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AICN COMICS SHOOT THE MESSENGER: Q&@ w R.E.B.E.L.S.' Tony Bedard! Spinner Rack previews GLC & HAVOC BRIGADE!

@@@@ Q & @ with R.E.B.E.L.S.’ Tony Bedard + preview! @@@@ Spinner Rack To the Future previews GREEN LANTERN CORPS & NEAL MARSHALL STEVENS’ HAVOC BRIGADE! @@@@


Well, AICN COMICS: SHOOT THE MESSENGER is your weekly one stop shop for comic book -EWS. What’s comic book -EWS? Well, it’s our hodge podge of everything not reviews here at AICN Comics. Sure you can find out the @$$Holes’ critical opinions of your favorite books every Wednesday at AICN Comics. But here, you’ll find special reports such as previews, interviews, special features, and occasionally news gathered here from our online brethren at Newsarama, CBR, Wizard, etc. Sure those guys are the best at reporting news as it breaks. Click on the links for the original stories. This column cuts the crap to run down all the vital information for those of you who don’t follow it as it comes in, and serves it all up with that special ingredient of @$$y goodness.

Welcome to another AICN Comics Q & @, folks. Ambush Bug here. A lot of people know about the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES. There’s been one version or another of the series in print for decades. But I’m betting a lesser number read the adventures of the modern day L.E.G.I.O.N. back in the early nineties. Keith Giffen brought his brand of super-hero bickering out of the Hall of Justice and into space as he followed Vril Dox (Brainiac 2), Lobo, Captain Comet, and a ship full of other aliens as they fought interstellar threats when they weren’t trying to kill each other. Writer Tony Bedard remembers that awesome series and apparently liked it so much he decided to bring Vril and an all new crew back with R.E.B.E.L.S., a new ongoing series set to debut from DC on February 11th. I had a chance to ask Mr. Bedard a few questions about the upcoming series. Take it away, me:
AMBUSH BUG (BUG): So I just got a chance to finish the first issue of R.E.B.E.L.S. and I have to say it was a hell of a fun read. I remember reading Keith Giffen’s original series as a kid and I found it to be one of the cooler comic books of my youth. But I’m sure there are a lot of folks out there you have never heard of the concept of R.E.B.E.L.S. and/or L.E.G.I.O.N. Care to fill them in on what this new comic is all about?

TONY BEDARD (TB): In the original L.E.G.I.O.N. series, Vril Dox, the “son” of Brainiac, put together an interstellar police force reminiscent of the Legion of Super-Heroes. But unlike the Legion’s Brainiac 5, Dox is completely ruthless and Machiavellian – a total bastard. And unlike the Legion, or the Green Lantern Corps, L.E.G.I.O.N. is a mercenary operation, charging top dollar for its good deeds. Over the years, Dox has grown rich and fired all his live cops, replacing them with robot peacekeepers who never question orders.
As we open R.E.B.E.L.S., someone has taken over Dox’s robo-cops and Dox is running for his life. As he puts together a new team, he’s going to find that his mysterious enemy is an order of magnitude beyond anything he’s ever faced.
Now, if you’ve never read an issue of L.E.G.I.O.N., or LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, don’t worry. R.E.B.E.L.S. #1 is really a good jumping-on point. Most of the characters Brainiac 2 recruits are new, and you can just enjoy it as a mile-a-minute, hard-edged adventure from Earth to the outer reaches of the DC Universe. But for fans of the previous series, there are plenty of “Easter eggs” and familiar sights to get your geek on.

BUG: Vril Dox has always been a fascinating character to me, but he hasn’t been utilized in the DCU for quite a while aside from some of the Rann-Thanagar War stuff that has happened in the last few years. Where has Vril been since the end of the last R.E.B.E.L.S. series and how will the events in Starlin’s RANN-THANAGAR WAR miniseries fit into this story?

TB: Basically, Vril Dox has been quietly expanding his clientele. In ADAM STRANGE: PLANET HEIST, he’d relocated his headquarters to Maltus, the most populated planet in the galaxy. He’s contracted his services to over 80 worlds. He’s a major player in the Vega Sector, where the Green Lanterns don’t patrol. He’s also alienated all his old teammates, not that he gives a damn about their feelings. The closest thing to a companion he has is his living computer, Silica, introduced in the last OMEGA MEN series.
The events of RANN-THANAGAR don’t really affect what happens in R.E.B.E.L.S. Starlin and I discussed crossing over (I’m a big fan of his), but we finally determined that we’re both better off just focusing on our separate tales.
In any case, I’ve been dying to sink my claws into Vril Dox since I came to DC. He’s an incredible antihero – it’s like writing Lex Luthor as a good guy, or like writing Batman, without the warm, fuzzy side. There’s nothing he won’t do to achieve his goals, so you never know what’s going to happen when he’s involved.

