Friday, October 26, 2012

AvX or if you prefer...why it might all Captain America's fault...

So at first I was planning on sitting down and re-reading the entire 13 issue series (Zero issue + 12), none of the tie-ins...not Versus or Uncanny or Wolvie & The X-Men, nada, and see how it read in-completion on its own merit.

...Then I changed my mind...

Well, not exactly...

See I am still going to do that, just not right now.  Rather I am going to sit here at my computer on October 26th, and right down what my more immediate thoughts are on Marvel's big crossover of the year without notes or even a single issue of the comic right in front of me.  These are simply the notions that come to my head when reflecting back on the last six months that was supposed to change the face of the Marvel landscape.  Did it? I guess I will see when I get to that point in my random train of thought of which I guarantee will contain multiple jumping of the tracks. 

After I'm done with this...rambling (?)...then I will sit down, read the crossover in a proper fashion, and add on to this blog with my post-reading reflections, demarcating the date to show when I start the re-read. On to the stream of consciousness:

First off when I think of the idea of Avengers versus X-Men, I think of something more along the lines of what Civil War was with the Pro-Registration vs. Anti-Registration idea. 

It's a story where you can truly get behind one team or the other depending on whose perspective you agree with and essentially that is how I felt this story started out with Captain American deciding he needed to take Hope into custody to protect the world from the Phoenix Force while Cyke, who has been banking his hopes for the mutant race on this girl for the last five years (real time), wants to let the Phoenix Force come and save them all.

Okay now given the whole conceit of this story being their differing opinions on Hope & the Phoenix Force, my immediate question was why the hell does Captain America suddenly give a flying fuck about the Phoenix and on what personal experience is he basing his fears?

The original Phoenix, the one who took on Jean Grey's form, had zero interaction with the larger Marvel U outside of one panel with Spider-Man and Dr. Strange acknowledging something was Cap to be seen there. He, nor any Avenger save Beast, were a factor when she killed the planet of the broccoli people, came back to Earth, ended up on the moon, and sacrificed herself when Cyclops couldn't bring himself to kill her.

The next time we saw the Phoenix force it was in the form of the time-traveling Rachel Grey and she was nowhere near the power-level of her "mom" nor was she ever the Dark Phoenix threat...nor were there any Avengers...

Let's see then we have the dance of the Phoenix around Inferno time between Madelyne Pryor & the real Jean Grey around who had been hanging out recovering in a chrysalis at the bottom of the ocean since the Phoenix entity assumed her form. Rachel Summers was back in the picture around that time too and was rocking some kind of Phoenix power. No Dark Phoenix threat Avengers either.

Jean reclaimed some aspect of the Phoenix power during a jaunt into space with X-Factor with the Celestial War. Not to get too detailed but Jean was struggling with her own memories, Pryor's memories, and the Phoenix as Jean Grey memories all residing in her brain and was shifting personalities.  It all got resolved, no Dark Phoenix threat here...

Over the years, various writers have teased at a full-on return of Jean Grey as Phoenix, including her redonning the Grey & Gold costume and reclaiming the codename, but it wasn't until Grant Morrison that Jean Grey became the full-on Phoenix...just in time to die at the hands of Xorneto (don't ask). From there the Phoenix force splintered...I guess....because Rachel Summer (now Grey) still had a piece of it, the Stepford Cuckoos had some, Quentin Quire did at one point, some Shi'ar guy had a sword made of a piece of the Phoenix, it came back to Earth in a pair of 'Song mini-series' barely acknowledged anywhere but of which elements have been used (Stepfords & Quire) elsewhere. All that random Phoenix-ness but in none of it did Captain America get involved nor seem to give a damn about what was going on with the mutantverse but more on that in a second. 

My point in all that Phoenix talk, the initial thought that went through my head in this whole Cyke-Cap debate, was that only once in it's comic book history was the Phoenix ever depicted as the universe destroying threat, only once was the Dark Phoenix ever truly in existence.  The odds are that it won't be a bad thing for the Phoenix to come back to Earth & given how many times it emerged between Dark Phoenix and AvX, it was uber-irritating to have that be treated like the ONLY Phoenix incarnation that ever occurred.

