by Tom King & Evan Doc Shaner
“Gods got no choice but to watch okay? He’s got to have that moment over & over. That’s forever part of him. That he couldn’t stop it. That he had to let it happen. But you see, that’s what makes him different then me or you. Everything he does, it’s all necessary. It has to be done. He has to be who he is. He has to do what he does. But not us right? See a god, a God doesn’t have something we have”
“You got that right pal, what is it?”
“It’s will, it’s our own will. It’s our own free will he gave us. I never got to fly with your dad, but I heard enough about it to know his style. No fear at all. You know how you get that? To learn, but here, I’ll let you in on it for nothing. All it is is trusting in that will. It’s loving that will. It’s knowing whatever happens, your on the line. This is your world you get to create pal. You get to choose. God gets to watch”
This is a comic where Evan Doc Shaner does wild cosmic Green Lantern meets Jack Kirby illustrations and if Shaner is paired up with an average writer, his comic is still a must buy. But Shaner is paired up with Tom King and King is beyond what you could even consider a great comics writer and here’s but one example as to why based on the content of this issue:
The quote above is purely excellent writing in the abstract, even outside of the stories context, it’s a beautifully profound scripted piece of dialogue that cut’s right to the heart. A good to great comics writer would take a quote like that and close out the issue with it as a way to tie up the story. That’s the traditional formal structure of episodic story telling and more then likely, any writer could probably type out 20+ pages of hot garbage and still end on that quote and there is no way you wouldn’t feel it. But Tom King doesn’t end the book with that quote, Tom King put’s that quote in the middle of the book and it ends up adding a whole new dimension to the story by opening up the possibilities for what is a single one off issue that is probably insignificant to the plot of the main Justice League story it’s spinning out of. But that’s it’s genius, King is able to experiment with structure to make a profound singular statement even more profound by having it be introduced into the stories middle section, using it for the plot’s progression and then giving it all a deeper meaning as it’s reapplied in the stories conclusion. It goes from being this wonderful quote about god and man to a wonderful quote about god, man, Hal Jordan, the purpose of humanity, our place in the cosmos and more. Tom King takes a one issue assignment for what will most likely be a throw away Justice League tie-in and not only goes above and beyond the call of duty for his writing here but then figures out how to maximize that writings impact. That’s beyond great, that’s next level.
As should be evident for readers of Kings writing on Grayson, Omega Men or The Vision, the writer is doing something special right now. He’s playing within the structure of superhero comics and making these extraordinary statements while still telling rewarding stories. When you buy a comic from Tom King, your getting more out of that single issue then you would from anything else on the shelf, even here on what’s a nonessential comic for hardcore Justice League readers, King refuses to write something anything less then essential and instead takes the opportunity to do a Green Lantern story about the nature of humanity and god that is as profound as it is innovative.
It’s that which makes every book Tom King writes must read material as his voice and style is already totally singular and advanced ahead of his peers. I’ve never seen someone enter into comics with this much talent, originality and thoughtfulness who could apply it all so effortlessly. In seven years, when King has crafted a long form masterpiece from one of Marvel or DC Comics flagship books, everybody will know but I’m telling you right now, this is something special and it’s happening right in front of us in one of the most unlikeliest of places and sooner or later, everyone is going to notice. If you haven’t yet, this issue is as good a place to start as any.