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Old February 1st, 2006   Paul_King is offline   #1
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Default Rann - Thanagar War Special / Ion prequel review by Paul King *SPOILERS*

**SPOILERS**

Rann – Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special #1 (R-T W: ICS)

I’ll start this review with a synopsis of the Rann – Thanagar Saga to explain the timeline leading up to this special. Like any good space opera the Rann – Thanagar Saga is divided into Episodes. Think Star Wars.

Episode I – Green Lantern: Rebirth
Episode II - Adam Strange: Planet Heist

Interlude – Hawkman #46

Episode III – Rann – Thanagar War Miniseries

Interlude II – Hawkman #47 to #49

Episode IV – Infinite Crisis #1 to #4
Episode V - Rann – Thanagar War: Infinite Crisis Special

It continues from here into Ion #1 and Infinite Crisis #5

Do you need all the previous chapters to understand R–T W: ICS? Not necessarily but Infinite Crisis #1 through #4 sure helps. Do you need R-T W: ICS to understand Infinite Crisis? Again, not necessarily but I’ll give you reason why you should.

Plot Synopsis :
It picks up with a team of our heroes (collected together in various titles but the important people are introduced to new readers as we go) in outer space. They face big scary hands coming out of an energy field. It sounds a little silly but Infinite Crisis sets this up and in a book with flying pick hippo thingies (Kilowog) the hands end up fitting right in.

We are also re-introduced to the sides of the Rann-Thanagar War. The planet Rann was teleported into the space right next to the planet Thanagar. The war is a product of Thanagar being moved out of its orbit by Rann. Putting Thanagar too close to the sun (Polaris) of that galaxy.

Sardath (Adam Strange’s father-in-law) is at a loss as to why Thanagar was moved so far. Rann’s teleportation should not be the culprit. As the space team tries to keep a wedge between the Ranns and Thanagarians, some evidence comes to light.

The space team is recalled as each side retreats to regroup. The Guardians command Kyle Rayner (Green Lantern) stay in space to keep resistance against the hands. Jade (Jenny-Lynn Hayden, daughter of Green Lantern Alan Scott) offers to stay with him.

As Adam Strange, Hawkman and others discover who’s behind Thanagar being moved so far out of orbit.

The information is in a surveillance satellite. The hands lash out and destroy the satellite. Adam Strange has another idea to obtain the truth behind the Thanagar crisis.

Kyle and Jade decide to find out who is behind the hands. Energy radiates out and then is drawn back in. They decide to ride the drawn energy to its source. Jade discovers the energy is targeting Kyle. She saves Kyle by sacrificing herself. She transfers her power to Kyle.

The tide of War is turned and a new hero emerges: Ion! The connection (circle) is now complete between the Starheart and the Power Battery. Kyle is the link between Hal and Alan’s powers.

Story :
Well the Kyle Rayner character is a lighting rod of controversy. I’m sure this issue will get over scrutinized on that fact alone.

I’ll review this as a comic without extrapolating on pro/con Kyle rhetoric.

The issue is very good. A couple moments shy of great but still very good. The really good is the beats R-T W: ICS hits. It wraps up the Mini and ties it right into Infinite Crisis. One of the reveals needed to wait until after Infinite Crisis #4. The idea of a special attached to the mini makes sense. The other nice thing about the Special is it does a good job of being self-contained as an intro to the Ion character.

All you really need to know is explained and the other stuff is eye candy. Don’t be fooled: this special IS a set-up to the Ion series and continues into Infinite Crisis #5. Even though it wraps up the mini, there is a big To Be Continued… feeling to the end.

Unlike some parts of the R-T W mini, every character is in character. Mostly Kyle is very Kyle-like. No “Great Guardians” or science-speak.

The death (as is most Kyle Rayner vicinity deaths) will be much debated.

Remember death comes in many shapes and sizes. Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond) and several characters in Infinite Crisis were dispatched rather quickly without fanfare. In the original Crisis: Barry Allen melted away in two pages and Supergirl was blasted in one panel. Deaths are rarely epic.

No matter how Kyle gave Jade her powers, Kyle and Jade formed a special bond when Kyle was last known as Ion. He rearranged her DNA. This connection is how the powers could be given to Kyle. The issue itself doesn’t dwell on this fact because it’s best for the story to move along. We as readers want every minutia explained, but as any good Director/Editor on a movie that sometimes you have to lose parts to service the momentum of the story. The exact inner workings of the power transfer are to be worked out by the reader. This is a good thing. The momentum of the story is never compromised.

Now the only things that hold this issue back from being great: A piece of dialogue and the fact there is no big plot resolution. Sure the story ties up the mini and sets the stage for the next chapter. Not enough tension is built up for Jade so the death is more matter-of-fact than the crescendo of the plot. This is how it is in war but in a comic you can take liberties to build up the hero’s sacrifice.