That's just a random assortment of Phoenix images for your perusal...only two of them were evil, the rest were benevolent and heroic types.

So back to Captain American real quick, he's a dick...bottom line...from a story standpoint, from a character standpoint, if some guy who had never shown the least bit of interest in your life suddenly swung by your house and told you that everything you're doing is wrong and that he's going to tell you how to run your life and your family and that he knows better than you, how would you feel? 

Because that is essentially how I read this completely out-of-character version of Captain America...he's a bully and a dick and is talking about issues which neither he nor Tony Stark nor the rest of the Avengers really know anything about and Scott reacts accordingly.  That is why in the title up there I say Captain America might be the one to blame here and this entire knee-jerk reaction from he and The Avengers could very well be the cause of all of this crap that goes down over the rest of the story.

For a story that is 13 issues long overall, it certainly felt like the escalation of the conflict is very rushed though when it could have used some time to truly build up to it. I mean it's not like there was any real concern from the Avengers or Cap about what Scott had been doing on Utopia for the last few years. It was just "hey don't do that" then "ZAAAP eat my optic blast"....

Then we get a Wolverine I don't know if I recognize who is flip-flopping from side to side and rather indecisive about where he stands which is not a Logan I really have ever seen.  He is, and has always been, a man of certain honor and conviction, obviously based on the nature of Schism (which, by the way, drives me nuts when the characters actually refer to it as "the schism" when they talk about the Cyke/Wolvie situation). So his whole sleight of hand or indecision or whatever it was supposed to be with Hope just, well it just didn't work for me him saving her then deciding to turn her over to the Avengers. 

And in that same vein, and I did warn my mental train would jump tracks, what the hell was up with this:

Seriously what the hell was up with deciding to, out of nowhere, merge the Iron Fist history with the Phoenix Force history?  Wasn't feeling it, didn't see the point, just felt like a forced way to create a shared back story and a way to kill time with Hope by having her train in Kun'Lun.  It disappointed me the way Hope became an afterthought in a story she should have owned but then again, I suppose if she had been an actual part of her own story the AvX maxi-series would have been a much shorter mini-series.  Instead we get the split of the Phoenix Force between these five:

And, from what I can recall, not a great deal of explanation for the reasons why it bailed on Hope and took those five instead.  My brain tells me that the Phoenix Force was always intended (by the entity not the writers) to be split over some form of multiple people, hence the Five Lights but now one is dead so it looks like Phoenix is finding the next closest thing and ends up in five of the most powerful mutants around.  Still this is all assumption because to the best of what I remember in the mini, the issue wasn't really addressed as to why the Five Lights mattered and their presence was nonexistant after all that build up, but I guess we shall see with the re-read later on if this question was answered.

So the Five go about saving the world but slowly are losing their shit because, as it often does "absolute power corrupts absolutely" and in the meanwhile Captain America is making the situation worse by rallying his troops to....stop them from saving the world and exacerbating the 5's control over their pieces of the Phoenix Force.  So it is a bad thing that Cyke & crew are stopping war and ending famine because of what they MIGHT turn into if they lose control over the Phoenix force.  Regardless of the fact that all of them DID lose control, the battle was being fought by Cap & The Avengers based on the idea of what MIGHT happen...

Cyke is obviously getting more out of hand as the story progresses, Magik is keeping Avengers prisoners in Limbo, we get a neat little callback to House of M with the "No More Avengers", Emma Frost knows she is losing control, Namor goes batshit and decimates Wakanda which then leads up to the whole Highlander twist.  "Kill" one Phoenix entity and its power then disperses between the remaining hosts...cute.  Namor gets beaten first, then Colossus & Magik knock each other out thanks to Spidey (probably the best issue of the whole series because Peter Parker comes off amazing...yes that pun was intended), leaving Emma Frost to get taken out by Cyke to officially make him the complete Phoenix.  Then, just to insure we know he is the big bad of the series and that it is absolutely impossible to take his side, he offs Professor Xavier to which I utter "really?" and then groan because it is possibly the tenth time I have seen him "die" in my comic book reading career. Besides...that body was a clone body anyway, not even the original Charles Xavier body, just his original brain...look up the original Brood story if you are curious...

