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mygif

You’ll notice that the name ‘Slugworth’ is yet another name or term invented by Roald Dahl which Rowling can’t keep her grubby paws off, after various confectionery items and ‘Muggle’; also, that the scene in which Dumbledore attempts to stop Malfoy from killing him might just as well be dubbed over with the scene from “The Sound of Music” which it rips off, and nary a difference.

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mygif

“- Yeah, Blackest Night sure sucked”

You and Chris Sims are now my favorite comics bloggers…

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mygif

What did Blackest Night suck? Say it with me now: BRAINS!

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mygif

Blackest Night’s going to be a great comic series

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mygif

So I’m curious. There are three or so legitimate complaints I can see with Blackest Night.

1. You didn’t like the pace, where the first 30 or so pages were a recap of the last 25 or so years of DC in terms of those who died and the people who missed them, and wanted a faster paced start for a summer crossover event. (Essentially this is a rage against decompression, although the last few pages definitely picked up the pace.)

2. You think a lot of Geoff Johns stuff is hokey (rainbows are for Care Bears, not lanterns), and this is a very Geoff Johns-ish style comic. This is essentially an “I’m not willing to suspend my disbelief that much” complaint.

3. Death and gore is overrated and you thought what was in Blackest Night was fairly tasteless.

So, are any of those close to your thoughts on Blackest Night, (or some combination of those three), or am I missing something?

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mygif

I’m mixed on Blackest Night. The first issue felt like a an oversized teaser. I am really annoyed that once again, instead of trying to FIX the problems that DC perpetually has with Hawkman they think it is easier to kill him now and fix him later.

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mygif

Thok, you’re missing #4, which is “it’s just not a very well-written comic.” Hal and Barry’s conversation is whiny (not to mention weird, because come on, Barry wouldn’t have asked after Ralph, one of his best friends, until weeks after the whole Flash Rebirth thing?). The Atom “feeling small” is crap. The entire comic is so overwrought and melodramatic that it’s just not any fun.

Say what you will about Marvel Zombies, but that was a comic that took the essential monstrous horror of zombies and did some very entertaining and even witty things with it. Blackest Night, in comparison, seems determined to hit us over the head with This Is Serious Business With The Zombies. And that’s just not any fun for me.

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mygif

I loved Blackest Night. Even if nothing else (not that this is why I like it), it’s better than Final Crisis.

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mygif

I’d forgotten about the “Feeling Small”. That line was shit back in Identity Crisis’ conclusion, and it’s even worse when Johns regurgitates it in order to remind us of where it came from.

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MarvinAndroid said on July 19th, 2009 at 5:27 pm

SmallWorld is a really great game, and an excellent improvement on its inspiration (a game called Vinci, which was fun but lacked replayability). It does have a couple strange little rules exploits, though: the Diplomatic Sorcerors can use their unit-stealing ability on a player to take one of their territories and still declare Diplomacy on them, and the Pillaging Orcs (and the Orcs in general, but it works best with Pillaging) can take advantage of the fact that you can pull all your units off the board and replace as if it was your first turn to teleport around the edges of the board, taking territories with one unit on them for three coins apiece.

I don’t think the Harry Potter books became increasingly mediocre, but the books as a whole had a lot of pacing issues. The first three books achieved surprisingly little (Voldemort should have been brought back sooner), the fifth book was completely unnecessary and the sixth book had a lot of filler, and introducing the Horcruxes and Deathly Hallows as late as she did smacked of deus ex machina (deus ex magica?).

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Jlarking said on July 19th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

we just got small world also and have been enjoying it a lot. The replayability. I really enjoy the differnt kinds of races and modifiers. Some are great and some are just funny. It’s too bad you can’t just call sorcerers vampires because that’s basically what they are. We have a tendency to get flying sorcs making them vampires for real.

