Saturday, January 15, 2011

COMIC: Top of the Stack - Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special #1 (Review)

Written by Geoff Johns
Pencils by Brett Booth
Cover by Gene Ha

Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $3.99

Christmas week brought an abundance of outstanding stories to my comic book stack and three solid contenders emerged for Top of the Stack status. Batman Annual #28 brought the conclusion of the two-part story from the Detective Comics annual published earlier in the month and Zatanna #8 was the start of a new story arc with interior art drawn by one of my favorite current artists, Cliff Chiang. But there was no denying that it might have been fate that the clever release of the Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special just days before Christmas would end up being the perfect cap to a stellar week.

Superstar writer Geoff Johns was at the helm of this Christmas tale and used the special one-shot as an opportunity to display his prowess at telling an individual story - something that sometimes gets hidden with his prior Top of the Stack winner, Brightest Day and the vast space epic that is Green Lantern. Outside of the Red Lantern kitty, Dex-Starr, the other character Johns created during the expansion phase of Green Lantern that seems to have a special place with fans is the sole Orange Lantern, Larfleeze. With an Red Lantern ongoing book upcoming in 2011, it seems only right for Larfleeze to get some time in the spotlight with this Christmas Special.

The special does a great job of rounding out Larfleeze as a character, who previously as a periphery character in the Green Lantern books only is really known for his greed. It starts out on Christmas morning as Larfleeze awakes with the excitement of a little child at the thought of all the presents awaiting him and his Orange Lantern construct Glomulus from the list he had made. Of course he had not understood the entire story surrounding Christmas so to his dismay there were no presents waiting and that sends him on a chase across the world as he searches for Santa and finds out the true meaning of Christmas from Hal Jordan.

But as fun as the chase was and Larfleeze's actions were during it, the best part of the book was the touching moment at the end that as a reader you were not expecting to see from Larfleeze but there it was, another moment in time like Johns has shown with the Red Lantern Atrocitus, Dex-Starr and Bleez that there are sad stories attached to each of these seemingly villainous characters that make you care about them.

Artist Gene Ha provides the art for the cover and perfectly illustrates how Larfleeze would like to spend Christmas and probably was spending it leading up to Christmas Day. And I believe there might even be a Grinch allusion in the cover with the little girl looking on at Larfleeze having a resemblance to a certain Who from Whoville, Cindy Lou. The interiors are drawn by Brett Booth, someone I am not entirely familiar with but his art fit perfectly for the spastic, aggressive quality Larfleeze brings to the pages.

Right now it feels like the Green Lantern books are a little bogged down with so much happening and the fact that apparently Hal is still "dating" Cowgirl even though we haven't seen her for like four years, but the depth to the characters in this section of the DC Universe is something to praise and what I look forward to while the Lantern books muddle through this story arc dealing with the entities that represent each color ring.

Check out Geek Plate's Tumblr for today's Green Lantern: Larfleeze themed picspam.

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