Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Green Lantern Corps- New 52

All is new (to some degree) but not well in the GL Universe as this New 52 collection opens with the murder of two Lanterns in their own Sector House in Sector 3599 by seemingly invisible intruders that are immune to the Green Power Ring. With that the mystery is set and we move on to find our heroes, Lantern Gardner and John Stewart having issues with having to find a real day job as a coach and (with some red tape) an architect, respectively. It seems they are coming to accept and realize that they can do more good being a Lantern than having to balance a real and normal life in the process, as according to Gardner, “it’s not all that’s cracked up to be.”

 Returning to Oa, they respond to a crisis on Sector 3599; the water planet Nerro, only to find it drained completely of water with the inhabitants of the planet all piled up with the exception of the bodies of two Green Lanterns skewered for all to see, sending the message to our Corps that this new baddie means business. The planet’s water, as revealed in the succeeding panels, has somehow been transported, or in this case, teleported to an unknown location ruled by a cloaked figure that has “missed the sound of the sea”. He responds to a report of a problem on the planet Xabas. And the problem is really more of Gardner and rest of the Corps trying to prevent the teleporting of another natural resource, this time the trees and forests. They are soon met by a force coming out of the warp hole dressed in black but wielding green energy blades that proves troublesome for our heroes as they are immune to the power of the Lantern ring.

                                                              *spoiler begins....*

Luckily for them, Lantern Porter from Oa with the capability of teleporting fellow Lanterns arrives just in the nick of time and proves to be the much needed reinforcement. But in spite of his best efforts, not all Lanterns were brought safely back to Oa. As it is, Lantern Vandor and Stewart were just some of the GL’s left behind for Lantern Porter was unable to teleport them all back. But in spite of the defeat, Gardner was able to capture one of the new baddies for interrogation and when they couldn’t make any progress, Jonn Jonz aka. Martian Manhunter came in and with his empathic abilities extracted the much needed intel and revealing these new baddies to be called The Keepers. And that they are called such for they are the ones tending to all of the batteries of each and every Green Lantern!

 If you’d recall, the Lanterns safekeep their personal batteries in an undisclosed pocket universe for easy and effortless access. Now it seems these Keepers want more and are after the Central Power Battery in OA. Their existence was only known to the Guardians after the “Smurfs” discovered the existence of the planet called Urak. Its atmospheric core allowed an instantaneous conduit that allowed unlimited retrieval of a battery for every Green Lantern. The inhabitants of the planet were thus provided for in perpetuity, in exchange for “keeping” the batteries safe. But it was only a short time ago that the Guardians, without warning whatsoever, came in and removed each and every battery from the Keeper’s custody and thus severing the connection that has already formed between all the Lantern batteries and the planet as it served as a “crop” and sustained the planet and its people and infused their DNA with an already potent resource of “Will”. Without the Lanterns, the planet began to die.

 This explains why the Keepers pillaged different planets for their different resources in order to stay alive. Meanwhile back on Urak, Lantern Stewart, Vandor and Kirrt are being interrogated, or should I say, tortured by the leader of the Keepers in disclosing to them the Vibrational Matrix signature that will allow them to breach Oa’s orbital force field without alerting the Guardians to their “stargate”. The interrogation which consisted of electrocution on top of three days without food and water proved to be too much even for a stalwart Lantern. And at the last minute when Lantern Kirrt was about to disclose the code and give way, John Stewart does what we say is the unthinkable, which is dispose of a fellow Lantern by twisting his neck and hereby leaving his ring to look for a new recruit. That served as the much needed distraction Stewart needed to break free temporarily from the Keepers and fly out onto the barren field while running on reserved energy.

 And just when it’s back to square one for my favorite Lantern Stewart, Guy Gardner, armed with military weapons, along with the Mean Machine; a group of bad-ass Lanterns camping out below Gardner’s own bar called Warriors underneath Oa, comes to the rescue and engages the Keepers head on. And of course you could count on Gardner to think of a crazy idea and follow thru. He deduced that the only way to fight someone with that much willpower is to not engage it with the same element that fuels it but give it what it lacks, which is the element of FEAR. So he drops a “Fear Bomb” on the Keepers by way of two Sinestro Corps War prisoners kept in one of the science cells. The cells detonate on contact and imbue the Keepers with Fear and had them begging for mercy; which is pretty much the antithesis of how they were moments before.

The situation is soon resolved and decided upon by the Guardians (of course) that the Keepers dig a grave of each and every one of their victims, which according to Gardner is a lifelong sentence. The compilation ends with Lantern John Stewart bringing Lantern Kirrt’s body to his home planet of Lorror on Sector 2451, where not only was Kirrt regarded a hero by his family and also the recipient of a tombstone befitting a Lantern. All in all Peter Tomasi again has done a whirlwind of a good ride with this First volume of the New 52 for Green Lantern Corps that collects Issues 1-7. While I was expecting a cliffhanger of an ending, it was rather an emotional one with John Stewart accepting his guilt at having to kill Kirrt in order to protect the Corps and leaving it out from his report. Lantern Vandorr doesn’t condemn what Stewart had to do but also reminds John that at times the Corps needs someone to act as their conscience and that he is it.