The piece of dialogue is when Alan Scott says, “Jenny you’re… yourself again.” It doesn’t fit because there lacks a spot where Alan comments on Jade NOT BEING HERSELF. It seems a strange thing for a Father to say at the loss of his daughter.

I’d give it an 8 out of 10. It maintains the feel of the R-T mini and created excitement in me for the new Ion series.

ART :

Ivan Reis is one of the great artists now making a mark in comics. His detail is spot-on. Every panel is full but not overwhelming. Each character is distinct and expressive. The redesign of Ion looks great. The costume looks amazing. I'm not a fan of Kyle’s face being covered because I find faces expressive and a great way into the character. Of course, Spider-Man has made having his face-covered work for quite a while now.

*edit* Joe Prado did such a wonderful and seemless job on 12 of the pages that I did not notice when the artists changed. Great work Joe!

The only comment I have in a less-than-favorable light about Ivan is the 2-page spread death scene. Jade gets zapped right under Kyle’s armpit of a different panel while the beats between the two larger panels are pushed to the far right. There is no flow to the pages. No build-up to the shock. Maybe this is why the death seems more matter-of-fact that shocking.

I’ll give the art a 9 of 10. Loving that Ivan Reis is on GL proper, his art is so good here; I wish he was going to be on Ion. Kyle’s new outfit looks THAT good.

Cover :

Dave Gibbons’ cover is nice. Like his Kyle being front and center since the issue is biggest for him. Too bad there is not much action or pop to denote a major issue in dealing with Jade’s future (or lack there of) or the reveal for Infinite Crisis.

Not everything has to be Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 or Firestorm #21 but I love covers you can’t help but pick up. Not a fan of posed covers. I like the covers so I HAVE to get it and see inside.

Not a comment on Dave’s art but the cover itself gets a 5 out of 10 for me. It's great art but plain composition.

Overall: I felt I got my money's worth and an important chapter of Kyle Rayner's story to boot.

-Paul

(How'd I do?)
Last edited by Paul_King; February 1st, 2006 at 06:42 PM.
 
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Old February 1st, 2006   Augustine is offline   #2
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I said it in the other thread and I'm going to say it here too because you deserve the comment and that is **** good review!

I hope this means you are going to do future reviews, it was a great piece, especially for a first timer.
 
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Old February 1st, 2006   Holiday is offline   #3
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Nicely done. I totally agree with your overall feeling of the series.
 
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Old February 1st, 2006   Torch Bearer is offline   #4
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You're a real pro critic Paul, you gotta review Ion.
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Ion81 is offline   #5
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All you really need to know is explained and the other stuff is eye candy. Don’t be fooled: this special IS a set-up to the Ion series and continues into Infinite Crisis #5. Even though it wraps up the mini, there is a big To Be Continued… feeling to the end.
ddf
How so ? Alex already brought back earth 2 in ic4 , why would they need to battle his hands if he has done this. I'm aware he is going to do more than earth 2 , but it seems like at the moment this issue takes place during ic4 and what they are rushing off to stop has already finished


Remember death comes in many shapes and sizes. Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond) and several characters in Infinite Crisis were dispatched rather quickly without fanfare. In the original Crisis: Barry Allen melted away in two pages and Supergirl was blasted in one panel. Deaths are rarely epic.
ddf
Hopefully those characters will be back soon (even ted kord) as thier deaths were meaningless (esp Ronnies)

However Barry's death was huge and while he died in two pages the set up spanned many comics , he even apeared in others while he was dieing (running backwards in time) and his death stoped the anti monitors plans from going foward. Kara's death was also big (much bigger than jennies) she died saving Superman . You don't get a much better death than that .

No matter how Kyle gave Jade her powers, Kyle and Jade formed a special bond when Kyle was last known as Ion. He rearranged her DNA. This connection is how the powers could be given to Kyle. The issue itself doesn’t dwell on this fact because it’s best for the story to move along. We as readers want every minutia explained, but as any good Director/Editor on a movie that sometimes you have to lose parts to service the momentum of the story. The exact inner workings of the power transfer are to be worked out by the reader. This is a good thing. The momentum of the story is never compromised.
ddf
More like in the wake of rebirth kyle fans don't want even more of his 13 years as gl retconned away or missunderstood. We aren't talking about an issue from 10 years ago , this issue is at the most 4 years old and I believe is collected in the power of ion trade paper back . So its readly availble for those who want to read it . It states clearly that he is giving her back her powers by simply reactivating her dormante jeans that accessed the power.

Now the only things that hold this issue back from being great: A piece of dialogue and the fact there is no big plot resolution. Sure the story ties up the mini and sets the stage for the next chapter. Not enough tension is built up for Jade so the death is more matter-of-fact than the crescendo of the plot. This is how it is in war but in a comic you can take liberties to build up the hero’s sacrifice.
ddf
Things that hold this issue back from being worth reading. 1) The superboy pushing the planets was explained in ic4 . Took the winds out of that story. 2) there is no resultion , 3 ) jades death is just there and does nothing to anyone but alan in terms of emotional change. 4) almost nothing about Ion is explained and nothing even hinting at the maxi's direction is there . Its almost all matter of factly we have to get kyle from point a to point d with out b and c .