So now Cyke is the Dark Phoenix and I seriously believe this wasn't JUST a case of Scott Summers losing control here. As with the original Dark Phoenix incarnation, he had a prodding factor.  For Jean Grey it was the machinations of Mastermind and the Hellfire Club that truly allowed the darker side to take charge. In the case of Cyke, Namor, Collosus, Magik, and Emma Frost I do believe it was the constant barrage of Captain American and his army that kept pushing and pushing until that above image became a reality.

So after 12 issues of build-up to this moment, it does make sense that murdering Xavier would be the final push over the is just so unfortunate that Xavier has become such a non-factor that his death is nowhere near as meaningful as it SHOULD be in my mind.  Charles Xavier had become irrelevant to Cyke after the revelations of Deadly Genesis in which Scott found out Chuck hid the existence of brother Gabriel from him and Alex....

...Speaking of which, how is it we got no interaction between Cyke & Alex after Havok returned to Earth where Scott at least said "hey what happened to our other brother anyway?"...

The state of the relationship between Chuck & Scott not withstanding, I'm not saying a...sober...Cyclops would be just as willing to kill of Xavier, just saying that Cyclops had written Chucky out of his life in anyway that truly mattered.  Hell, mutantkind had basically written him out and his opposite Magneto had become Cyke's right hand man and do you know why?  It's because Cyclops achieved what NEITHER of them could...he unified the majority of remaining 198 (or whatever number it was) post M-Day.  He may have segregated them to an island but they were generally together (like Xavier wanted) and weren't trying to slaughter humans (like Mags wanted once upon a time).  In fact, Cyclops had even put his team out there as a force for good a la The Avengers or FF if they were wanted but the government, under the leadership of Norman Osborn mind you, screwed the pooch on that one.

Yeah so killing Xavier is a whatever gesture after all these years and for me didn't have the weight of say...Nightcrawler's death during Second Coming.  That brought tears to my eyes, that was powerful...

So after all this fighting, after intentionally putting all the power of the Phoenix into the hands of one man, the day gets saved by Hope (finally becoming relevant to a story that should have been her's all along) holding hands with Scarlet Witch (the cause...kind of, apparently Dr. Doom has some blame thereby making Wanda look not quite so evil...of all this to begin with with her "No More Mutants" wish) and wishing for "No More Phoenix".

Cyke goes to jail (which kinda reminded me of Xavier post-Onslaught), a new mutant spontaneously generates powers thus somewhat justifying Cyclops' stand in the first place, and Captain American FINALLY realizes that he might have some responsibility in creating this situation in the first place. Glad it took him 12 issues, forcing an empty war based on MAYBE and WHAT IF, and nearly destroying the globe to realize that one...

Overall I can say this was an empty war and not one in which the reader really had the option of choosing sides after a certain point.  It wasn't something that crossed my mind until a conversation with one @DukeMcNulty but yeah, I would say Marvel took the idea of choosing sides completely out of the equation at a certain point.  When it became obvious that the Phoenix Five were off their collective rocker and tossing dudes in Limbo if they were dissenters, the possibility of even supporting their efforts went out the window...multiply that feeling times a thousand when Cyke killed Xavier.  By then end it wasn't a Civil War type battle where both sides had valid points, it was more like Shadowland where one guy ended up completely batshit and nearly irredeemable.

Which brings me to the biggest, most nagging thing for me about this whole crossover.  The Cyclops we saw at the end of AvX, the "see I was right" Cyke that has been portrayed in Consequences, that Cyclops WOULD have become the reality even without the possession by the Phoenix Force.  Hear (read?) me out...

