Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Review - Green Lantern: Dragon Lord

Green Lantern: Dragon Lord

Penciller: Paul Gulacy
Inker: Josef Rubinstein
Writer: Doug Moench
Colorist: James Sinclair
Separator: Digital Chameleon
Letterer: Bob Lappan

Summary – Green Lantern Dragon Lord is a 3 Part prestige format mini series chronicling the adventures of Earth’s first Green Lantern. Jong Li, the last surviving Dragon Lord has come to be the Green Lantern of Earth. This tale has since been retconned I believe, due to the fact that Hal Jordan is now the first Green Lantern from Earth. Still this is a great martial arts inspired tale featuring a Green Lantern who doesn’t have or need to depend on the magic of the ring. If you are a fan of period martial arts movies such as the Shaw Brothers films, Duel to the Death, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, HERO, etc.. Then this will be right up your alley.


The Good –

Paul Gulacy and Josef Rubinstein do an excellent job on transporting us to Ancient China. The scenery is rendered very well and is just great to look at. Pagoda’s, Bonsai Trees and the castle are all great looking. As a fan of Asian History I was very pleased with the accuracy in which these surroundings were depicted. He also draws great fight scenes and some good looking women. What else can a martial arts fan ask for?

The writer of the series Doug Moench is best known for his work on Batman. It is no surprise that he writes this martial artist turned Green Lantern so well. It seems it was a natural assignment for him.

He seems very well versed in Eastern Philosophy as shown by how he writes Jong Li’s master and Jong Li himself.

This tale is broken up into three acts, the first one introduces all the major players, the second puts them in a dire situation and the third act finishes things up. Pretty standard structure, but it is the visuals that bring this story to life. No matter where Gulacy and the art team take you, I think you’ll be pleased with the scenery.

Another thing I like about this story is that it is a martial arts tale first and a Green Lantern tale second. Jong Li only uses the Green Lantern ring when he absolutely has to. If he can rely on his superior martial arts ability, he’ll use that instead. He knows how power can corrupt and avoids using the ring unless the circumstances are dire.

The Bad –

A little bit more explanation on the alien who gave Li the power ring would have been nice. I guess it was all just setup, but it would have been nice to get some background. He didn’t even wear the mask or uniform of the GLC. Although the year this takes place in is 660 AD on Earth. I wonder if the GLC issues mandatory uniforms after this.

The roles of General Shan and that of the Emperor were templates of sorts. I’ve seen those same types of characters and situations used in other stories. Although since this was one big homage to kung-fu movies that’s ok. I can live with it as I lived with the goodness of Kill Bill.

The ending is a little too abrupt and happy for my taste, but it could have been worse. It really doesn’t feel like an ending. More like the ending to a tv pilot. Perhaps the team envisioned other tales featuring Jong Li and desired to leave it open so they could tell them.

Still this is a pretty good book that is worth your time to read. See if you can track them down, I’m sure you can get these on the cheap due to them being marketed to a niche audience.

Recommendation: Buy It


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