BUG: One of the things that separated the Legion of Super-Heroes from L.E.G.I.O.N., aside from the fact that one was set in the future and the other in present day, was the fact that Vril Dox’s team was a sort of “un-team”; just a bunch of aliens stuck together in a spaceship rather than a unified group with a purpose. Will that sense of un-unity carry over to this new series?

TB: Yeah, without giving too much away, Dox is given the blueprint for building the perfect team…and immediately scraps it in favor of his own leaner, meaner version. But as he gathers his strike team, a major calamity forces him to take on teammates he never dreamed of working with. The end result will be a gang of strange bedfellows akin to BLAKES 7, or FARSCAPE or FIREFLY…or a book I used to write for CrossGen called NEGATION. They don’t trust each other and they know that blindly following Dox is a good way to end up dead. But they also have to work around their differences to save their homeworlds and the rest of the galaxy.

BUG: The book is titled R.E.B.E.L.S. instead of L.E.G.I.O.N. In the previous series, the book started out as L.E.G.I.O.N. then was relaunched as R.E.B.E.L.S. Why the reversal of names this time around?

TB: The original series began with Dox in control of his organization, and only changed titles to R.E.B.E.L.S. when Dox’s evil son took over L.E.G.I.O.N. This time around, we begin with Dox on the run, having to fight an insurgency against his own robo-troopers and the mysterious foe who stole them. So it’s R.E.B.E.L.S. for the foreseeable future, and if Dox wins back his command, who knows? Maybe then we’ll switch to L.E.G.I.O.N.
But there’s another reason we’re going with R.E.B.E.L.S. We want to stress that this book is not yet another alternate version of the Legion of Super-Heroes. This book has a lot for Legion fans to love, but it is its own animal. It’s not as bright at LEGION, and it’s not as noble as GREEN LANTERN. It’s a darker, grittier kind of space opera, with a wicked sense of humor and a high bodycount.

BUG: What does R.E.B.E.L.S. stand for?

TB: Well, it used to stand for Revolutionary Elite Brigade to Eradicate L.E.G.I.O.N. Supremacy. That’s right: an acronym within an acronym. The ol’ creative team must’ve been smoking some pretty good stuff when they came up with that one. This time around, I’m not bothering with explaining the title too much. Maybe that’ll puzzle a reader or two, but I think it’s all pretty self-explanatory. Dox and company are fightin’ the power. They’re building a rebellion. That’s all you really gotta know.

BUG: I see Tigorr makes an appearance in this first issue. How do the Omega Men fit into this story?

TB: They’ll actually play a bigger and bigger part as the saga unfolds. The Omega Men started out as cosmic freedom fighters and ended up more as space outlaws/smugglers/pirates. Now Tigorr, Broot, Darkfire, Doc and Elu are gonna get back to fighting the good fight…whether they like it or not.

BUG: There doesn’t seem to be a set roster by the first issue; just a bunch of characters set on a collision course for each other. Who will we be expecting to show up in this book as either adversaries or team members in upcoming issues? Will we be seeing Lady Quark? Captain Comet? Valor?

TB: No plans for Lady Quark, though I liked her quite a bit. Sort of a cosmic Susan Powter. If she shows up, rest assured she’ll scream, “Stop the insanity!” And I’d love to use Comet, but he’s in Starlin’s upcoming STRANGE ADVENTURES series, so he’s in good hands. I don’t think “Valor” is still in continuity, but I did want to use Mon-El. God, I love Mon-El. It’s the puffy sleeves. Anyhow, he’s playing a big part in the Superman saga currently (or at least there were plans for him that I don’t want to get in the way of).
From the original series, we’ll see Strata return. She’s the crystalline bruiser from the same planet as the Legionnaire, Blok. Aside from her, all the characters are new, and getting to know them as Dox builds his team is most of the fun.

BUG: With his recent reappearance in the REIGN IN HELL miniseries, will we be seeing L.E.G.I.O.N. mainstay Lobo in this new series?

TB: Of all the characters I’ve been pining and begging for, Lobo’s at the top of the list. Alas, he’s not been handed over to me…yet. But I think he belongs back in L.E.G.I.O.N., so let me keep working on it.

