Friday, June 17, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Bat and Final Thoughts

So why Barbara Gordon?

Mainly, because I see becoming a Lantern as a good way to keep her momentum of getting out of Batman's shadow. I know I'm immediately thrusting her into Lantern's shadow, but really, is there much shadow there? Looking at the current run, there's a host of setting to play with, but given that we've gone through five "primary" lanterns over the years, we really need a character with some gravitas of her own in the role.

Also, I like Barbara. Maybe it's because she shares in the Sacred Bond of Library Science as I do, I dunno. I really liked Oracle as a character, but did not like how Barbara got the role. Well, that's not entirely true. Killing Joke is a great comic, I just have problems with a character being crippled forever and ever in a world where you can't go to the local CVS without running into a super genius doctor who also fights crime in her spare time. If Batman could get over having his back broken, Barbara should have been able to get her legs back.

In my mind, Barbara took up the role of Batgirl for love of adventure. Remember that she didn't have years of training under Batman or his cadre of kung-fu consultants, she just said "That looks like fun, my turn!" and threw on a costume. Over time, though, I could see the adventure start to wear away. Maybe it's just proximity to Batman, maybe it's the different quality of criminal that flocks to Gotham, but I can't see being Batgirl being fun for Barbara after awhile.

So in this setting, she was Batgirl for years, but then Something Happened that really drew a line under the seriousness of the role. I'm going to say it's the murder of her mother at the hands of Joker. That's a nice bookend, I think, as it was the death of his parents that brought Bruce to the Bat, so it is the death of a parent that brings Babs away. Being a member of the Bat-family is not something that comes off when you remove the costume, it's a deep psychological taint that sticks with you. It's not a matter of being normal, nobody who dresses up in longjohns and punches muggers really cares about normalcy, but a sense that you're making a difference. Batman has been fighting crime in Gotham for years and rather than cleaning up, in some ways, the city is getting worse.

So Barbara gives up the mantle of Batgirl, telling Bruce he can find another sidekick. Batman is of course disappointed. He knows that there is something within Barbara that wants to do right by the world, to make it a better place, but he's locked into his own idiom and can't see any way for her to do it but as Batgirl.

John Stewart has another way. He's familiar with Batgirl from previous Justice League interactions and Batman team-ups. He sees someone who wants to help, have an innate sense of justice, a wonderful mind (think about all the mental plates she was able to keep spinning as Oracle), and previous experience. The ring sees her as someone who would totally use it. He'll resist at first, but Jim Gordon will eventually come around when Barbara points out that she's just following in his footsteps, becoming a cop. Sure, her beat won't be Gotham, but it was Gotham's criminals that killed her mom. A space alien isn't going to care about her family or personal vendetta. Heck, they probably won't even see anything beyond the ring.

So Barbara will be the junior Green Lantern of sector 2814 by Issue #4 or so. This will give her time to come to grips with who she is and what she wants, but also will give the reader an entry-point into the often dense sci-fi setting that the Lanterns get in to. She'll even be able to make some guest appearances in some of the other Lantern titles. I imagine her costume would be pretty neat, sort of a mix between her old Batgirl outfit and a fresher Lantern look (glowing green cape?). I'd draw it, but as you'll soon see from the banner for this blog I'm doodling, I can't even trace.

So the Lantern titles are:

  • Green Lantern - The base title. John Stewart is the star. (8/52)
  • Tales of the Green Lantern Corps - A more sci-fi title, not set on Earth at all. Hal and Guy (and even Kyle, I guess) make appearances here in these 4-6 issue self-contained stories. These stories can be flashbacks or can join in with whatever the ongoing metaplot is. (9/52)
  • Green Lantern Cadets - A more youth-oriented title. Soap opera inspired by those rows and rows of manga I see at the Barnes & Nobles. More on this at a later time. (10/52)

And there we go! I'll revisit the Lanterns in the future once I start making up some story synopsis. The overall arc would be the slow discovery of the Horrible Truth of the Green Lanterns, but we'll have many parsecs to go before we get there.

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of a glowing green cape that disappears when she has to concentrate on other things.