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mygif

I think Johns including the nods to “Infinite Crisis” was actually a rebuttal against those storylines and the Ralph/Sue killing Carter/Kendra was meant to be symbolic of how the death-based mini-series (Infinite Crisis) is killing off real character development and letting major changes come about in regular series (i.e. everything Johns did with Kendra and Carter in his original run on JSA)

Also? They were hinting at this story YEARS before Marvel Zombies. So I don’t buy any claims that this is DC attempting to belatedly cash in on the Zombie craze.

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mygif

“You’ll notice that the name ‘Slugworth’ is yet another name or term invented by Roald Dahl which Rowling can’t keep her grubby paws off”

Huh?

If you’re referring to the teacher introduced, it’s “Slughorn”.

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SilverMoonWolf said on July 19th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Explain why you think “Blackest Night” sucked.

I picked it up. I don’t know if I’m as cultured as you when it comes to comics, but unless something is gibberingly stupid, I tend to enjoy my time reading comics. Maybe it’s because I only started reading them religiously a couple years ago, as you probably grew up with them…but honestly, I get this impression of pretentiousness at times when reading your opinions of comics.

They’re small, bite sized pieces of fantasy. That’s it. I know comics can be a brilliant medium for telling truly relevant stories…but most times, they’re just enjoyable fanciful fluff. I don’t expect a magnum opus every time I open a comic.

Consider me a philistine if you must, but I think you’re ruining it for yourself.

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mygif

I was okay with Blackest Night as well. I think of it as a story about the nature of death in the DCU, albeit in a gory, over-the-top sort of way. The irony of Black Lantern versions of two of the nicer people you could meet killing off a far tougher couple? Deliciously ironic.

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mygif

I didn’t even bother with “Blackest Night”, to be honest, because it seems like DC and Marvel have only two stories these days: Kill off everyone who’s alive, and bring back everyone who’s dead. This time, Geoff Johns thought he was being immensely clever by doing both at once. :)

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mygif

I wish I had a penny for every time I’ve heard someone gently chide someone else for having a negative opinion about a comic, SilverMoonWolf, in just about exactly the same friendly- and helpful-sounding language you employ here.

I will give you this: you didn’t call MGK “dude” when you advised him to lighten up.

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mygif

Silvermoonwolf:

>Explain why you think “Blackest Night” sucked.

Because it’s fundamentally a pretty goddamn boring comic. It’s all setup – exposition, a couple of gory murders, blah blah blah.

When I buy a superhero comic I pretty much want

1.) superheroes punching things
2.) superheroes being heroic
3.) villains being villainous

Blackest Night #1 has #3, and it’s not even a particularly good iteration of #3; some boring, not very clever speeches and some horrific bloodshed do not good villainy make. It doesn’t have anything in the first two categories, which are by far the most important for me to enjoy a straight-up blockbuster event story like Blackest Night is supposed to be.

Also, I just don’t care about Hawkman and Hawkgirl, so I don’t care if they die or are resurrected or what.

Also also, the writing is just bad bad bad bad bad. This is below-fanfic-quality dialogue and narration; it is so bad it is almost a parody of itself.

Starman Matt:

think Johns including the nods to “Infinite Crisis” was actually a rebuttal against those storylines and the Ralph/Sue killing Carter/Kendra was meant to be symbolic of how the death-based mini-series (Infinite Crisis) is killing off real character development and letting major changes come about in regular series (i.e. everything Johns did with Kendra and Carter in his original run on JSA)

Look, I’ve read Geoff Johns comics I liked and ones I didn’t, but the one thing about Geoff Johns is this: he doesn’t do subtle. Remember that his most famous allegory in a comic story is fucking Superboy Prime. If it doesn’t have a big giant OBVIOUS METAPHOR stamped on it, Geoff Johns likely isn’t using one.

Also? They were hinting at this story YEARS before Marvel Zombies.

Marvel Zombies was originally published in December 2005, approximately six months after Green Lantern: Rebirth finished up. Rebirth doesn’t really hint at the idea of Black Lanterns – much less zombies or death-power or what have you – at all. In fact that didn’t really show up until Sinestro Corps War in 2007.

Not that this really matters; I’m just saying.