BUG: Will Vril and Supergirl’s relationship be a key part of this series or just this first issue? There seems to be an awful lot of things unsaid between the two of them.

TB: They play off each other so well because they’re such polar opposites. He needs her because of her previous connection to the Legion of Super-Heroes, and she plays a big part as the adventure begins, but events will soon move beyond Earth.

BUG: Tell me a little bit about the art. The black and white pics of Andy Clarke’s work are pretty amazing. How’d you luck into him as an artist?

TB: When I was developing the series with DC Editor Mike Marts, he suggested Andy, who is on contract with DC but hadn’t really settled into an ongoing assignment. I remembered a couple of DETECTIVE COMICS issues he did with my pal Stuart Moore, which were impressive, but I had no idea just how good Andy is. I owe Marts, big-time! Andy’s a friggin’ revelation! He’s like Brian Bolland, Travis Charest and Frank Quitely all rolled into one. If there’s one sure thing that’ll come from R.E.B.E.L.S., it’s that Andy is about to become a major star with readers in the U.S. (he’s been doing 2000 A.D. stuff in the U.K. for years).

BUG: Vril’s somewhat Nazi-like look. Can you talk a bit about that?

TB: Brainiac 2 has changed his look several times since he was introduced. The latest was a sort of long dress coat thing that looked elegant but didn’t quite carry the despotic quality I wanted to convey. So Andy designed a more militant looking uniform, though I really encouraged him to keep the jodhpurs from his previous uniform. Then we had to come up with a way to add the L.E.G.I.O.N. insignia from the original series, and I thought, “Nothing says ‘dictator’ like an armband.” I want readers to know on sight that Vril Dox isn’t the guy to call when your kitten’s stuck in a tree. He’s the guy you call when your world is being conquered by bug-eyed monsters. And then he’ll bill you for it.

BUG: There are bits here and there tying this book to the Legion of Super-Heroes. Will this continue throughout the series?

TB: There is one particular tie to the Legion at the onset of the series that influences how Dox will gather his new team, but most of the echoes of the LSH are pretty subtle in R.E.B.E.L.S. This book had its own place in the DC lineup, and it’s not a Legion spinoff.

BUG: Given the complexity of the state of the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES comic and how it ties into modern continuity, do you find it difficult to write stories which are basically supposed to be the blueprint for stories already written? (I just gave myself a headache just writing that question…)

TB: Yeah, I’m getting a headache trying to come up with the answer. I guess all I can say is that I’m six issues into writing the series already, and it’s all flowed pretty effortlessly, even when I’ve had to go back and retool the story and characters here and there. A lot of that is down to having total faith in Andy Clarke’s art. It makes all the difference as a writer if you don’t stop to wonder whether or not your artist can pull off what you have in mind.

BUG: Given the fact that continuity is a bit shaky at DC right now with all of the Crises going on, how much of L.E.G.I.O.N. and R.E.B.E.L.S. history are you using for this new story or should we just not worry about that and just enjoy it for what it is?

TB: Definitely just enjoy it. This is truly a new chapter in L.E.G.I.O.N. history, and a new team. We’ll touch on some old characters, like Strata, and perhaps revisit Dox’s son, Lyrl, and his baby-mama, Stealth, later on. But this opening chapter is new and self-explanatory.

BUG: From original pitch to final product, can you tell us about any changes made to your story in R.E.B.E.L.S. to fit into the malleable continuity of the DCU at the moment?

TB: Y’know, most series morph a bit here and there as they go through the development process, but this one might’ve set a record. I originally pitched this as “L.E.G.I.O.N.”, with Dox and Mon-El fighting Brainiac. Of course, I changed that once I found out more about Johns’s plans in ACTION COMICS (and I was glad to do so – ACTION was my favorite comic of 2008). Then I was going to incorporate Adam Strange and Captain Comet, until I learned they were already spoken for. On top of all that, several of our characters have undergone design changes on the fly as the theme and direction of R.E.B.E.L.S. took on a life of its own.
This all sounds like it could leave you pulling your hair out, but having worked on the editorial side, I’m well aware of how unpredictable publishing plans can be. This has been true at any publisher I’ve worked for, not just DC. I also know that when you have to change plans, when you’re forced out of your creative comfort zone, you can end up with something better than you started out with. So when the curveballs start coming, you have to swing for the fences. Consequently, I feel like the book has actually improved with every iteration. We’ve ended up with a tale that’s much bigger and bolder in scope than the one I first pitched. There are characters who surprise me even as I write them, and we have a major new villain who will shake up the DCU in 2009 and 2010. But I’m keeping mum about him for the time being.

