Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writers: Robbie Thompson, Justin Jordan
Artists: Barnaby Bagenda, Alex Guimarães
Release Date: 12th July 2017
When it comes to crossovers, I think one has to ask oneself – at the formative stage – whether or not there is an audience for your idea. Do Logan and Spock really need to face-off? (And seriously/tangentially, would Spock really be able to nerve-pinch Logan? Surely Spock would be bloody ribbons pretty much immediately.) Is your idea for Ant Man vs Godzilla really that good? (Wait…actually, that could really work…)
And that brings us to this here Lanterns vs Apes showdown, and I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it makes barely any sense on paper. Much as m’esteemed colleague John found the first issue intriguing, I must admit that the idea didn’t exactly tickle my proverbial fancies, and I was struggling to conjure to mind the being that sat in the centre of the PotA fan/Lantern fan Venn diagram. But having now read all six issues, I’m delighted to say that I just so happen to be one incarnation of that particular being, albeit with just a couple of reservations.
The art is… well, when it’s good, it’s pretty terrific. Bagenda absolutely nails the likenesses of the classic PotA characters, with Zaius, Cornelius, Ursus and Zira being immediately, consistently recognisable, and whilst his work on the Lanterns is a little less pleasing, there’s some truly terrific line-work going on within the series as a whole. Which makes it a bit of a shame that on this particular issue, there seems to be quite a few panels that didn’t receive quite as much attention as they perhaps needed. There’s no separate inker listed in the credits, so it’s unclear if it’s Bagenda himself or someone else, but the linework in this issue feels just a little bit rushed and inconsistent, threatening – but never actually managing – to detract from the denouement of what’s otherwise been a consistently good-looking series. Still, taken as a whole, there’s some outstanding work in here, and Bagenda and Guimarães both deserve a tremendous amount of credit for their visual storytelling.
The story does make sense, but only within its own deeply contrived logic, with plot holes you could sail an ocean liner through with room to spare. Still, Thompson’s story-setting is, if nothing else, game for the challenge, and Jordan executes it with dialogue that rings (hah! See what I did there?) true of each of the characters from whose mouths it spills. There’re a couple of bum notes there – with Guy Gardner and Killowog almost criminally under-used, but with so much ground to cover in the crossover, it’s easy enough to forgive. If only as much attention had been minded to the plot feeling as believable as the characters sounded.
Is it more than a little bit silly? Sure. Is it exactly as contrived as you’d expect this particular cross-over to be? Absolutely. But the sheer pace at which it belts along at – combined with the ever-enthusiastic Jordan’s sharp dialogue – glosses over the inherent ridiculousness of the plot and how it resolves itself rather elegantly. Thus, aside from the dubious nature of the ‘will it continue? Who knows?!’ ending, there’s nothing here that outstays its welcome – though there is also not a huge amount that’ll prompt you to re-read it either. As a straight-up action-orientated crossover, it functions as well as it possibly could, and that’s a heck of a lot more than can be said of a lot of its counterparts.
If you’re at all a fan of either facet of the crossover and are at least passingly familiar with the other, then you’ll likely get a kick out of this. It’s fun, light and eminently readable. Just don’t expect it to take a place in the echelons of the classics.
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The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24