Jason:

The irony of Black Lantern versions of two of the nicer people you could meet killing off a far tougher couple? Deliciously ironic.

Except that it isn’t ironic at all, but yeah.

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mygif

I thought it was ironic. If it’s not textbook ironic, I’ll take it back. And I guess I have patience in the miniseries, or that I have more tolerance for DC big events. In all fairness, after Cry For Justice, I didn’t want to burn James Robinson at the stake. Just want to show where I’m coming from.

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mygif

Well, the ironic bit is them getting killed JUST AS Hawkgirl is saying “I love you”, and though they try to lampshade that as it being their destiny to get killed every time they admit their feelings, that A) doesn’t fit and B) is still really stupid.

And frankly, the “ironic” bit of it is what makes it annoying. Johns always goes way over the top in the horrible carnage department, trying to make his villains look badass by having them kill an average of 5 babies per issue, never going the subtle route. (Seriously, who’s more terrifying, Superboy Prime or Max Cady?)

It doesn’t work anymore.

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mygif

I have not and will not read “Blackest Night”, but it’s really disturbing and frustrating to me how many comics fans drag out the “just relax and enjoy” defense when defending their favourite comic. It seems perilously close to “stop having standards, dude”.

Mainstream DC and Marvel comics should be beholden to the same standards as any other comic; giving them a pass because they involve characters you’re attached to (which is an attitude the Big Two have been actively encouraging for decades) is one way to ensure comics continue to get nichier and more obscure and the whole industry gets closer and closer to collapsing.

I’m not denying the fun to be had with playing around with superhero continuity, but if that’s ALL you’re doing, you’re appealing to a very very small sector of even the comics-reading audience, and it’s hardly surprising that a lot of people will react negatively. “Blackest Night” (and indeed, most of what Geoff Johns writes) sounds like DC continuity porn and prismatic age bullshit that takes superheroes way too seriously. Hey, correct me if I’m wrong.

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I’ve been trying to pinpoint what exactly it was about Blackest Night that bugged me and I think it’s that it committed the cardinal sin of comics — it takes its own ludicrous premise way too seriously. There are plenty of comic writers who could have made this premise lots of stupid fun (Van Lente, Parker or Morrison for starters) but in Johns’ hands it becomes a morbid, mopey slog. I got some big laughs out of this comic but I can’t convince myself that *ANY* of them were intentional.

That said, I am looking forward to BN: Wonder Woman. Rucka might be able to make good use of this premise.

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equinox216 said on July 19th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

I have a category of movie, which transcends traditional genres, that I call/consider ‘good dumb American fun’, or a ‘popcorn movie’. It’s the movie you don’t expect anything from in terms of quality plot, dialogue or acting, and are therefore completely unsurprised when anything like those things fails to appear. If they DO appear, I count it an unexpected bonus.

How you react to something like Blackest Night will revolve entirely around what expectations you bring into it, as concerns comics in general, the particular author (Johns), DC editing, and this storyline.

Telling someone how they ‘ought (not) to’ react, whether more or less seriously, to a piece of fiction/art, however, falls outside the bounds of personal taste and into ‘being pushy’, to use the most polite language possible.

MGK didn’t. What he said was that he didn’t like it. While it seems like most of the time he doesn’t approach most big titles as the printed versions of the ‘popcorn movies’ categorization, THAT’S PERFECTLY OKAY. You can still want some evidence of CRAFT in what’s otherwise light entertainment.

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Meanderthal said on July 19th, 2009 at 10:45 pm

Regarding Blackest Night, well…I liked the artwork. The writing was, as MGK describes, fucking tedious. We’ll see if issue 2 improves things any.

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mygif

I just had a problem with the “I smell a mystery” line and how it raped everything that I have ever loved, as a child and today.

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MGK Said:
…the one thing about Geoff Johns is this: he doesn’t do subtle. Remember that his most famous allegory in a comic story is fucking Superboy Prime. If it doesn’t have a big giant OBVIOUS METAPHOR stamped on it, Geoff Johns likely isn’t using one.