 Stewart for his most part may be racking up his list of high profile body counts by adding Kirrt to this list, as well as the decimation of the Planet Xanshi and most recently of Lantern Mogo, during the War of the Green Lanterns, who if in case you didn’t know was also a planet. But John Stewart, when you think about it, is the best person to handle radical life and death situations like these, for not only has he made difficult decisions and lived through them, his military background also allows him to focus on the task at hand, prevent his emotions from getting the best of him just to get the job done. Now does that make him the perfect emotionless Lantern that some may label him to be?

 On the contrary, he is the Lantern that has a lot of emotion and heart to go around, and is good at having to distill what amount of it needs to be shown, needs to be channelled in order to continue to be good at his job. That’s why it was no surprise that prior to the New 52 and during the Brightest Day crisis, he was offered to become an Alpha Lantern; to which his quick thinking prevailed and allowed him to deny the post and think clearly at the consequences of being one. All in all it was good, for should that have happened, we probably would have one more emotionless sentry going about their duty and only seeing a situation in absolutes; the black or the white. But lucky for us, John still remains human and is willing to navigate the gray areas of being a Lantern. And that I think is a key ingredient why he has survived thus far and why the Universe is all the more better for it.

Can't wait for the next volume that pits our beloved Corps with a nemesis closer to home and more of the ramifications of John Stewart's decision to kill off a fellow Lantern.

Thank you, Peter Tomasi. :) 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Zombies are the New Vampires

Yes....forget Twilight...forget Vampires and other supernatural creatures of that norm as an old favorite has taken the populace by storm, in books and in television as well as the comic book world. And now its beginning its renewed assault on the big screen. Yes, Zombies are the new Vampires these days.

From the comic book and now hit TV series, Walking Dead, to books like The Forrest of Hands and Teeth, its time for another hit book written by Max Brooks to hit the big screen in a big way. And what bigger way to do it than with Brad Pitt.

And although filmmakers chose to not do much close up shots on the zombies for the trailer, as I surmise this, you get more than your fill of the blonde superstar as he balances his duty to his family and to his country.

World War Z opens next year in June 2013.

It's gonna be a gory summer for sure!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rise of the Third Army - Fascism on OA

The cover is rather intriguing, not to mention enticing right? The Green Lantern symbol dripping like blood or wet paint. What is the Third Army? And where do they fall into the mythos of the Corps?

Most readers, as well as me, found ourselves asking that basic question. But one other question that perhaps needs to be asked is why the Guardians are doing what they’re doing?

Sure, they’re not perfect and much-flawed in their character and decision making processes but in truth, creating the Third Army is only a band-aid solution to the problem. And the problem lies not in the lack of respect that they have started not to get from the Green Lantern Corps after 3 successive crises like the Sinestro Corps War, Blackest Night-Brightest Day and the most recent, War of the Green Lanterns but in the heart of the Guardians themselves.

History says that they are peaceful lot and wishing only to be the safekeepers of peace and order in the Universe. But the odd thing is, why should emotion be taken out of the question? Should the presence of peace and maintenance of order be done so in such an emotionless manner that there is no room to be happy at the absence of turmoil and injustice? In previous panels as seen in the War of the Green Lanterns prologue, the Guardians of Maltus, have been wearing the White Symbol for Light and it is in this time frame that they banned Krona and sentenced him to die at the hands of the robot Manhunters because he embraced emotion. And in retaliation, Krona rigged the Manhunters programming and have them kill the entire sector 666 on the planet Ryut, thus paving the way for the birth of Atrocitus, the first Red Lantern and the formation of the GL Corps, just to prove a point. That emotion cannot be taken out of the equation in creating the order that one wants and one seeks.

Of course had it gone the other way, there would’ve been no conflict, no Manhunters reprogramming and much less, no formation of the Green Lantern Corps to replace the “defective” Manhunters.

But getting back on track, this GL annual which is preferred to be read before reading the Zero issue of Green Lantern that introduces the new GL from Earth, Lantern Baz, begins with a decision made by the Guardians and that is the root of all the problems that they have had so far is Free Will. In the past it was emotion, which led to the construction of Manhunters, then became Fear which led them to form the GL Corps that had Willpower as their ally; which after that  became the bane of their existence and had to be curbed because they have started to think for themselves. And so Free Will is now the present target for these pesky Smurfs because according to the Guardians, “We know better than they do and eradicating free will is the logical step in maintaining order.”

Yes, from the emotionless mini-Nietzche’s that they are, the Guardians have embraced their inner-Fascist and deemed that no other order is worth following and enforcing other than theirs.


Apart from this revelation, the annual also follows the story arc of Black Hand’s revenge in the current GL issues from 7-12 and shows our Hal Jordan trying to dig himself out of a coffin in the Coast City cemetery after being buried alive by Black Hand only to find Sinestro’s tombstone beside him. But Black Hand ain’t finished, he offers Hal the chance to see his father again, for he can bring him back with the use of his Black Ring (minus Nekron) as long as Hal desists in digging up Sinestro and agree to keep him buried underneath.

While this is going on, the Guardians venture off to another sector to free the supposed “First Lantern” from the Chamber of Shadows. Upon opening, it is revealed that a number of fellow Guardians have equally entombed themselves within the prison to guard the First Lantern. The elderly entombed Guardians stressed that them being inside the tomb was an agreement that they have made eons ago and that whoever comes to free the First Lantern must be destroyed. And thus a battle ensues among the Guardians as the ruling smurfs have need of the First Lantern’s power in order to create the 3rd Army.

