REVIEW: Larfleeze Christmas Special

Posted by under *mixed, Comics |

The Larfleeze Christmas Special may have been my most anticipated comic of the year. While it wasn’t as good as I had imagined it to be in my head, it was still a pretty enjoyable book. Before I discuss the story, I figured maybe I should give you some background on this relatively new character, Larfleeze.

Larfleeze (or Agent Orange as he was originally called) did little to catch my attention during his early appearances in Green Lantern. The Orange rings are powered by avarice. Unlike the other corps, Larfleeze is the only true Orange Lantern and the other members of the corps are projections created by his ring that take the form of beings that he has killed. Larfleeze, a thief prior to acquiring his Orange Ring, constantly claims ownership of whatever he desires by declaring the items, “Mine!” including his own personal Guardian from Oa. It seems strange that from this menacing beginning would come a Christmas one shot subtitled, “Orange You Glad It’s Christmas?

The first sign that there was something special about the Orange Lanterns came during the climax of Blackest Night when each of the Lantern Corps expanded to include an Earthling. Lex Luthor was chosen to wield the Orange ring. This choice of Luthor as Earth’s representative in the “Greed Space Army” was so perfect that it became an instant highlight of that immensely popular series. That the experience has consumed Luthor and that reacquiring the power of the ring has become his obsession over in Action Comics has been the perfect pay off.

Larfleeze's Minnesota home

The second sign that there was something special about Larfleeze was that immediately after Blackest Night he chose to take up residence in a small town in Minnesota because he believed that humans were just like him with their insatiable desires. This human greed was something that he learned about from watching television commercials. Upon moving to Earth, he promptly began stealing everything interesting he could find in the area that was not nailed down (and then some); becoming the ultimate hoarder. His new home quickly becomes a junkyard due to the gigantic size of his new collection of stolen property.

When confronted by the Green Lantern over his behavior, Larfleeze revealed that he had already quit stealing because he had learned of the great and powerful Santa Claus. Why steal when you can make a list and have a jolly old fat man deliver your every desire to your door once a year? Thus was the Larfleeze Christmas Special set up months ago. Suddenly, Larfleeze had gone from menacing presence to comic relief, but it was working. He was a character that jumped off the page.

Larfleeze makes his final Christmas Eve preparations!

Which leads us to now. In the Christmas Special, Larfleeze has just been waiting for Christmas for months, so you can imagine his shock when he discovers Christmas morning that Santa did not stop at his home and deliver all of the items on his wish list. In a rage, he goes off in search of Santa. Larfleeze confronts various phony department store Santas before a child explains that the real Santa lives at the North Pole. Larfleeze immediately races to the North Pole, searching for any sign of Santa. But who Larfleeze actually finds there is the Green Lantern, Hal Jordan. Hal spends the rest of the issue trying to teach Larfleeze about the spirit of Christmas. Hal encourages Larfleeze to review the list he made for Santa Claus to determine if there are any items on it that he actually needs. The story ends with Larfleeze doing just this; teasing an interesting hint about Larfleeze’s past and possibly his future.

Overall, this issue did not quite live up to my expectations. The whole story feels rushed. I wish this $4 book had been given a few extra pages to breathe. The book features fun extras like a Larfleeze maze, an Orange Lantern cookie recipe, a cutout Larfleeze Christmas ornament, and a two-page epilogue by the creative team behind Tiny Titans, Art Balthazar and Franco. The story may have been better served without these extras and devoting those pages to the story. The main plot point of Hal Jordan teaching Larfleeze about the spirit of Christmas is crammed into five pages and just flies by and the story suffers as a result.

Another problem I had with the story is how definitively it deals with the nature of Santa Claus. For a comic that includes a maze, cutout ornament, and work by Art Balthazar and Franco, I wish they had been more sensitive to potential child readers. I know kids don’t really read comics anymore, but this creative decision still feels like a mistake. Especially in a comic about guys with magic rings, it seems like there should be plenty of room for magical ambiguity.

A preview of the Balthazar/Franco epilogue starring Orange Lantern Glom

The greatest strength about the comic is the fantastic art throughout by Brett Booth. I really like his interpretation of Larfleeze, whose appearance has varied slightly from appearance to appearance. I also must say that as much as I feel like this story needed more room to breathe, I really enjoyed the Balthazar/Franco epilogue and the cutout Larfleeze ornament. I’m still considering cutting it out of the comic and putting it on my Christmas tree.

With the new Green Lantern Corps animated series launching next year on Cartoon Network, I’d love to see the core of this story expanded on and developed into a Christmas episode with some slight alterations to the “man in red” plot point. We also have the promise of a Valentine’s Day one-shot starring the Red Lantern cat Dex-Starr with guest star Krypto to look forward to as well.

Related Posts with Thumbnails