BUG: These days it's pretty hard to get an ongoing series off the ground. With the market the way it is, taking a chance on an obscure space title from the early nineties sounds like a risk. Whose pockets did you have to line to get this series the ok?

TB: I suppose it might seem risky, but there hasn’t been any shortage of guts at DC Comics lately. Like ‘em or hate ‘em, this is the company that rolls the dice on gems like JONAH HEX. My feeling was that at the very least, R.E.B.E.L.S. could be a pleasant surprise like BLUE BEETLE. And at a time when cosmic books are faring pretty well at Marvel, I figured we could give DC a grittier space opera to contrast with the heroics of GREEN LANTERN.

BUG: Working with a company like DC, you're bound to have editorial restrictions, but these are some obscure characters you are working with. How much creative freedom were you given with these characters?

TB: Aside from some of the big-picture changes I’ve had to make so as not to conflict with other books, I’ve felt very free to do whatever I want with the characters in R.E.B.E.L.S. A lot of them are brand new, and I’m building them from the ground up, which is always ideal. With established characters like Batman, you have the benefit of name recognition, but you also run up against preconceived notions about that character. With new characters, they’re whoever you say they are. You can take bigger creative risks and tell better stories.

BUG: Last chance to win over new readers: why should we pick up R.E.B.E.L.S.?

TB: Aside from the fact that we are introducing a major villain who will be one of DC’s big characters to watch in 2009 (just ask Didio!), R.E.B.E.L.S. is going to launch Andy Clarke as the next major comics artist. Just check out the preview pages if you don’t believe me!

BUG: Thanks for answering these questions, Tony. And be on the look out for R.E.B.E.L.S. #1 on sale in February.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over seven years. Check out a five page preview of his short story published in MUSCLES & FIGHTS 3 (AVAILABLE NOW at Muscles & on his ComicSpace page. There you can also see a five page preview of his short story in MUSCLES & FRIGHTS! Bug was recently interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics.

This week’s Spinner Rack holds a pair of hard-hitting action books: one an interstellar space force from DC and another sci fi military unit from Studio 407.
Let’s start out with NEAL MARSHALL STEVENS’ HAVOC BRIGADE #1, about a near futuristic military unit outfitted in cyber armor. This book is written by Neal Marshall Stevens, writer of HELLRAISER: DEADER, THIRTEEN GHOSTS, and the upcoming THE AMYTIVILLE TAPES from MGM. Check out this 8 page preview.

Very cool art here from John Blanco. I’m looking forward to reading this one. It reminds me a lot of ARMORINES or H.A.R.D. CORPS, the old Valiant titles, which is a pretty big compliment in my book. Look for NEAL MARSHALL STEVENS’HAVOC BRIGADE #1 available in March from Studio 407.

Next up is a little title called GREEN LANTERN CORPS. Some of you guys may have heard of it. It ties into a little crossover coming up from DC called “The Blackest Night.” I’ve said this before, if you’re not reading this book, go away and don’t come back till you do. Some of the best comic booking in comics is happening in this and the core title GREEN LANTERN. Check out this snippet from issue #32.

See what I mean.
Just buy this book when it comes out on Wednesday.

With the wallets as tight as they are these days, what is the deciding factor for you to pick up a new comic book series? Writer? Art? Characters? How willing are you to take a chance with new creators/companies/characters?

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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 12, 2009, 7:41 a.m. CST

    first !

    by theplant


  • Jan. 12, 2009, 7:41 a.m. CST

    2nd !

    by theplant


  • Jan. 12, 2009, 7:42 a.m. CST

    DAMN you McG

    by theplant


  • Jan. 12, 2009, 7:58 a.m. CST

    deal wid it cate blanchett

    by crazybubba

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 9:11 a.m. CST


    by blackthought

    that is some good art i tell ya.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 9:54 a.m. CST

    Did R.E.B.E.L.S. issue #1 come out yet?

    by Squashua

    And I missed it?

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 10:02 a.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good!