Naturally with more experience, the ruling Guardians win and with the energy within one of the slain entombed Guardian is used and directed at the energy shell it thus frees the First Lantern who is taken out and whose essence is later distilled and siphoned out in order to create the first member of the Third Army who is physically in humanoid form but whose silvery limbs are far from human and whose mind and intellect are bonded and only answer to the Guardians.

By this time Sinestro has already freed himself and upon Hal’s suggestion have managed to jointly summon his own battery so that they both can recharge and eventually gain the upper “hand” against Black Hand. But from a distance, the Guardians have sensed Black Hand’s return and Hal’s connivance with Sinestro and thus aids Black Hand in killing off Hal and Sinestro by sucking them into a Black vortex but not before Hal and Sinestro manage to re-integrate their rings and send it scanning for a replacement. 

And with their aid, the Guardians teleport Black Hand into the Prison of Shadows to await future use in their plan to "save" the Universe. Guy Gardner and the GL Corps would be the next to be replaced along with the other Corps bearing different colors of the emotional spectrum.

And with that, the dices are rolled and the Gauntlet is thrown for a 4-issue crossover in all major Lantern titles; from New Guardians, Green Lantern, GL Corps and Red Lanterns 

And like all other prologues, we are left to wonder whats next in store for the Lanterns of OA and who is the First Lantern and why is he being kept in secret. What damage could he possibly do if he were to get out?

Bring on the Third Army! We are readers are ready and waiting! Go Poozer!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Red Lanterns: All About Rage or...More....

When I first heard about the New reaction? Why!???

When I saw the line up for the New 52 and it included a separate storyline for the Red Lanterns; borne out of their "following" after the successful DC crisis, "Blackest Night", I made the same reaction (along with some head scratching)... Why!??

And then when I read the recent Vol 1 compilation that collects the first 7 issues of their New 52 run...I had to stop, nod my head and say...Oh, that's why? :)

In short, reading this compilation has surprised me and made me wonder what was the reason for choosing to highlight Atrocitus and his Rage-filled band of Red Wielding Lanterns instead of the others in the Lantern spectrum. As I figured, Rage would be the least important emotion of the spectrum, because aside from destruction and tearing down what you know and love all in the name of Rage, you're pretty much left with nothing save for the consequences of your actions. And if we equate the need to resolve and address consequences in the wake of any destructive streak, it definitely needs to be met head on. And who better than the master of rage, Atrocitus, himself.

And while I don't want to be a Master at SPOILERS, better be warned now before reading further. :)

The compilation which collects the first 7 issues of the series,opens in Ryut, Space Sector 666, Atrocitus' own homeworld, with a hunter named Zuuq flaying a prisoner alive. He is interrupted by the arrival of our favorite Red Cat and later Atrocitus coming to his cats rescue and pondering a change that he has been feeling. Inspite of the carnage that he inflicts upon these hunters, he acknowledges that he seems to be merely going through the motions; that his Rage is not what is used to be. It is waning. And more than that, the effects have already begun to be felt by other members of the Red Lantern Corps, like Bleez, Ratchet and Skallox among others and like a singular organism body, they are restless and have begun to war with themselves.

Atrocitus believes that this unrest can only be solved by making another blood prophecy and he does this by reaching into the corpse of the dead Guardian Krona, killed during the War of the Green Lanterns by Hal Jordan. By Krona's blood and with his own ways of necromancy, Atrocitus offers Krona's blood as payment for his desire to be shown the answer to his dilemna. Thus he is shown visions of his past. From being a father on the planet Ysmault and suffering the brunt of the massacre of his people at the hands of the Robotic Manhunters before the Green Lantern Corps were formed, to other crimes of war and injustice on other planets. He thus accepts the visions as a sign to take on the rage and outcry of the Universe as his own. And is thus recharged and renewed for a new and higher purpose. And in line with this, he accepts the necessity of having a helper, and is left with his ruminations of which Red Lantern to "promote" and join him in his renewed quest. That is, if they really need him, at all.

Meanwhile, in another Sector, on Earth actually and better known as Sector 2814, and more specifally in the UK, another family is undergoing a crisis of its own as the grandfather of Jack and Raymond Moore was the casualty of a mugging. Bereft without a guardian who has become a surrogate father to them, brothers Jack and Raymond are each dealing with the crisis the best way they know how. One decides to punish the guilty by going after the mugger named Baxter, while the other decides to curtail his own anger and frustration and accepts the situation for what it is.

But when an attempt on their grandfather's killer, carried out by the outspoken Raymond and botched and intercepted made by the repressed Raymond which later results in his arrest and subsequent beating by the arresting cops for his refusal to cooperate, Raymond is left to deal with his guilt, his frustration, and his Rage at his situation, and so opens himself up just as a Red Ring flies and slips onto his fingers and thereby makes him the first Red Lantern of Earth; and named Rankorr. Following his insticts, he goes after his grandfathers killer only to be stopped further by Guy Gardner, who like us is surprised to find out that this Red Lantern is able to speak "normally" without spewing tons of napalm at the person they're talking to.