Ever since the beginning of Morrison's New X-Men run, and stemming from his possession by Apocalypse, we have seen Cyclops grow into a true leader, a force to be reckoned with, all the best elements of both Xavier and Magneto to be frank.  Following M-Day he had to kick it up another notch because he was now fighting for species survival, the birth of Hope took him down an even darker path because he allowed her to be shipped off in time to protect her (as he did with his own son who would become Cable), he formed X-Force to take care of problems in a very direct, murderous fashion, took on a piece of the Void (who knows if anyone remembers that plot point), exiled his people to their own nation, then saw Hope return and his goal start to come to fruition when she began to activate new mutants.  Then the Phoenix force shows up and of course he thinks it's a sign that he's been on the right path all along despite his questionable actions and decisions.  He was the guy ultimately willing to take any bullet, to risk everything, to become the villain if it meant his people were saved. That path would either have led to glory or to gore, and honestly if you extend it down a slightly longer timeline, if you allow for his increasingly militant nature to consume him, Cyke would have lost his shit all by himself without need for the Phoenix Force.

That is where I think I have an issue...I hate the out that possession allows for, that's a big part of the reason I hated Shadowland.  Daredevil didn't need to be possessed to fall down that hole, his entire life had been heading there since the day Kevin Smith killed off Karen Page and then Bendis, Brubaker, and Diggle sent him through 900,000 forms of hell.  That possession gave him an out and made it so Matt Murdock wasn't quite so terrible a person...same goes for having Dr. Doom play a role in Wanda's breakdown...takes away from the reality of what happens when people lose it all.  I know reality is a loose term given we are playing in the world of superheroes, but part of the fun is putting them in a real situation and seeing how it would play out. 

Every day people...good people...they break, they lose their minds to depression and heartbreak and sadness and fall to pieces in often horrible ways.  Multiply that times a million for the world of superheroes and you can see what happens when a person of great power naturally loses their control. Daredevil would have killed Bullseye on his own, Scarlet Witch would want to get rid of the people she blamed for his troubles, and Cyclops would willing go down a dark path to save his people...they didn't need outside influences to push them down that road and having that just gives them an out to make them seem not quite so bad.

As far as the aftermath, well again thanks to @DukeMcNulty, I was given a nugget to think about.  Cyclops did all of this terrible stuff under the influence of another entity...a cosmically powerful, potentially world destroying entity, but an outside force nonetheless.  When did Daredevil, Scarlet Witch, and Winter Soldier all commit their worst crimes? And did that stop any of them from becoming Avengers or put them away in jail?  Hell part of my problem with the new DD series initially was how the Shadowland stuff was just swept under the rug like it never happened and Murdock just started lawyering it up again like no big deal.  It's not exactly unprecedented for some hero to commit terrible acts under the influence of another force and end up protected by their fellow heroes.  To be fair, off the top of my head, only Wanda, Scott, and Xavier as Onslaught nearly decimated the world though...

Not a big fan of some of the ways Cyclops has been portrayed post-AvX....I do think he would proudly walk around wearing a "Cyke was right" T-Shirt but I do not, could not, ever see him calling himself a martyr for the cause.  My perspective on Cyke is that, despite all of this, despite killing his one-time father figure, he would tell you to look at the evidence and then tell him if you still think he was wrong. Scott Summers would not back down from his convictions even under lock and key, but the Cyclops I have seen evolve in the last ten years would not want Wolverine to "martyr" him, much less refer to himself as one, unless he was perhaps doing it to get one last "fuck you" at Logan for picking the side he did.

Do I think Cyclops is irredeemable? No, no I don't but I do think he has a loooooong road to travel before he can show his face in public. I also would like to see more of the general public's reaction to the events of was series I actually think could have benefited from a Frontline-type book rather than the overall pointless Versus series. How did the public view these mutants saving the world, feeding them, ending wars? How did they view Cap & the Avengers trying to stop them?  What's the feeling towards mutants now?  These are the questions I have and I guess I will have to see if they are answered in any form, if the wake of AvX is long-lasting or only felt in the MarvelNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!! short-term. 

Well this rambling is at a logical close I suppose...I will revisit this subject after I have a chance to sit down, reread the series, and take notes as I go. Until then, I've got half of the Invincible Omnibus Vol. 1 to finish reading, half of "Clash of Kings" to finish reading, and a bunch of other random discount bookstore Marvel Hardcover purchases to knock off too!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Green Lantern & The New 52: Pulling on Threads...