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Wow, another ruthless neo-nazi anti-hero

    by Snookeroo

    You never see those in a comic book these days.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Well, at least the characters aren't just striking a pose

    by Snookeroo

    on the cover.<br><br>Whoops.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST

    green lantern corp.

    by sonnyhooper

    couple of things. 1) kryb is the creepiest villain in the DCU, bar none. ....and.... 2) i like kyle better than hal.....even though i know i'm not supposed to, i can't help it. the kid has personality.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 7:41 p.m. CST

    Actually, I think that Kryb is the SECOND.....

    by archer1949

    creepiest. The creepiest is Junior from Secret Six. I agree with you on Kyle vs. Hal, though.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 7:54 p.m. CST

    Disagree about Kyle vs. Hal

    by Continentalop

    To me Hal has personality. You might not like his personality, but it represents people who are members of elite groups, like SWAT teams, Fireman, SAS, Navy Seal, Special Forces or even Air Force pilots. People who have to EARN their position. Kyle is just an annoying kid representing comic book fans. He was just some kid who was in lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. <p> He is the comic book equivalent of a lazy kid finding a Air Force Pilot uniform and being allowed to fly an F-16. Not a very good idea.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Kyle is the single best Green Lantern ever.

    by SleazyG.

    He's the only one ever to have a well thought out arc from beginning to end, but they've been flailing a bit the last couple of years. Did he start out as a nobody, a half-assed kid who lucked into it and had no idea what he was doing? You bet. But then they spent several years gradually having him learn from his mistakes, change as a person, improve as a Lantern, and grow into a talented, experienced man. He became something much greater than he once was as a result of a believable, organic process. Additionally, his background in comics and graphic arts meant he tended to come up with far more interesting and unusual ring constructs than we were used to.<p> Meanwhile, every other GL ever has remained absolutley static. Hal? Sure, they tried to change him--but every single change was idiotic and worse than the next, until they had to just hit a giant reset button. But now? Sure, Hal's finally starting to learn...a little...but really, he's the same character he's always been. So's John Stewart, and so's Guy Gardner (again, lots of changes followed by a reset). All the other Lanterns are allowed some slight, gradual growth, but nobody's ever had the depth of character and consistent development Kyle has had. Which is why the way they've been spinning their wheels the last coupla years is kind of a bummer: he's Ion, but then he's not, and then he's on some space odyssey, and then he's not, but Kyle's just not getting the attention he deserves lately.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 10:08 p.m. CST

    don't get me wrong...

    by sonnyhooper

    ....i still like hal and i think he has personality. i just like kyle a little bit better. and pretty much for the reasons sleazy outlined. of course, i never read kyle in his own book so maybe that has something to do with it. kyles character development in JLA was just masterfully done by morrison (and later by waid and joe kelly) imo.

  • Jan. 12, 2009, 11:18 p.m. CST

    Kyle might be a good "character"...

    by Continentalop

    ...It’s just that he isn't a good Green Lantern. Or I should say, his character doesn't fit that of a Green Lantern. He is the same character as a Spider-Man, Human Torch, Flash (Wally West), Nova, Firestorm, the New Blue Beetle, or pretty any young superhero. He’s a young person who gets powers and learns how to use them, as well as learns the great responsibility of being a hero. That is why Raynor does nothing or me; I’ve seen his character arc before, again and again whenever some young man gets powers. It’s Spider-Man all over again – a metaphor for the Everyman getting powers, wish fulfillment for those who feel weak and helpless. Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern is a different type of wish fulfillment. Instead of being weak and helpless and somehow magically given powers, it is that we are someone strong, smart and/or tough enough to earn or win them on our own instead of being given them. It is the same type of fantasy that Batman, James Bond, John Wayne and Clint Eastwood represent. <p> Plus, what is wrong if Hal is “static”? He isn’t a newcomer or inexperienced person to the game of super heroics but an established pro. We expect green rookies in the NFL to be nervous and awestruck and unable to handle the limelight; we don’t expect 10-12 year vets to have the same problems. Same with Hal Jordan, we don’t want to watch him always sweating over every problem and unsure of himself, because that would be unrealistic. Would you expect to see an experienced fireman or cop sweat every time they were called into duty? <p> Plus, I can think of a lot of characters that don’t really change much who I consider great characters: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Phillip Marlowe, Dick Tracy, Tarzan, Columbo…Hell, even Batman. He is essentially the same character he was 70 years ago and no one is complaining.

