Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Platypus Reviews: Green Lantern #0

I picked up a copy of Green Lantern #0 this afternoon so I would at least give my impressions of it to see if the backlash I mentioned in my previous post is warranted. To put it in simple terms: it is, to a degree. There are parts of Simon Baz’s character that I like; he possesses a degree in automotive engineering and was involved in a street racing accident that killed his brother-in-law so he took auto theft to give the proceeds to his widowed sister and nephew. There are some parallels to Hal Jordan from Emerald Dawn where Hal drove while intoxicated and critically injured a friend in an automobile accident. There is much to work with Simon’s character here, he is a young man that made a deadly mistake and is trying to atone for it as a Robin Hood-like character, though not in the Green Arrow vein. Simon unwittingly jacks a van that contains a bomb and drives it into an abandoned factory to save innocent lives…

…and that is when Geoff Johns drops the anvil on my head.

For those who have never visited TV Tropes, the “anvil” I refer to is shorthand for anvilicious, which the site defines as:

“A portmanteau of anvil and delicious, anvilicious describes a writer's and/or director's use of an artistic element, be it line of dialogue, visual motif, or plot point, to so obviously or unsubtly convey a particular message that they may as well etch it onto an anvil and drop it on your head.”

The frequent references to 9-11, the backlash against Arab-Americans, the harassment, and the increased airport security was heavy-handed enough, but Simon’s “vacation” to Guantanamo Bay is what had a flock of canaries circling around my head for the bus ride home. Then came the interrogation where Simon protests that he was, “A car thief, not a terrorist” and the "advanced interrogation techniques", which struck me as pedantic and condescending to the reader. To be honest, I expected better from Geoff Johns. This issue would be much better if he focused on Simon’s positive qualities and had not used him a rhetorical device to lecture us on how the United States government is so bigoted towards Muslims. If you are a new reader, I suggest avoiding this issue. If you are a collector, I would say pick it up if you are following Rise of the Third Army.

And thus the Magical Platypus commanded, "Thou shalt not drop anvils on thine neighbors head. For it is often painful and sometimes a poor literary device." (Rule #42)

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