Before I get to the meat of this one, let me take a second to harken back to my last Bat-Centric blog and point out another mention of Tim Drake as Robin from "Batman & Robin" that was pointed out to me by Brian Thomer aka @PAComicExaminer:

Also something else that has occurred to me in the light of the fact that in Batman #13 it is explicitly stated that The Joker is coming back after a year away which means that Detective Comics #1 was one year ago, which means any Zero issue story marked "One Year Ago" took place around the start of the New 52, which means Damian's "Year and a Half Ago" moment of meeting Bruce (while he was still Batman & before he disappeared for a year) took place around 6 months prior to the beginning of the New 52, which means he has only been Robin for very a short time at the start of the New 52, which means it would be quite difficult for Dick to have been Batman for a year, which means I am going to make my f'n head explode trying to make sense out of it meaning sometimes I wish I could still think like I did when I was a little kid and not really care about this all continuity making some semblance of sense. End scene...

Waiiiiiiiit a second, another thing came out during NYCC after I wrote that opening paragraph, something playing into all that.  Courtesy of Bleeding Cool, Dan DiDio, Jim Lee, and Bob Wayne claimed that Tim Drake was NEVER intended to be a Robin and that the trade edits were intended to maintain the status quo they wanted in the first place.  Okay well,  I'm not going to argue my personal feelings on the whole "Not Robin" idea but rather point out that both the 1st New 52 Batman collection AND Batman & Robin collection came out with references to Tim as Robin before the edited Teen Titans collection came out. 

SO if the "Not Robin" stance on Tim was ALWAYS intended, then who fucked up A YEAR AGO when the New 52 began and then fucked up again in May & June when the collections were released? I mean did the ball get dropped by numerous people here or did the top level forget to tell everyone else that Tim was never supposed to be a Robin?  Too much to get DC Comics to just say "yup, we fucked up"?  Regularly scheduled program time now...

I almost feel like I should start this off by saying that I am a big fan of Green Lantern with Geoff Johns at the helm.  Prior to the day I was given "Rebirth" as a gift, I hadn't really kept up with the adventures of GL in his own book and aside from reading Hal Jordan in "Death of Superman", the only GL I had every really known was Kyle Rayner via his inclusion on the JLA team first penned by Grant Morrison.

Suffice to say that I was hooked and quickly got my hands on the "Emerald Twilight" story to see what happened with Hal Jordan as I had experienced his villainous side in "Zero Hour" and other major stories like his sacrifice to reignite the sun in "Final Night" and his dawning as The Spectre in "Day of Judgement".

After reading "GL: Rebirth", I quickly snatched up all of the collections I could, caught up just in time for the finale of the "Sinestro Corps War", and have continued to read the core book as well as "Green Lantern Corps", "Emerald Warriors", "Red Lanterns", and "The New Guardians". From the original DCU into The New 52, I have followed the exploits of Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, and the rest of the GLC. 

I have enjoyed the story within the GL book probably more in the New 52 than I did in the latter months of the Original DCU. Sadly the same can't be said for GLC, The New Guardians, or Red Lanterns, at least not initially, but GLC & New Guardians have turned a corner for me in recent months.  Unfortunately I still find Red Lanterns to be a chore to read and if it wasn't for the manner in which I read it, I would have stopped long ago...

Now that the pleasantries and whatnot are out of the way, let me get down to the meat of the exploration of the threads that make up the current Green Lantern universe and what happens if you follow them back to their origins.

This is where the current face of the Green Lantern corner of the DCU was born...the day Coast City was annihilated by the machinations of The Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw & Mongul.  Some would argue it began here...

...and that the story started there runs all the way through to this...