His most famous allegory? Perhaps. And I agree that he does do some pretty over the top shout-outs sometimes (my all time favorite is the “They call me MISTER Terrific” scene with the Klansmen in JSA) but to dismiss the idea that he can’t do subtle metaphors because of one very unsubtle metaphor (which, IIRC, was more Dan Dido’s idea than Johns’) is asinine.

Case in point; the subtext in the opening arc of JSA regarding Jack Knight and Dinah Lance flirting; subtle parallel of the relationship/partnership between their parents, mentioned in one of the Times Past stories as well as JLA: Year One, where it is revealed that Ted Knight and Dinah Lance Sr. had a brief affair together. No hitting over the head with the continuity bat – just a brief nod-nod, wink wink.

MGK Said:
Rebirth doesn’t really hint at the idea of Black Lanterns – much less zombies or death-power or what have you – at all. In fact that didn’t really show up until Sinestro Corps War in 2007.

Well, except for that scene at the start where Spectre Hal fights Black Hand. This doesn’t mention the Death Power specifically, but does start off the arc that leads Black Hand to where he is at the start of Blackest Night. And the first mention of the prophecy of the War of Light IS in Rebirth, along with several mentions of the various forces behind the other color/emotions (i.e. Batman, at one point, says Superman can hope better than anyone). To say nothing of Parallax being a living, breathing testament as to the existence of the Fear energy, though we don’t get a name for it until later….

There’s also the scenes in GL #5-6 (November 2005) where Black Hand gets the death touch…

You know… not that it matters.

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Gustopher said on July 20th, 2009 at 12:34 am

“Blackest Night #1” would better have been called “Yet Another Prelude to Blackest Night”.

I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it either. It sets the stage for what is coming in a very ham-fisted way, and if we are done with the prologue, it served it’s purpose.

Geoff John’s writing is typically above average, which I mean in the most backhanded way possible. He is adequate, he should be average, but alas, many other writers just suck.

“The Sinestro Corps War” was exactly what a summer comics event should be — big, romping adventure, and never managed to be more than that.

If “Blackest Night” achieves that level of mediocrity, it will be adequate. And in the end, I think Johns can reach that level of mediocrity.

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mygif

I have not and will not read “Blackest Night”, but it’s really disturbing and frustrating to me how many comics fans drag out the “just relax and enjoy” defense when defending their favourite comic. It seems perilously close to “stop having standards, dude”.

Which was exactly why I loved Final Crisis. A huge bulk of fanboy complaints arose from the fact that in many places you couldn’t just sit back and enjoy the super-shenanigans; you had to actually think about what happened.

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mygif

I didn’t like it at all. Whatever happened to superheroes who legitimately enjoyed being superheroes having adventures that weren’t exercises in blood and death? I’m not suggesting everything has to be The Super Friends but I mean come on, this endless cycle of blood and death in the DCU is just getting tired. Can we please get back to thwarting Felix Faust and evil giant starfish and away from this gore porn?

Stac

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Tornado Ninja Fan said on July 20th, 2009 at 4:01 am

After playing both multiple times I think “Vinci” is the better version of the game.

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mygif

My problem is that the “War of Light” was supposed to lead to the Blackest night…i mean it’s been said in every tedious Guardian scene for the past 2 years….and yet…they forgot the freaking War of Light. Out of nowhere the Guardians say “Hey look! the War of Light!” in this issue. I mean, yes, we’ve been getting the ever slow introduction to the other …corps….in GL with Hal getting his “I’m the greatest ever, I’ll be the White Lantern!!!!” foreshadowing in. While GLC has been stuck in a never ending Mongul story, with the occassional mass slaughter of every GL.

But the actual war? One panel mention after the fact.

(and it’s still never explained why all these groups are going with Lantern/Ring combos…that seems a bit ..samey.)

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mygif

You know eventually your arm will be twisted and you’ll have to do a Johns parody comic.

