Overcoming Great Fear

Screenshot 2014-07-01 14.58.32In 2007 DC’s Green Lantern titles launched an event called “The Sinestro Corps War.” It was a singular story that spanned across all Green Lantern related books. Geoff Johns had begun a run on Green Lantern (2004-2011; 2011-2013) that brought back Hal Jordan from the dead and expanded the mythology to included nine lantern corps (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violent, Black, White) and various other characters from the origins of the entire mythos, like the first lanterns.

This 2007 story line is a shining jewel in his award-winning run. When I had started reading comics this story had concluded and DC was finishing Final Crisis so I never really got into it. Recently though I was able to purchase it and it was well worth the price. Geoff Johns teams up with writers David Gibbons and Peter J. Tomasi, and artists Ivan Reis, Patrick Gleason, and Ethan Van Sciver to pull off a work of pure art.

All a person has to do is open up the book and just look at the artwork that Reis and Gleason do (Sciver mainly does covers). The artists styles are consistent with each other, by that I mean that there isn’t much difference between them to distract the reader. They go hand-in-hand. And it is beautiful. Artists are really directors, camera operators, and actors all rolled up into one person with a pen. They have to stage the action so that the panels convey what the writers want to the reader in a way the works for the eye. They have to go from shot to shot in their layouts to that there is a narrative flow. Then the characters have to feel like they are real. They have to emote, they have to move like people. And in the art team pulls it off as well as can be.

The real secret to the story is that the writers have crafted a story that is timeless. The story is born from our time and yet isn’t bound by it. In this page read the green caption boxes to see Hal Jordan’s monologue:

Screenshot 2014-07-01 15.06.01Jordan speaks of a world where terrorism is a norm and forces the reader to ask how can we not succumb to the fear and terror?

But there’s more! The titular villain goes on to explain his motivations as a character and for starting this war on this page:

Screenshot 2014-07-01 15.09.33Sinestro desires to rule by fear. He seeks order and justice, but by means of terror. We live in a world where people live under such men who lead as Sinestro would. This story asks us if we have the will to resist the fear and terror that is all around us.

And that’s what is so great about this story. The heroes are all afraid but rise up to overcome their fears and repel Sinestro’s forces of fear. When the Guardians, the leaders of the Green Lanterns, succumb to fear and legalize lethal force for their Lantern Corps to fight back with, the story does so in a way that doesn’t condone the effort. The violence only creates new problems for the Corps. It has solved nothing. And our heroes question the move along the way.

I love Green Lantern (stupid movie!!) and this book is a perfect example of how awesome they are. They are perfect metaphors for exploring our complex emotions safely as we live in a dangerous world, a world that thrives on fear. It beautifully challenges readers to resist the fear and to overcome it.

The only question is: what can motivate one to overcome great fear? What hope lies at the end of the effort? John’s will let the Blue Lanterns deal with that question. But as a Christian I have an answer that Green Lantern can only start me on the road to, but not get me all the way. What hope the the Christian have to overcome great fear? Life graciously granted by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

How do you overcome great fear?




~ by hankimler on July 1, 2014.

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