Back on Ysmault, Atrocitus himself has his plate full with having to deal with drafting Bleez as his second-in-command and returning her "normal" state of mind by submerging her into the River of blood and making her re-live her trauma and rage until she rises from it fully aware of who she is. (Note: When one becomes a Red Lantern,  your heart stops beating and is replaced by the Red Ring. Along with that you become a blathering drone spewing Napalm from your mouth, as a Red Lantern doesn't have coherent speech, except Atrocitus)

Bleez begins to question her existence and her life before being drafted and flies to exact revenge on her tormentors who sold her first to selected members of the Sinestro Corps. But Bleeze, as the story pans out, isn't the only one thrown into the river as Skallox and Ratchet followed suit and relived their own hellish life before equally questioning the morality of their cause. And it is this speaking and mentally capable band of Lanterns that Atrocitus brings with him on the search for the body of Krona after he returns to find it missing and not on the empty slab of stone where it has been since the events of Brightest Day .

Ironically, Atrocitus blames Krona for the massacre of his people and yet Krona is the only confidant he has and it is only after a ritual involving Krona's blood does Atrocitus  find his sense of purpose once more. For someone being the object of one's hate, Krona still has some use long after his death.

The search takes Atrocitus back to the Abominable Zone, a ruined city built from the bone of marooned space travelers where he began his experiments with first Red Lanterns. And with that journey, he discovers that one of his failed experiments named Abysmus has stolen Krona' corpse, ate is and has absorbed his power. And if that were not enuf, the abomination named Abysmus, has breathed life into the other corpses of the dead Red Lanterns, re-animated and apty named them the Abysmorphs. Add to this surprise is the arrival of James Moore; aka Rankorr of Earth which gives Abysmus the perfect timing to skewer Atrocitus from behind and leaving Rankorr to face the onslaught of the "Zombie"Red Lanterns and we are left to wonder who will eventually get the upper hand and win.

And win is what this first compilation of the Red Lanterns does for me as it certainly mirrors one's struggle in grappling with anger in real life. How long must one be angry? About a person who may have wronged us? About a situation that we feel powerless to change? Or even anger at ourselves for not being as driven as we feel we should be or even anger at how others can impose their expectations upon us. Truly there is much to be angry for and if you have a short attention span like Atrocitus, you may find yourself moving from one thing to another to focus on; from finding a helper only to realize that she will plan your downfall eventually because she shouldn't have been given that much credit, or the things you did in the past will bite you in the ass if you assume that it is dead and buried, or you are surprised to find that your anger is not only abating but equally moving into new territory. Anger can only be a primal source of power if it is focused and unrelenting. Something that Atrocitus should've learned and known all along. In short, no points for wanting too many things all and once and distracting oneself from the task at hand.

But to give our Red napalm spewing Lantern some credit, he himself is focused, its just that the results of his focused planning is not living up to his expectation and hereby as a reader we are thrown in for that unexpected ride, and if you like a semi-rollercoaster ride, with the promise of more turbulence, then I suggest this one should get you started and don't be surprised if you crave for more.

How could you not? With a cliffhanger at the end of issue 7, I can only wait for the release of the next volume next year on my Bday, which is March 12. But in the meantime, let me treat you for the cover of Issue #8. And if that doesn't get your blood boiling for more? Then perhaps better check your Red battery, it may have been affected by a roving Blue Lantern. :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tragic BATMAN film screening. Reel to Real Life...

Unless one has been purposely evading tweet feeds and spoilers for the final installment of the Batman trilogy directed by Christopher Nolan, one would've been successfull to a certain degree. But you nees not evade the shocking and tragic shooting at an evening screening of the said film in Aurora, Colorado, following the homicidal rampage of a man entering the cinema and openly fired on the audience after hurtling a canister of tear gas into the cinema.

Painfully echoing the school shooutout in Columbine, some years back, the man named James E. Holmes, wearing protective bulletproof gear, casually strode in through the exit door of the cinema, claimed that he was the Joker and began to fire at the audience.

So far 12 have died from that incident and several are wounded.

Much has been reported about the man, his motives and even the parallels to earlier tragic shootouts in nearby Denver but there are no words for the unnecessary and painful tragic loss of life from a simple act of bonding, watching a movie knowing that a hero comes to save the day in the film.

But sadly there is no hero in this real life crime. And like Columbine, most are getting more questions than answers.

Monday, June 11, 2012 Ricky Martin

While I didn't think of the book as a stellar piece of work that broke down literary barriers or anything of the sort, I didn't think either that it was a piece of work that would lead to many readers doubting and go as far as claiming that Ricky hired to ghost writer to write his memoir. Let's give the man some credit. Perhaps he outlined the book and wrote it in his native Spanish tongue and the fault lies in the transcriber or translator?

But nonetheless, this book was an enjoyable read and prompted us a look (although not really complete) at the look of a very private celebrity who inspite of his popularity maintains that he is a private person who has to do the public thing of taking a stand and being vocal about it.

His journey from reluctant celebrity to outspoken gay man may resonate with his gay readers but for one who is looking for pictures to accompany any memoir (Yes, initially I was disappointed that there was none), you will be disheartened to know and find out that there are no pictures but after getting over that and accepting the memoir for what it is and not what it should be, then you are rewarded with a good, insightful and in certain sections a profound chronicle about career, spirituality and the self.

Of course the part where Ricky talks extensively about his cause against human trafficking may unease or dissuade others from moving on with the read. But stick with it and at the very least, find out a little more about this reluctant Latin heart-throb. And if your heart still throbs the right way, from the things that's he's said, done and shared then you've transcended from being a fan to being a fellow citizen of the world out to do good in our own way and in our own corner of the world.