  • Jan. 13, 2009, 4:47 a.m. CST

    but isn't that the point...

    by sonnyhooper

    ....of having a entire GL CORP? so you can have diverse "types" of GLs? sure kyle is not the "typical" GL, but thats a good thing. he breaks the mold. <p> with hal you have a ex-military man who gets "drafted". jon stewart is basically a urban hal, (black jordan?) only ex-USMC instead of the air force. and guy starts to break away a bit by being the "jerk", but in the end is still a "officer" type, basically a cop with a power ring. <p> and then you have kyle who breaks away from all of that. sure maybe he just amounts to peter parker with a power ring, but at least that is a change from everyone who came before him, so it ends up being refreshing imo.

  • Jan. 13, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Kyle was never "weak and helpless".

    by SleazyG.

    He was just a regular guy, young and unsure of where his life was heading, but he had a decent life he enjoyed. Getting the ring ripped that all away from him, trashing his personal life and killing those closest to him. He suffered a lot because of the ring, and didn't want the responsibility, but eventually grew into the role.<p> Dismissing him as being "the same character" as those you mentioned is kinda silly. I see what you mean to a certain extent, but really--how much variety is there in the world of superheroes? Shit, there's now three iterations of Wolverine and there's been half a dozen members of the Flash family--doesn't mean they're all the same, but doesn't mean they're that different, either. The real difference is in the direction the story takes and the execution of it, and Kyle has had by far the best-executed arc of any GL ever.<p> As for what's wrong with Hal remaining static--well, I like to see at least a little development and change in the characters I read. Granted, some are so iconic they can't be changed much (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) but most characters have some room for growth and change. Hal just isn't that iconic--few characters are--so it'd be nice to see him being less static. I guess I also have a problem with him because, well, his main character trait seems to be that he's a real tool. Yeah, he lost his dad, yeah, he's supposedly a maverick--but what he really comes across as is a selfish dick who never listens to anyone else (right or wrong) and is prone to punch first and think fourth. I had little problem buying his conversion to villain because, really, when did he ever put anybody else's feelings above his own? He's never felt like much of a hero or much of a character to me. Hell, sometimes I wish he was a *bigger* dick, just so he'd feel more like a "space cop" with the same attitude problems and behavioral patterns as many of the actual cops I've encountered.<p> All that said, I'll grant Geoff Johns has done a decent job of making Hal a more interesting character and adding a little depth. But it was largely early on in the series, which has now become so focused on the (grantedly kick-ass) big storylines that the Hal stuff is sidelined slightly, although there was some solid stuff in the recent origin story revamp. Hal has potential for more, but it's only recently been explored at all--unlike Kyle, where it was there from the beginning. Which is why Kyle has always been the best GL around.

  • Jan. 13, 2009, 4:21 p.m. CST

    But...but...but Kyle got such great attention...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    in 52! That was him, right? I can't remember staying awake long enough to really figure it out.

  • Jan. 13, 2009, 5:10 p.m. CST

    the problem with the GLS's...

    by sonnyhooper that with all of them kicking around the universe some end up getting th short end of the stick just because of the sheer numbers. then you have the problem of fans and writers having to diminish one to prop up another. but the truth ends up being that it's a question of personal taste. <p> for the record here is my top 5 list: <p> 5.guy 4.jon 3.hal 2.kyle <p> 1. KILAWOG <p> search your feelings and know it to be true.

