would be like to be his father.  So he dresses up in his father’s gear and plays outside with the skeletons.  Pretty soon he gets exactly what he wished for, but just you wait until dad gets home…

The third and final story is a telling exposition of the heretofore mysterious nature of the Indigo Tribe.  Their untranslated speech gives off the feeling of a foreign film, as Geoff Johns allows the beautiful artwork of Rags Morales to tell the story.  Contrary to what its detractors may tell you, this issue reveals quite a bit about the Tribe’s motivations, and the nature of their powers.  You may not know the names of their people or their planet, but by the end you’ll be asking yourself, “what’s in a name, really?

There’s a lot of variety in the breadth of these stories, and all in all, it’s a very entertaining romp through Geoff Johns’ “emotional spectrum”.  If you miss Alan Moore’s Tales of the Green Lantern Corps, you’re in luck; because you’ve just found its spiritual successor.

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One Response to “Blackest Night: Tales of the Corps #1”

  1. […] Like the first issue, the opening story is by far the strongest.  “Fly Away” tells the tale of angelic beauty, Princess Bleez, and how she comes to embrace the rage of the Red Lantern Corps.  I wasn’t being flowery when I used the word ‘angelic’ either, Bleez has wings – with feathers – and Johns uses these as a simple narrative device to tell a story of freedom yearned for and ultimately, lost.  Eddy Barrows’ pencils are breathtaking, especially in depicting Bleez and her home planet, Havania.  It just goes to show that when given a full story to work with, Barrows absolutely shines (not that that was ever in doubt in the first place).  It’s not just the beautiful vistas he excels in either; his penchant for gritty, horror-inspired visuals is also on display here.  Credit must also go to Nei Ruffino, whose colours went a long way toward evoking the beauty of Bleez and her planet homeland.  All of this beauty – Bleez’s soft, metallic skin and Havania’s crystalline waterfalls – lends the story a great deal of its power when the Sinestro Corps come to strip it all away.  It’s interesting that Bleez’s turn as a Red Lantern owes more to the Sinestro Corps than it does the Red Lanterns themselves. […]

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