Then again, celebrity or not, isn't that what we should be doing? :)

Pay it Forward Peeps! Go Ricky! 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hurrying Up The Process

            I just got off the phone as I write this blog entry and ponder on what I just heard and observed in the past week. Let me give you the Cliff’s Note version with a little backtracking for good measure.

            My friend, who I shall name Sean, for the purpose of this blog, met somebody he liked at a social function and found that this other person liked him enough to befriend him, share bits and pieces of his own life which finally led to the highlight of the evening and that is, the opportunity to take things on a hortizontal level. Yes, that kind of horizontal. They shared a meal and talked some more after and soon Sean found himself getting enamored by this new “find” and began to ardently pursue this person like there was no tomorrow.

            I for one was not privy to the immediate results that he yielded, or in this case, failed to manifest and harvest, as the person in question suddenly did a 180 degree on him and would reject his calls and beat around the bush by not answering his text messages promptly and when they are indeed answered, its usually the prelude to another question to follow, which in effect, overshadows the original question posted. Are you with me? Good.

       As a prelude to his call tonight, Sean also forwarded his own disappointment-filled text that he sent to this fella, demanding a reason why his calls are being rejected and if he was not serious about being friends, then why go through all the trouble. Instantly I heard warning bells sound off in my head. But I was unable to respond to what I felt up until this phone call tonight.

So Sean admitted to me that in the course of their correspondences, which  was  now all week long, he told the lad about how much of a “challenge” and a “difficult” situation it is to "court" him, for apart from this find of a guy, is almost half his age, he’s still in school and thereby not bound or aquainted by the freedom and liberalism of working professionals like us.

            Immediately I aired my concern, and found that I wasn’t the only one who felt that way as Sean's other friends said the same, and told Sean that perhaps his arduous and over enthusiastic pursuit scared the boy off. Simple as that. The boy was being evasive because of what Sean said and equally the ramifications of what he said. And that’s what we result-oriented people of the corporate world at times fail to realize, that in the pursuit of the result that we want, we fail to recognize another, if the not most important component of that result, and this is the journey. The journey which is basically the road to whatever goal that we set in our minds and desperately want to reach in the blink of an eye. But it shouldn’t even be that way. There should be a conscious effort to make time for the process. A patience conditioning of sorts.

           If building a bond is that easy then we would all be experts of it now at this day in our lives. But we often forget that the road to the bond is as equal, if not, even more important than what we seek to covet, to know and to scrutinize with all our values and parameter checks.

           Truly the heart cannot be rushed. And if we are aware of it each and every day and in every relationship that we hope to build then perhaps we wouldn't vent out too much. We wouldn't dump our frustration on the object of our affection and scare them away. We wouldn't mope around and feel sorry for ourselves and wondering why things are not working the way we want and resign ourselves to a loveless life.

     It doesn't have to be that way all the time. And because it doesn't, it means that there is a way out. The next question is, are you aware of the way out and are you "patient" enough to take it? If you are then congrats, like me in my youth, you are learning the pieces of the relationship puzzle day by day. And when you think about it, living our lives day by day, moment by moment, is the way to go. As the heart and mind, can only handle so much at a time, it also wouldn't be fair to you if the Universe overwhelms you with the brunt of the experience. And so it gives you the chance to experience it, bit by bit. And like a good dish whose taste is allowed to grow you and having come from a process of both marinating and simmer, building relationships and at the very least friendships is best taken and done one bite at a time.

             So if you're ready. Bon Appetit. :)

Love Has Found Me By Caz - MyMusicStore Philippines

Love Has Found Me By Caz - MyMusicStore Philippines

Love Has Found Me By Caz - MyMusicStore Philippines

Love Has Found Me By Caz - MyMusicStore Philippines

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Catching up on Green Lantern -New 52

** spoiler alert ** When I first heard of the New 52 retcon of DC last year, I feared for the worst.

That is, most of us will have to bear with origin retelling of the stories that we have been glued to and following for the past 5 years, or in most cases for the past decade, including major DC events like Inifinite Crisis, Final Crisis, the earth shattering and successful crisis of Blackest Night and the subsequent Brightest Day and not to mention the much polarized Flashpoint.

But good thing for us Lantern readers, the New 52 GL not only takes on a surprising twist but mainly follows events after the most recent GL crisis which was War of the Green Lanterns and the subsequent sequel called Aftermath.

For most readers who have been following Geoff Johns’ (winning) writing streak and take on our Emerald crusader, Sinestro now seems to be the main torchbearer of the GL Corps after the Guardians disowned and fired Hal Jordan following his actions on War of the Green Lanterns, which I felt was rather harsh. But then again the Guardians will always have their way.  

Now, having gone back to Earth and in search of a normal life, Hal Jordan can’t seem to make ends meet and mend the relationship that he so wants to have with Carol Ferris, who at this time has shelved her Star Sapphire status and current Reign as Queen of the Corps of the planet Zamaron. Hal for the better part of the Compiled 6 issues of the New 52 GL, is a displaced and aimless Lantern wanting to relive his purpose as a member of the Corps and one who feels that he can effect change from that elevated status rather than an ordinary citizen of Earth.

Of course, this doesn’t stop him at an early point in the first issue, from jumping through the window of the next door building after witnessing a woman being attacked by a odd looking skinhead that had veins protruding thru his arms and weird tattoo shapes on his head. He simply does this in a beat only to find himself in the middle of a movie shoot and later had to be bailed out from jail by Carol herself. 