  • Jan. 13, 2009, 8:15 p.m. CST

    The Hal and Kyle debate

    by NeoDevilbaneX

    I've seen this posted on the net and I agree with... much of it. --- Before beginning, I'd like to make a few things clear. One, if you don't like the Hal/Kyle debate, or posts about it, then you don't have to read this one. I happen to like the Hal/Kyle debate, because I enjoy debating things comic related and GL fans are passionate. If you don't want to read this..don't. I'm sure there are plenty of posts on each message board that you check that you don't read from disinterest...simply make this one of them. Two, I don't consider this post trolling or flame bait. I consider trolling when you say things JUST to start a fight. These are actually my feelings on the subject and someone not agreeing with them doesn't make them flame bait. It just makes them different than yours. Three, I'm going to avoid using the word "hate" because even though I know when I say I "hate" Hal I mean it more as an expression, but apparently some MB posters only speak literally and feel the need to post how it's stupid to hate a fictional character, and I literally loathe those responses. Finally...just to avoid a lot of the over used insults I get here....I'm 34 and married, and prior to marriage I always had girlfriends. That said, let me say that the reason I felt the need to write this (aside from being bored at work ) was because after over a year of posting my various feeling on the Hal/Kyle debates (actually over 10 years) I'm still often told I "just" dislike the character Hal Jordan. This isn't true. I didn't put a bunch of superhero names in a hat and decide whoever I pulled out I would dislike. I dislike Hal as a fictional character because of legitimate reasons that I've developed over decades of reading the character (including collect his book through a HUGE chunk of the 80's). They may not be your feelings about the character, but that alone doesn't negate my opinions. It is these opinions, and my knowledge of Hal's past sales, that have caused me to come up with this theory: "Hal doesn't sell well over long periods. His numbers will drop to the point of cancellation within the next few years." That's my theory. Are Hal's sales great now? Awesome! But...his return was heavily hyped and he has a writer (Geoff Johns) who could put "Brother Power the Geek" in the Top 10 for at least one issue. However, this won't last. It is like many characters that go through a period of major hype. Iron Man and Fantastic Four sold well for awhile after the "Heroes Reborn" saga, but both books dropped back to their regular numbers after the hype was over. Ka-zar sold really well...when mark Waid and Andy Kubert were on it, and then what? His numbers dropped to the numbers a Ka-zar book would normally generate. And even with both these advantages, Hal had already lost something like 54% of the books readers in its first year. That's not a leveling off. That's a drop. Granted the first issue posted high enough numbers that the book is still doing really well, but that is a BIG drop off. It lost over 2,000 readers a single month alone...a year in. Why? Again, my theory is "Hal doesn't sell". His return, the hype, the creative team, it's made people forget that for now, but that will die down eventually, and he'll be back on the verge of cancellation or having to undergo a major re-direction. Why? Because that's what always happens with Hal. Now as for why this is constantly happening to Hal...I have my theories on this too. Now before I begin posting those, you may ask why I want to post these opinions/theories on Hal. Good question. I dislike several superheroes, why post about Hal. I'll's because Hal replaced my boy Kyle as the main DCU GL. That's why I'm arguing about Hal and not Wolverine, Silver Surfer, or any of the other heroes I don't like. BUT that doesn't mean I'm JUST picking on Hal. I have legitimate reasons I don't like Hal that date back to before Kyle was created. Hal is just getting my attention because he is in my boy's seat. However I'm not making up reasons just because I like Kyle better. Anyway, as for why I feel Hal doesn't sell...I think it has to do with the fact he has no personality besides that of a generic superhero personality. To better explain this, I'm going to quote something said about Hawkman's powers from a website called "If you're a Super Friend, being able to fly is like being able to break a graham cracker along the line...Don't get me wrong. Flying is pretty cool. But if you're a super hero, it might as well be the ability to read." What 'seanbaby' is saying about Hawkman's main superpower is exactly how I see Hal's personality in a world of superheroes. To be a superhero a character must have certain traits: sense of justice, willingness to put ones self at risk, etc. After that, it is the traits the characters have BESIDES those that makes then interesting as individuals. Hal doesn't have any of these. He's a throwback to the pre-Lee/Kirby days of big chinned grinning cardboard cutout superheroes distinguishable only by their costumes and hair coloring. Nowhere is this better shown than in the much ballyhooed speech Hal gives in 'Rebirth' where he describes why he's different from the other GL's. In the speech he says how you can tell the ring constructs of the other GL's (Kyle, John, and Guy) are affected by their personalities, but not Hal's. Why? Because Hal does "just what needs to done". EXACTLY! Hal only does what a generic superhero would do BEFORE you added an actual personality to him. His ring isn't affected by his personality because there is nothing about his personality that isn't covered in the list of generic superhero traits. Oh...and then he punches Batman. That's the new way to do characterization for Hal. First over-explain things he does that all other superheroes do, then have him punch someone to stress how macho he is, despite the fact it's out of character. Look the current JLA's #1 with Roy talking about Hal. First Roy says only one person taught him to be fearless...Hal! This makes no sense. Roy grew up surrounded by superheroes, all of whom acted as brave as Hal. literally makes no sense. You