...and continues into the most recent issue #13. Yes, I do believe that that belief is right, but only partly right, even my thought that it began with the destruction of Coast City is only PART of the story.  See I firmly believe that the current face of the GL-verse, the face that Geoff Johns has worked so hard to construct, is quite dependant on a number of factors that pre-date his time in DC Comics and thus, obviously, pre-date the creation of the New 52.  This is not a statement on the quality of the New 52, this is not a judgement on the story that HAS Been told thus far in the last year.  Rather it is my look at the events of the Old DCU that played into the formation of the GL Johns-verse and my wondering how/if they fit into the New 52.

First up:

The Anti-Monitor & The Original Crisis.  This might seem like an odd place to begin but it is one of the two most essential elements of the current GL-scape in the New 52.  As we have learned over the last year, the events of Blackest Night still happened in some format in the world of the New 52.  Whether or not they are absolutely identical is not known, but highly unlikely given the involvement of the JSA members and the fact that the death of one Barry Allen (who obviously hasn't died in the the New 52) was a part of the story. 
Well at the core of the Blackest Night story, or rather at the core of the Black Lanterns was a certain BL Battery on the planet Ryut, the battery that powered the zombie tribe, just like the one on Oa powers the Green Lanterns.  Well the power source of that battery was none other than the Anti-Monitor!  How did he end up there you ask?

Well that makes another aspect of a certain old DCU story required in some format or another, and that story is none other than the Sinestro Corps War!  See in the Sinestro Corps War, the Anti-Monitor was part of an alliance of Sinestro, the Cyborg Superman, Superboy-Prime, and the Parallax entity (brought to "life" by possessing Kyle Rayner).  As the SCW neared its conclusion, the Anti-Monitor was near defeat following the detonation of the Central Yellow Lantern battery and was ultimately tossed into space by Superboy-Prime where the Anti-Monitor crash landed on Ryut and was consumed by the BL Battery.

Why did Superboy-Prime toss Anti-Monitor into space you ask?  Well that is also very dependant another aspect of the Old CU, probably the most important story in the history of the Old DCU actually, Crisis on Infinite Earths.  See Superboy-Prime was a resident of Earth-Prime where he was the only superhero of that Earth but it was destroyed by the Anti-Monitor during the Crisis.  Prime joined up with the heroes of Earth-One to stop Anti-Monitor but is exiled to a "paradise" dimension along with three others from alternate Earths including a Lois Lane & Superman from Earth-2 and Alexander Luthor from Earth-3.  Once there he grows frustrated and his punching of the walls of reality create changes including the resurrection of Jason Todd and inconsistent origins of Superman over the years. Eventually he, along with his trio, break free from their "prison" and the subsequent events are known as "Infinite Crisis".  In this crisis we see Superboy (the clone Superman) die, Superboy-Prime go nuts and kill a lot of people, and eventually get locked up inside the Science Cells on Oa.

Wait, what's up with the Superboy who is a clone of Superman you ask?

See that leads to the other story of the Old DCU that I believe is absolutely crucial to the mythos of the current GL-verse:

Superman died...killed at the hands of Doomsday, between the first issue of the New 52 Swamp Thing and recent comments by Grant Morrison at a comic-con, we can confirm that Superman died AND was in fact killed by Doomsday in the New 52.  Beyond that, the question is very much up in the air...well, to an extent.  It is safe to say that in the New 52, the Return/Reign of Superman story did NOT happen in anyway similar to how it happened in the Old DCU.  Superboy was only "born" around the time the New 52 started, meaning he could not have taken part in any story prior to this and Steel in the New 52 is not of the same origin as the original which we've seen in Grant Morrison's Action Comics. No clue if the Eradicator or Hank Henshaw have existed in the New 52, but in SOME FASHION this story needs to have taken place because it is where Coast City was blown up the Cyborg Superman & Mongul.

Why is it so integral that Coast City blew up?

Well Coast City's destruction is what set all the wheels in motion that brought us to this day as far as Hal Jordan's character go.  Hal went nuts following the events of Coast City, tried to use his ring to resurrect the city, but was shut down by the Guardians.  Hal then went to Oa to try and get the power he wanted and ultimately ends up killing all the Guardians save Ganthet as well as Lantern Killowog and the rogue Sinestro who had been imprisoned in the Green Lantern Battery.  Hal takes the name Parallax, tries to rewrite time in Zero Hour, sacrifices his life to reignite the sun in Final Night, becomes the Spectre in Day of Judgement, and that all lead to his resurrection in Rebirth. 