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mygif

Yar, I’m SINESTRO. I use FEAR as a WEAPON. You’re HAL JORDAN. You use WILLPOWER. I bet you once FELT FEAR. Yar. EVERYONE feels FEAR sometimes, and that is why I will WIN.

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mygif

I will point out, just for the record, that the reason why people keep finding “foreshadowing” of the Blackest Night and the War of Light is because Geoff Johns took the whole thing from an old Alan Moore “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” story published back in the early 80s. Seriously, it’s been reprinted in the “Across the DC Universe” collection of everything Alan Moore wrote before he and DC parted ways.

And it occurred to me tonight that Geoff Johns really only has one story he ever tells. Basically, it’s a three-part process.

1) Obscure, lame DC villain shows up, but this time he/she Means Business, and is No Joke Anymore. He/she usually demonstrates this by whacking an obscure/lame hero that Geoff Johns never liked much anyway, almost always in as over-the-top, grotesque, absurdly brutal as possible a way (Mordru and Kid Eternity/Fate, Ultra-Humanite and Johnny Thunder, Mister Mind and Waverider. Basically, Geoff Johns wants to make it clear that These Aren’t Kid’s Comics Anymore and that everyone who ragged on him in junior high is wrong, wrong, wrong!)

2) Heroes are taken aback, and spend large periods of time getting their butts kicked while whining about how much more Serious and Dangerous this villain is and how Things Aren’t Like They Used To Be, back when it was All Just Fun and Games. The heroes always talk about this. A lot.

3) Geoff Johns’ favorite Silver Age character shows up, coming back from the dead if necessary, and kicks the villain’s ass without breaking a sweat because they are so awesome. (Hawkman, Green Lantern, Flash, Silver Scarab, Johnny Thunder, the list goes on and on.) Everyone basks in the radiant awesomeness of this character, taking the time to tell them how utterly awesome they are and how great it is that they’re great.

So basically, depend on “Blackest Night” to end with Hal Jordan beating up Black Hand and saving/redeeming all the dead heroes. And then having on-panel sex with Geoff Johns while the rest of the JSA watches. :)

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Jonny Kiehlmann said on July 20th, 2009 at 9:14 am

Not read Blackest Night or any of the Marvel Zombies, but if you’re speaking about the Genesis of Marvel Zombies, shouldn’t you be looking at the Ultimate Fantastic Four where they first showed up?

Actually, really Walking Dead (which I’ve also not read), would be a lot more of an accurate comparison. Wasn’t MZ series supposed to let Kirkman translate his success on that series into a Marvel thing?

And I’ve more or less stopped reading Geoff Johns, just because he can’t seem to write less than 2.5 bb/i (buckets of blood per issue). I don’t mind gore, but a lot that he does seems to get excessive and jsut revelling in it. He also seems to favour killing too much for my liking.

There’s an old issue Howard the Duck, when he’s running for President and gets asked what his opinion on portrayals of violence in the media is. He says that he’s ok with it being shown, as long as it’s portrayed honestly, and not made to seem cathartic, as a release. This sounds way too old for a 22 year old to be saying, but I can’t help thinking that these days death (except tragic celebs) does seem to be glossed over too much. Violence, increasingly, is just portrayed as a good thing.

I don’t think I like what this says about us as a society. [I say this as someone who loves Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, counts Trainspotting and Hot Fuzz as favourite films, has seen all of the Sopranos, The Wire, and read full runs of Preacher and Transmet. And loves BSG. I know there’s some contradiction there. I just worry about negative change in societal views.]

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mygif

The whole Multicolored Lanterns thing still bugs me. When there were just the Green Lanterns, it didn’t matter why they were green. Now, where do we stop? Mark my words, in five years, we’ll be right back here with the Infrared Lanterns, Ultraviolet Lanterns, maybe even AM and FM Lanterns. As soon as Johns or somebody can think of a few more emotions to tie them into. Oh, and just where were all these other power groups for the last ten to fifteen billion years? Why has nobody ever heard of them before? Were they just sitting around playing Mah Jong until their cue? If anybody ever explained that, I must have missed it.