Nothing seems right up until Sinestro arrives for a surprise visit and asks him to do everything he says if he wants to have his ring back. As proof, Sinestro wills and contructs an extension of his own ring which naturally finds its way to Hal’s fingers, and transforms him back to the Emerald Warrior we know. But true to his crafty nature, Sinestro has built specific failsafe precautions into the ring, so much so that Hal’s blast directed at Sinestro the moment he receives the ring is proved futile and inert as the Korugarian reveals that the ring cannot turn against its maker. And that Sinestro can easily take the ring and its power away as he easilly as he gives it. 

It seems that Sinestro has need of Jordan’s help to wipe out the members of the Sinestro Corp harnessing the Yellow Power of Fear on his home planet of Korugar. Naturally, Sinestro still feels that he is the sole savior of his home planet and thus proves to be an effective villain, as one other review said, for he is a bad guy who doesn’t seem to know he is the bad guy. Yup, talk about ultra righteous thinking.

Sinestro then gives Jordan a tempting offer that he can’t refuse. Help him get rid Of the Sinestro Corps on Korugar and he gets to keep the ring.

At the same time this “deal” is being forged, another one is being re-written and wraught on OA, as Ganthet, the former Guardian and once leader of the Blue Lantern Corps that channels the emotion of Hope and later self-inducted Green Lantern of Sector Zero, has been taken by the remaining Guardians and stripped off his emotions.
Ironically, the once champion of conscience and emotion for our Emerald heroes now has become as closed minded as his brethren and is in agreement, that in spite of the Green Lantern Corps embodying the sentient emotion of Will, they are not without fault. Hal Jordan, they deem is the example of all drive and without foresight and Sinestro its extreme polarity of all drive but without a shred of altruism. And on top of the past debacle with the Manhunters and the recent Manipulation of Krona in the recent GL War, the Guardians surprised us all that it is time for the creation of the 3rd army and that the Green Lantern Corps needs to be replaced.

That line has just left me in awe and shaking my head in disgust with the Guardians and by the time I got to issue #6, another wave of change can be felt as the original drawings of Doug Mahnke have been taken over by guest artist Mike Choi who continues the task of softening the look of our favorite GL and aptly making him look younger in his drawings as Hal and Carol seem to have, this time around, officially dated again and are enjoying each others company when she brings him to the Aeronautical Museum of Coast City. This both serves as a good chance for the two star crossed lovers to bond once more as Sinestro flies off to the planet Ogoro in Sector 1417, following the defeat of the Yellow Sinestro Corps on Korugar. 

As it is, I’ve neglected to detail how this was accomplished and would hopefully serve as enough incentive to either read or better yet collect, the first volume of the new 52 GL which is aptly entitled Sinestro. On that planet, Sinestro finds the means of locating his once keeper of the Book of Parallax, Lyssa Drax, who now is enthralled by the Book of the Black. He manages to subdue her but not after ripping out a page of the “accursed” book and getting a glimpse of the future, with the Guardians being true to their word of bringing back the 1st Lantern to lead the Third Army against the Green lantern Corps. As part of that image gruelling visage, he also sees his own death along with Hal Jordan's.

This thus brings more questions to the fore as to who the first Lantern is and who are the 3rd army that the Guardians speak of. With a Guardian holding up the White Ring on the panel depicting Sinestro's vision, could the White Lantern Corps be the Army they are referring to and how much of it as well will affect other members of the DC universe should this come to pass?

The compilation ends once more with Thaal Sinestro coming back to Earth, powering up Hal’s ring and summoning him to another mission, just after Hal has finally accepted the state of normalcy that has to happen in his life in order to have that normal life with Carol.

After reading another brilliant and layered compilation effectively brought to us by Geoff Johns, I am so half-tempted to pick up the loose issues that follow. As of this writing, the current issue is #9 and I would have to wait till next year to get on track with Vol 2 of this edition. But patience will always be the value to cultivate when collecting hardcover graphic novels and with Geoff Johns we know we are always taken cared of and will be very much rewarded.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Caught up in The Shadow of the Wind

The first time I heard of this book was in 2004  when Powerbooks was touting it as the next book to watch out for. I knew immediately that I wanted to read it but having so much books on my reading plate (then and still now), felt that it could wait. So I ended up buying the hardcover as a gift instead for a fellow Anne Rice Philippines member and he in turn gave me the audiobook set for The Lives of the Mayfair Witches. I felt that was a good trade. J

Years later, like Daniel Sempere, in the book, I would chance upon the trade paperback version of the book at a Book Sale branch and relish the treasure of a find I had. But like all readers who would want more time with ALL of their books, it became another casualty to other books that took precedence up until I found an unabridged version on audiobook Cd format for a steal at another Book Sale branch. This time I knew I had to get into this and not be left behind.

Throughout my drive to and from work, the haunting story of ten year old Daniel and his search for truth regarding the mystery surrounding the author of the book in question, who is equally is as elusive as his other copies of his books in the novel proved to be the enchanting tale that it is, and one that transported me out of the traffic laden streets of Manila and into a simpler and yet darker and dangerous streets of Post Spanish Civil War Barcelona of the 1930’s.

The book opens with Daniel Sempere, son of second hand book store owner, being brought to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a old haven of a library for books that have almost been forgotten but kept and preserved for all lovers of antique and obscure books. There he meets the caretaker of the establishment, Isaac Monfort and is told that whoever comes to the library the first time must choose a book, adopt it as his and makes sure that the book will be preserved and guaranteed an owner and a home. Somehow, the Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax is the book that Daniel chooses and immediately he is transported into the tale brilliantly spun by Carax which leaves him wanting more of his works and equally more information about the author.

