Friday, January 2, 2015

Avarice is a warthog-dog alien

A very generous person donated a bunch of first volume t.p.s (that's trade paperbacks, not toilet paper, ya lunks) to the library, and when things are in really good condition, we can occasionally add them to the collection.  I found a bunch of New 52s that I hadn't heard of before and decided to look at them first.  The funny thing about our graphic novel collection (okay, this is just one of the many odd things) is that the more traditional, big name superheroes--think Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, the Flash--are all in adult.  Granted, they can get pretty dark, especially Batman, who's like the king of self-loathing.  The *newer* and younger characters--Young Avengers, Avengers Arena (I sorely regret that, but it was a patron request!), Gail Simone's Batgirl, are all in young adult. I think they fit there rather well, plus, they're titles that I'm aware of, so they end up in my collection.

However, I'm not by any means a comics aficionado.  I don't even know a lot of the backstory behind most characters except for what's in the general consciousness.  However, I enjoy reading new things and learning new things.  This doesn't make me a geek poseur.  It makes me someone who's interested in reading more comics.  That's it.

So, in the interests of widening out, I picked Larfleeze: Revolt of the Orange Lanterns by Giffen and DeMatteis as my first t.p.

Um.

Okay.  I know there are different colored lantern corps, and that the different colors relate to different qualities.  Larfleeze, sole user of the orange lantern and orange ring, represents pure greed.  He looks a bit like a space-faring warthog, only shaggier, so add a little dog into the mix.  Larfleeze is obsessed with "things" and making them "his," including his long-suffering butler/slave Stargrave.  While the dialogue was often amusing, and I even laughed a few times, as a whole, this volume felt disjointed.  The first story has really nothing to do with the rest of the issues included, and left me scratching my head.

The main story arc involves these immortal godlike beings who cross over into our universe at the Creation Point, where, up until now, we have believed that things are created and destroyed--not transferred.  Larfleeze and Stargrave are sitting on an asteroid near the creation point, while Larfleeze yammers on (untruthfully) about his past and Stargrave becomes increasingly nervous because they're about to die.  See, due to all the stuff that happened in the first issue, Larfleeze's orange lantern was destroyed.  Therefore, he has no way to charge his ring.  MAGICALLY and oh-so-conveniently, Larfleeze becomes a living source of orange light, thus eliminating the need to have a lantern.

Hold up here just a second.  What?  The authors didn't have to do this.  They could have cut out the superfluous first story and not done something bizarre and mysteriously turned Larfleeze, a flea-ridden pustule of a creature, into an organic light source.  That's simply not fair.  As far as I know, Green and Yellow Lantern Corps members still need lanterns.


ANYWAY.  So.  Gods come into our universe.  Right.  After having destroyed everything in their own universe, a pantheon of sibling/cousin gods come charging into our universe through the Creation Point.  Alas, the first creature they encounter is Larfleeze, not known for rational thinking.  Larfleeze engages in a long, pointless battle with the Laord of the Hunt and becomes his prisoner.  Meanwhile, the Laord's sister/cousin goddess, the Wanderer, informs Stargrave that she has purchased him as a butler, and he really doesn't want to work for her because she wants to turn him into a eunuch.

Look, dude, from what I've seen of Larfleeze, you might just want to go with the goddess lady.  I'm sure she can, like, grow it back.

Anyway, a vague and shadowy threat has followed the gods across the portal, and the Wanderer enlists the aid of her sister Dyrge to fight them.

Wow, this is sounding a LOT like the characters in the Sandman books.  Too much.  I do not take kindly to people ripping off Neil Gaiman.  Dyrge is basically Despair but with more clothing.

In the meantime, Larfleeze is battling all of the other orange lanterns he's trapped in his ring for eons because ... reasons.  The battle scenes were exceedingly busy and hard to follow.  I just kept flipping through them.

There's a nugget of something entertaining here, but it really needs to be polished up.  Stargrave is actually quite fun, though, and his reactions to his master's ridiculous statements are quite often on point.  

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