The piece of dialogue is when Alan Scott says, “Jenny you’re… yourself again.” It doesn’t fit because there lacks a spot where Alan comments on Jade NOT BEING HERSELF. It seems a strange thing for a Father to say at the loss of his daughter.
ddf
I really believe she should have returned to her "white" color and it was just a coloring issue. He was touching her skin. But whatever , there were worse things than that in this issue


For the art did you have the problem where it seemed like diffrent artists and colorists were working on this . I had some pages with great coloring and depth and others that were just eh.
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Paul_King is offline   #6
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...........

 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Augustine is offline   #7
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Old February 2nd, 2006   brentac is offline   #8
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Cover :

Dave Gibbons’ cover is nice. Like his Kyle being front and center since the issue is biggest for him. Too bad there is not much action or pop to denote a major issue in dealing with Jade’s future (or lack there of) or the reveal for Infinite Crisis.

Not everything has to be Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 or Firestorm #21 but I love covers you can’t help but pick up. Not a fan of posed covers. I like the covers so I HAVE to get it and see inside.

Not a comment on Dave’s art but the cover itself gets a 5 out of 10 for me. It's great art but plain composition.
ddf
Paul_King
I realize that you're more or less saying that you just thought the cover was "okay" but I freaking loved it, and didn't realize that it was Gibbons who did the cover. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. Anyone know what else Gibbons has done (art wise) and if it's true that he'll be handling the art for the upcoming GLC title?

Also, Paul, very nice review. Good work.

EDIT: Nevermind about my question about Gibbons and the art for GLC...I just read the last page with the previews of upcoming events and it's said he's doing the art for the first 3 issues. Nice.
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Argent is offline   #9
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Dave Gibbons art? Does Watchmen ring a bell?
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   brentac is offline   #10
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Um......Watchmen....yea, I've HEARD of it (but haven't actually read it?)
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Paul_King is offline   #11
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How so ? Alex already brought back earth 2 in ic4 , why would they need to battle his hands if he has done this. I'm aware he is going to do more than earth 2 , but it seems like at the moment this issue takes place during ic4 and what they are rushing off to stop has already finished.
ddf
Ion81
In Infinite Crisis #4 Alex said he wasn't stopping at Earth 2. He would continue until HIS perfect Earth was found.

The threat of Alex messing with parallel Earths is still an ongoing threat as we go into Infinite Crisis #5. So the battle is now carried from the IC Special right into Infinite Crisis #5.

I really tried to bare bones my review because I feel it's not a reviewer's job to tell people the WHOLE story. It's to get people to pick up something or pass on it.

Just so those curious about the R-T Special it absolutely DOES continue into IC #5.

-Paul


(P.S. sorry Spoon)
Last edited by Paul_King; February 2nd, 2006 at 03:40 AM.
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Paul_King is offline   #12
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Dave is a great artist!!

It isn't a bad cover at all!! My taste is towards the covers like Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 or the cover with Superman in a dress (silly example I know) and you Have to get the book to find out what is going on.

A little story with my cover. Dave is awesome, though.

-Paul
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Joshua Pantalleresco is offline   #13
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Good Review Paul. I enjoyed it, and really, do enjoy the fact that not everything was handed to me about Ion. As far as the story goes, I thought the characterization was great considering the speed of the plot, and while the resolution of the book definitely felt like 'To Be Continued...", I thought it was a neat start to Ion and definitely makes me wish for IC #5 (Evil that it's been pushed back; Evil I say) and makes me wonder if Ion is somehow involved in closing the whole from space (He is leading the charge after all.)

Solid. I did like Day of Vengeance slightly better, but enjoyed the issue nonetheless. B+
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Prado2005 is offline   #14
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"*edit* Joe Prado did such a wonderful and seemless job on 12 of the pages that I did not notice when the artists changed. Great work Joe! "

Hey guys! Thanks for the kind words about my work! I had a blast drawing these pages! =)

Thanks again,

Joe P.
 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   Hari Seldon is offline   #15
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Anyone know what else Gibbons has done (art wise) and if it's true that he'll be handling the art for the upcoming GLC title?
ddf
brentac
Gibbons started out as an artist. In fact, he's no stranger to Green Lantern, either - his first work in American comics were the Green Lantern Corps back-up stories, circa 1982 or so.

People liked his work so much that Len Wein hand-picked him to be the artist when he took over the book. Gibbons did some great work on GL, before leaving to draw Watchmen. I'm sure his work in GLC will be awesome. Some of his old GL covers:



 
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Old February 2nd, 2006   brentac is offline   #16
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thanks for posting the cogers. those are great. I'm looking forward to his GLC even more now.
 
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