can't teach someone to be fearless. You can teach them to overcome fear, sure, but teach them how to never experience it? Huh? That makes no sense. Plus, Hal was born without fear. It wasn't something he picked up. Oh, and then he threatens to fight Roy. And now Hal has been almost entirely replaced by John Stewart on JLA. And speaking of the born without fear thing, it embodies another problem with Hal as a character. He's too perfect. And by that I mean he's literally a character who is already at the end of his arc. He has nothing to achieve. He is the best GL, he is confident, he is a respected hero, he's fearless, etc. Individually, these traits can be fine, but together, and in a character who was born with them, where is Hal's arc? Where is his internal drive or conflict? Easy...he has none. He's already at the stage that usually comes at the end of a character arc. Due to this a lot of dopey things have to be done to Hal to try and make him have a personality, as perfect characters can't drive stories with their personality (or as Denny O'Neil said about Hal, he's a character that needs to write around, not written about). Currently those things are things like Hal having to deal with the judgments of his fellow heroes (i.e. Batman) and the recently found GL's for his time as Parallax...which could actually be interesting except for one thing: Hal was never Parallax. Parallax was giant yellow cockroach controlling Hal. Hal actually did NOTHING wrong (how could he? He's perfect) so it's actually those other people (Batman and the not-dead-GL's) that have something to overcome (i.e their prejudice towards Hal) and hence the ones with the actual character arcs in this tale. This is just one example of the balancing act of how to make Hal interesting without infringing upon the perfection inherent in the character, which is dealt with by him having to occasionally act uncharacteristically, like punching people out of nowhere, or acting uncharacteristically stupid as in his POW storyline. I mean, if you want to play Hal as someone who wouldn't take his ring on a test flight because it kills his buzz, fine, but not taking it on a mission where it could come in handy with helping his OTHER soldiers, that's just stupid, which is not a trait of Hal's. But again, they have to decide what they want to do with Hal first, then decide how to get him there (even if it is uncharacteristic) because perfect, flawless, fearless characters don't really drive stories. I mean, they could if they didn't have a magic wishing ring that would do whatever they want as then the conflict would be between this hero and finding a way to accomplish his goals (ala Indiana Jones), but the ring negates that, so we're left with a character with no shortcomings as a character and giant deus ex machina wrapped around his finger to negate any outer conflicts he may face. Which brings me to the mantra Geoff Jones is repeating through all his interviews about Hal...that the great thing about Hal is (unlike Batman) he doesn't plan...he just jumps right into things and then thinks his way out of it. This too could be interesting if not for, again, the fact has the power ring, so when he does think of what to's right there, and's not true. Like the teaching Roy to be fearless thing, and the Rebirth "My personality is my lack of personality" speech, this is all smoke and mirrors. Nicely written but essentially meaningless. All heroes jump into things and then figure their way out. Even Batman. Does Bats make plans? Sure...when he knows what's going to hit him, which is only like 5% of the time, or if the story has to do with the fact Batman is a control freak (ala Waid's "Tower of Babel" storyline in JLA), but mostly he, like most superheroes, await for the threats to reveal themselves, then jumps into battle. Like most superheroes. Like Hal. Now I know a lot of you will say Hal isn't perfect, and use his often rebelling against the Guardians as proof, but it isn't. Hal only rebels when the Guardians are wrong, making him perfect again. Am I saying he should not rebel when the Guardians are wrong? No. I'm just saying it doesn't prove he's not perfect, and's something every superhero would have, hence backing up the generic superhero personality thing. The one time he was wrong with his rebellion, it wasn't was the big bug. The other time, he was drunk...and now that's retconned away. Also, I know many will argue I'm someone who only likes brooding characters, but that's not the case and would only be something said to try and blow off my actual arguments. I like all kinds of character, funny, brooding, flirty, mysterious, daring, whiny, obnoxious....whatever. I'm not saying Hal isn't "dark" enough or "reflective" enough...I'm saying he isn't ANYTHING enough and that affects the character. It makes him uninteresting. It causes his books to fail numerous times. And it will rear its head again, and the books sales will reflect that.....again. Hal is nothing but a cardboard cutout superhero with no internal conflict to drive the story personally and too much power to get into any situations he can't get out of. Not if writers like Geoff Johns aren't at least interested in the challenge. In a world full of superheroes, he's generic, and that makes him dull, and as the hype dies down and nostalgia gives way people will remember why they didn't collect Hal in the past and his books numbers will drop, and in a few short years he will be on the verge of cancellation or needing to be revamped. Big events like the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night will get people excited about Green Lantern....but not do a thing for Hal. He merely attends these events and any additional attention he receives is only residual, and otherwise only serve as delightful (temporary) distractions to take our eyes off the ball. Smoke and mirrors again, taking our eyes off the ball. For a bit. I know it like I know at that point Wizard will stop sucking up and do an article on whether or not DC made a mistake bringing back Hal as GL. That is my theory.

  • Jan. 14, 2009, 4:16 a.m. CST

    FINAL CRISIS #6 First Review - fate of The Dark Knight

    by most excellent ninja <p>