He thus finds himself in a search for the threads of Carax’s life, while his own life and growing adolescence mirrors Carax’s own. On top of that, he also must deal with his obsession with Clara Barcelo, the blind daughter of Gustavo Barcelo, a friend of his father and in addition a new found friend in the form of a homeless man, whom he took in to help with the book shop. This man who goes by the name of Fermin Romero de Torres we find is a military man who is in pursuit by the main antagonist in the novel, the evil, vengeful and corrupt Inspector Javier Fumero.
And as if Daniel’s plate wasn’t enough, there is also a mysterious lurking figure, who is horribly burnt and hides in the shadows and poses a threat to his own life and in want of the Carax book that he possesses.

Newfound love, Tarnished love, Envy, Greed, Bitterness, Frustration and other elements of a varied human condition is one that a lover of the written word will find in reading this book. My interest in it was equally buoyed by the brilliant narrative and character voicing of the audiobook narrator, Jonathan Davis, who efforlessly shifts from one voice to another as the task of voicing different characters solely rests on him.

As one further gets into the story, more stories of other people that are just pieces of the puzzle of a tragic life lived by Julian Carax may overwhelm some readers in want of a more traditional and linear way of storytelling, but in the end, all the lives lived by every individual in the book, hastens Daniel’s maturity as he graples with life, with love, with loss and with the promise that if one is in search of the truth, the search will ultimately extract a price of its own for it, but if one is ready for the ride and for the result, then it is a journey worth taking.

Read on and discover how other people’s lives and relationships may at times mirror facets of our own and in learning about others, we learn more about ourselves and the wisdom behind the choices that we make in our lives, everyday.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Dark Knight Vol 1- David Finch

Because I am returning this to the owner asap..I am making this short....if not Too short.

The drawing from Finch is a stunning, brilliant & allows the Bat to be a winner in every panel that he is in. For the artwork alone, this deserves a 5. 

But for writing it didn't have the ending I was hoping for. It kinda left me with more questions than answers. 

Still kudos to Finch on undertaking both drawing and writing duties.  And for giving us another look at Bruce's childhood the people who have indelibly made a mark on his life. This time around it is socialite
Dawn Golden and her recent disappearance has gotten our Caped Crusader all rampaging around Gotham in trying to find her.

As it is, the ending may not have given me the one I wanted but the drawing is superb as his drawing with purple demons closing in on Dawn and the Bats atop a building took my breath away. But alas the only sample of that drawing is the panel that follows it and not the one that I wanted to show you. But nonetheless, you so gotta read it to see it.

So far Finch is here to stay as he is slated to helm more supernatural adventure arcs for our beloved Bat. But I hope next time, he doesn't put his characters through the ringer too much, only to let them go in the end.

Oh and by the way, he is coming to Manila on March 11.

I will be with my family of Justice PH. See ya there.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Who Saw It First?

I often ask Vangie, in Echoes of the Heart, the talk show we do and have done for the past 17 years, over DWIZ-882, that if caught between a tug of war, if not a tug of wills, who would or if not, should, make the first move?

Let’s face it, tantrums, misunderstanding, failed expectations, these are just some of the elements spicing up the duration and tenure of a relationship. Without it, none of the two parties involved would learn about patience, personal space, priorities and other “P” words I’m trying to cram into a coherent sentence. My point being, without these quarrels, raising of voices, setting of boundaries, the said relationship would just go the route of stagnancy and perhaps even the way of the dodo. Heaven forbid.

So to go back to my question, which among the two parties involved should act accordingly? Vangie tells me it should be the one who saw IT first.

The one who sees trouble a mile away and tries to force heaven and earth for it not to happen or the one who accepts that both at times are the victims of circumstance(s) and thus being prodded per se by the outside stimuli, and therefore sentient and knowledgeable beings that we are, act accordingly?

But does it always have to be that way?

Isn’t that a tiring burden to have? At always being tasked to rectify the quarrel because one always sees it first and other one doesn’t? Does this lopsided foresight spoil the one who doesn’t see it and vexes and wears out the one who does? When does the other one say, enough is enough? Why don’t you see it my way? Why must you conduct yourself around the house and not talk to me, and only to other other people present as I were not there or like a piece of furniture, mute and unable to speak and be asked of one’s opinion?

Why can’t I be the childish one for a change? The one to snap curt remarks when being asked about dinner and being talked to politely? Why can’t I be the one to just storm out of the house, check in a hotel and sleep in blissful content alone with no stress, turn a blind eye, as well as turn my back on your plight and bid for explanation. Shut the door in your face and sleep it off till morning?

Why is it one way and not the other?

Maybe because I haven’t done it? I have not chosen immaturity over intractability?

What do you think?

Perhaps I should?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

War of the Green Lanterns-Aftermath -1


 After having been left high and dry at the end of the GL cataclysmic event of 2011 which was War of the Green Lanterns, our favorite Corps are left to deal with the consequences of their actions & the task of rebuilding Oa from the devestation of war. But as they would learn in the course of the graphic novel that compiles the 2 issues of Aftermath and Green Lantern Corps #61-63 plus Emerald Warriors #11-13, their emotions also need to be taken care of and rebuilt. As this graphic novel collects these 2 main issues and disparate ones that continue the thread of the Aftermath storyline in other issues, this review will tackle the first 2 Aftermath issues and the second review for the ones will follow after.