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Starman & John Seavey:

I’d just like to point out that Geoff had nothing to do with the first arc of JSA. That was written by James Robinson & David Goyer. Johns didn’t start co-writing until #5.

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Stig said:
“Which was exactly why I loved Final Crisis. A huge bulk of fanboy complaints arose from the fact that in many places you couldn’t just sit back and enjoy the super-shenanigans; you had to actually think about what happened.”

I couldn’t sit back and enjoy the super-shenanigans because I found them impossible to enjoy. I’m a huge fan of Grant Morrison, but FC was one of the worst examples of plotting, pacing, even drama that I have had the misfortune ever to read. When I tried to think about it later, as you recommend, all I felt was despair at the time I’d lost.

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Jonny Kiehlmann said on July 20th, 2009 at 1:36 pm

Samus, Stig’s point was that you had to think during, not later, about what was going on.

Regardless of Final Crisis’s worth, your response there completely missed Stig’s point utterly, and indicates that you don’t seem to understand what he’s saying.

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GuyIncognito said on July 20th, 2009 at 2:12 pm

“like Michael Cera if Michael Cera wasn’t sometimes horribly annoying in a sort of “I need to punch you in the face” way.”

THIS. George Michael Bluth was a funny character when he was onscreen for 2 minutes an episode and surrounded by equally quirky characters.

He can’t carry a movie. Stop it.

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mygif

And then having on-panel sex with Geoff Johns while the rest of the JSA watches.

Well, I’m sold.

To the comic repository!

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Brad Reed said on July 20th, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Mark my words, in five years, we’ll be right back here with the Infrared Lanterns, Ultraviolet Lanterns, maybe even AM and FM Lanterns.

“From the bravest hero
To the most cowardly crook,
No frozen burrito
Will go uncooked!”
THE MICROWAVE LANTERN OATH

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Brad Reed said on July 20th, 2009 at 3:35 pm

Whoop — didn’t get the “quote” code to work there…

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Brad Reed said on July 20th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

OH WAIT:

“Victory is assured
Justice never defeated
Frozen burritos henceforth
Will all be reheated.”
THE MICROWAVE LANTERN OATH

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mygif

Jonny, all due respect, I can’t understand why someone wouldn’t be thinking while they’re reading.

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Lister Sage said on July 20th, 2009 at 4:16 pm

Brad Reed: That could actually get me to start reading Lantern books actually. Though they’re going to get in trouble when they try and do the Gamma Corps (not that that comic was very good anyway).

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In smallest town or biggest hold,
Ne’er evil escape our fold
Let those who are to darkness pull’d
Hear our soothing Oldies Gold!

–AM Lantern’s Oath

From darkest stage to brightest show
None shall feel evil’s woe
All those who would to shadow flow
Will see our mighty flashy glow!

–Ultraviolet Lantern’s Oath

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mygif

I feel the need to correct myself: Geoff Johns didn’t take the Blackest Night from Moore, he took Sodam Yat, the Daxamite Green Lantern from Moore.

Yes, I am voluntarily correcting my own misinformation. Clearly, I do not understand how the Internet works.

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“Say what you will about Marvel Zombies, but that was a comic that took the essential monstrous horror of zombies and did some very entertaining and even witty things with it. Blackest Night, in comparison, seems determined to hit us over the head with This Is Serious Business With The Zombies. And that’s just not any fun for me.”

Personally I’m not a fan of zombies. So to get me to purchase a book with them it needs to be serious business.

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mygif

Stig: I always think about the comics I’m reading. FInal Crisis didn’t have places where you had to think, where you had to analyze what was going on, it had gaps where you had to fill in your own version of events. If I want a story where I decide what happens at crucial moments I’d write one myself.

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Dan Coyle said on July 22nd, 2009 at 2:40 pm
mygif

“Personally I’m not a fan of zombies. So to get me to purchase a book with them it needs to be serious business.”

See, I can’t relate to this reaction at all. If I’m not too hot on something, taking it lightly makes it more palatable; upping the seriousness just makes what I dislike about a thing even worse.

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