So within the story of Hal Jordan, just to get to what Geoff Johns established in Rebirth, we need Hal to decimate Oa (very likely because we saw a trashed Oa in the New 52 version of GLC #1 prior to Kyle Rayner getting his ring) and for Sinestro to be freed.  We need Hal to have been possessed by the Parallax entity, for it to have somehow survived his sacrifice to reignite the sun (as it did in the Old DCU) and for Hal to have been Spectre with the Parallax entity riding shotgun.

It has been established courtesy of Phantom Stranger #0 that The Spectre exists in the New 52 but, at least in its initial appearance, it is Jim Corrigan who is possessed by The Spectre.  Now this happens at some non-descript time but I couldn't imagine DC introducing Corrigan as the character in the Zero issue only to have him NOT still be Spectre in the following issues. 

I'm not even touching on the issues that play into the history of the assorted Earth GL's.  Did Xanshi still get destroyed in order to shape the character of John Stewart and actually give added weight to his destruction of Mogo (a pre-New 52 event btw)?  Was Kyle Rayner still possessed by the Ion entity or does his New 52 tag of Torchbearer have some different meaning?  Was Guy Gardner still in possession of a yellow ring at an earlier point in his career (it seems he was still possessed by a red ring)?

Those are all just pieces of the Old DCU that play heavily into the shape of the New 52 and while I've chosen to focus on the GL-Verse, specifically Hal Jordan, in this rant, I think it is safe to say that DC's decision to keep GL & Bat history relatively intact creates some problems with elements of the Old DCU.  For GL these are what I consider the key ingredients to have happened IN SOME FASHION for the shape of the current New 52 world:

1) The existence of an Anti-Monitor (power source for BL battery)
2) Coast City destroyed
3) Hal Jordan as Parallax, destroying Oa (partially confirmed)
4) Hal Jordan freeing Sinestro & Parallax entity from the Power Battery
5) Hal Jordan as Spectre
6) Sinestro Corps War happened
7) Blackest Night happened (this has been confirmed)
8) War of the Green Lanterns happened (Krona needs to exist for the events of Red Lanterns)

I am sure I am missing something here as I am trying to do this from memory as opposed to notes this time, but I hope you get the idea.  There are just certain key elements with the Old DCU that had to have happened in some fashion for the current Geoff Johns/GL-Verse to really make sense.  They don't have to be perfect, they don't have to have happened completely identical to the way they happened in the Old DCU, but they do have to have happened somehow. 

Coast City must die, Hal Jordan must have been evil...they are as important as Luke Skywalker seeing Obi-Wan die on the Death Star in "A New Hope" or Dexter being found in a pool of his mother's blood on "Dexter".  They are integral components of an origin story that I had hoped the Zero issues would be used to confirm or flesh out, but sadly that was not in any of the four GL series.  GL #0 told us the origin of a new character, New Guardians #0 gave us nothing origin-based, Red Lanterns #0 was a serious waste, and only GLC #0 gave us anything origin based and, while I enjoyed the look at Guy's back story, it did not fill in any of the blanks I have discussed above.

This isn't a cry for answers, not yet at least, rather this was just an exploration into how the Old DCU events could/should tie into the events of the New 52.  I will be very interested to see if DC Comics does anything to cement any aspects of the old world as part of the new, or if they find a way to rewrite these histories in a logical fashion.

Thus far they have done a subpar job with the Bat-world, creating inconsistencies in time and logic, particularly with the birth of Damian Wayne and their lack of a backbone on the Tim "Drake"/Robin situation as mentioned at the start of this rant.

I hope maybe, just maybe, they will solidify the ground on which the New 52 Green Lantern world is built rather than just the half-assed "everything still happened" explanation we have gotten over the last year.  I know it's a lot to cover in just 14 months of time, but I sincerely hope that maybe in the next 13 months the portrait of GL history is painted with more clarity.