This “Aftermath”, opens with the "banishment" of Hal Jordan and the outrage of Green Lantern hothead and Honor Guard, Guy Gardner expressing his frustration at the Guardians act of banishing Hal Jordan and the ironic  mourning of the Guardians over the loss of fellow Guardian and bad guy Krono who almost took control of the Corps at the height of the War. Their supposed "mourning" is equaled by their amazement as to how a Lantern was able to inflict that much harm and kill a Guardian in spite of the safety measures they  incorporated into the Ring making sure that it would never be used against them, much less kill a Guardian with it. Fearing Guy may do something “rash” Kilowog clarfies that Hal was most certainly sent back to Earth after being fired from the Corps. Like an emotional epidemic, one Lantern after another expresses their disappointment with the Guardians. Lantern Hannu drives his point clearly enough, “Why does it take a human to always save you from your mistakes.” 

      But inspite of the post stress trauma, questions like these will still be unanswered as the Guardians express their control of the situation and leave to further question Sinestro about why at the height of the War, a Green Lantern ring has chosen Sinestro to be part of the Green Lantern Corps again when all his Yellow Ring along with the others, have all overridden their connection with their respective owners and flew to Krona’s hand. Perhaps without Mogo to guide the Rings, the selection process has been changed if not muddled.

      And muddling with the rest of their emotions is basically what the others find themselves doing, from Ganthet admitting his affections for fellow Guardian Sayd who is now in the planet Okarra after having been promised to Larfreeze in return for help during the Blackest Night crisis, to other Lanterns condemning John Stewart for killing Mogo and as well as a handful of them like Lantern Voz and Hannu all planning to execute Sinestro, to give him the justice he needs and one that has been long denied him, this Aftermath certainly brings the emotional issues to front as everyone in OA deals with their pain in the best way they know how.

      Lucky for some, others still have a leveled head on their shoulders as Lantern Rayner senses Lantern Natu’s status of “Intraceability” and finds himself on the opposing side of a group of Lanterns including Soranik Natu who are hell bent to give Sinestro his due reward. Another brawl ensues with Kyle getting the upper hand, only to stop midway then the blasted door behind him finds a Sinestro tied up and not questioned but with the Guardians forcibly removing his ring from his finger. So much for questioning eh?


This break-in pushes the Guardians to the limit and announces that any more outbreaks of anger, defiance and lack of discipline will not be tolerated. They send everyone out back to their respective Sectors, activate once more the placement of the Honor Guard and Alpha Lanterns in Oa in a final attempt to both rein in and exact control.

      In all of this Ganthet is visited by Blue Lantern, Saint Walker who heals Ganthet’s hand while Gardner as well as Kilowog and Kyle and crypt keeper Lantern Morro, deal with the decision that the Guardians have allowed Krona to be buried in the Lantern crypt and remembered for the good that he did as he was also instrumental in the founding of the Lanterns. Needless to say this was met with much opposition but as it is, duty and respect to the Guardians wishes prevailed as Lantern Salaak reminded them all that any move from them to counter his orders is tantamount to mutiny.

      Lantern Mogo had a meaningful “burial” as his remains, which basically is debris and fragments from an exploded planet, are brought to the Sun and cremated. The result was a fitting tribute as the Sun incorporated the Lantern insignia and burned for as long as it lasted. What didn’t last though was Krona’s stay in the crypt as Ganthet secretly went down into the holding chamber, and sent Krona’s body into the Planet Ysmault, thereby fulfilling a promise made to Red Lantern leader, Atrocitus and preventing him from launching another War of the Light. But alas, Ganthet’s actions were not wholly unnoticed as he nervously defends his actions to the oncoming Guardians who wanted to speak to him. What is it about this time? Well, we can only guess at the ominous gazes that the remaining Lanterns had when they looked at him. For his sake, I hope the writer’s keep Ganthet, as for one, the Blue Lantern Corps flailing as it is, need a leader and that the Guardians needed someone like Ganthet to keep them honest.


 So? Honestly, did I like it? Yes, I did as writers Tony Bedard and Peter Tomasi were certainly up to the task of continuing what Geoff Johns did with the War. Having previously wrote Revolt of the Alpha Lanterns, they were more than able to deal with the emotions and ramifications as well the consequences of the war and showing equal attention to key note Lanterns and how they deal with it. What I didn’t like with Issue #1 was the artwork by Miguel Sepulveda and Tyler Kirkham. Call me a stickler for visual continuity, they didn’t do justice to the great artwork that Doug Mahnke always does along with excellent Geoff Johns writing in major crises compilations. But at least it gets better as Issue #1 moves on with true comic book artwork in the latter part and a new team consisting of Ransom Getty and Andy Smith for Issue #2.


  So if you want the entire Aftermath coverage and a true Lantern fan, I need not tell you to get this but if only the first 2 issues interest you, that would be okay too as Issue 2’s semi-cliffhanger with Ganthet and the Guardians are not addressed in any way in the other issues included in this graphic novel compilation and we all wonder what bungle of a secret do these Guardians still have in their closet and threaten to disrupt the fine thread of progress that they are attempting to make following 3 major crises one after the other.

      Till then I am keeping my fingers crossed and off to patrol different areas of Sector 2814.