Green Lantern: Larfleeze Christmas Special - 'Orange You Glad It's Christmas?' - Johns and Booth
Story - Imagine an alternate reality where upon the release of Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace, Jar-Jar Binks was not wildly mocked and hated, but was instead praised as the best new character in movies of the year, became a huge fan-favourite, gaining increasingly large roles in the subsequent movies, and then somehow, bizarrely, managed to get his own fucking movie. Imagine that reality. Imagine how infuriatingly annoying that reality would be, imagine how stupid the people of that reality must be. Just stop and imagine it.
Except really, you don't have to imagine it, as a comics fan, you're already bloody living it, replace Jar-Jar with Larfleeze, and we're already fucking there. This comic and character is indicative of everything wrong with superhero comics today, it's aggressively simple, but with aspirations of depth it just can't hope to reach, and is just in general an insult to us all.
I don't think we can really blame Geoff Johns for this, he is obviously a talented guy, but on this occasion he has fallen into a trap of giving the fans what they want, and you should never ever give comics fans what they want, as most of them are morons. What was a fairly minor if fairly annoying side-villain in Green Lantern has been promoted to increasingly prominent roles in recent issues of the main book, and now this. It's ridiculous, there is no character here. Can anyone tell me what Larfleeze's personality is? He's greedy. That's it, no more. That's not enough for a single page, let alone a whole one-shot. It's depressing how empty this 'character' is.
On the surface the idea of a character hunting for Santa Claus in the DCU could be a clever idea, but just like Larfleeze himself, there is no subtlety here, Larfleeze just blazes in asking for presents, then Green Lantern just bluntly says there is no Santa, no depth at all. Johns isn't the most subtle writer at the best of times, but I can safely say that Hal Jordan's speech about the true meaning of Christmas is comfortably the worst thing he has ever written.
As if having a terrible non-character and an unsubtle story isn't enough, DC also go for some full-on Christmas gimmicks here, with a maze, a christmas ornament and even a cookie recipe for the readers to play with. This disgusts me. Some readers may claim I'm being too serious, and that it's 'just a bit of fun' and that we need more stuff like this to get kids reading comics, but I call BULLSHIT! Kids don't want this shit, it's not all-ages, it's aggressively infantile, it treats the reader like a child, it's a 40-year old man's idea of Christmas fun, and it's denigrates all comics as being a lesser, childish medium. It's an insult to us all really.
After all that, Johns has an attempt at pathos, with the revelation that Larfleeze really just wants his family, in what is a supposedly touching moment. It might be, if Larfleeze wasn't such a broadly drawn piece of crap caricature. It's too late to try and give him depth, we've crossed the rubicon now, it's like trying to give those racist Transformers a tragic backstory, it just comes across as ridiculous.
This was just an ill-judged comic from every angle, but we have nobody to blame but ourselves, and as a comics community we should hang our heads in shame. I include myself in this, I mean, I fucking bought it! And we even have a Dex-Starr special supposedly coming up. Kill me now, because that fucking Cat is almost as bad as Larfleeze in it's mawkishness.
Oh yeah, the Tiny Titans back-up was the only halfway decent thing about this issue, nicely drawn, and funny at the expense of the increasingly convoluted GL-universe without being too stupid.
Art - Brett Booth is one of those artists who became popular in the mid-90s because his art looked a bit like Jim Lee's if you squinted, but once Jim Lee waned in popularity, he was kind of stuck, and is kind of a 90s anachronism, like Larry Stroman or something. His exaggerated anatomy does Larfleeze's snout some justice, but his people look weird, but the art is the least of this book's problems, and really, he's just picking up a paycheck so I'll cut him some slack, it is Christmas after all.
Best Line - Are you joking here?
2/10 That 2 is for the 2 pages of Art Baltazar and Franco