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Project Superpowers: Meet The Bad Guys #1 (of 4)

By Andy Frisk
August 30, 2009 - 17:44

The Green Lama, by far one of the most interesting and potential filled of the public domain Golden Age heroes, resurrected by Dynamite Entertainment as part of Project Superpowers (an attempt to build a superhero universe all their own) stars in this first of four issues designed to introduce a major villain specifically styled to oppose the headlining hero. The Green Lama, whose history stretches all the way back to World War II, is a Tibetan Buddhist monk whose powers are magic based, or more specifically “green magic” (as in plant life) based, in the universe of Project Superpowers. He’s a sort of green superhero (no pun intended). He’s capable of using different superpowers including teleportation “through the green” (think Swamp Thing) as well as flight, super strength, invulnerability, and the like. What makes him the most interesting of the heroes is that he is a wise, sage and powerful Gandalf, Dr. Strange, or Spectre type of character in the Superpowers Universe. He’s also one of a few Superpowers heroes to not have a silly looking Golden Age costume. As a Westerner (an American) who travelled to Tibet to study the ways of peace and “the power that can only be found in the eye of life’s storm,” he is quite unique in the world of superheroes. He’s an American Buddhist with magical “green” powers which he used to wage war against the Nazis during World War II, and who is now the Dali Lama, if you will, of the returned heroes of the Superpowers Universe.


The Green Lama’s trusted manservant, confidant, and closest friend Tsarong, who stood and fought by The Green Lama’s side from the days of World War II until he met his demise recently at the end of the first Project Superpowers series, is still dearly missed by The Green Lama and his rage filled granddaughter. Going by the name of Bloodlust, Tsarong’s granddaughter slaughters an entire chapter of “environmental zealots,” who followed and spread The Green Lama’s word, to garner his attention, and force a showdown with him. She appears to have some sort of magic based power, as her hair, braided into a long, dangerous, whip-like rope with a blade on the end of it, manages to draw blood from The Green Lama, much to his surprise. She nearly bests him, but he is, arguably, the most powerful being in the Superpowers Universe, with many abilities that appear to include limited power over life and death itself…



The Green Lama’s display of green magic use is one of the most unique and interesting superpowers in use by a comic book superhero currently. He really is a sort of combination of the Swamp Thing, Dr. Strange, and The Spectre (minus the focus on vengeance) with the physical strength and limited powers of a Superman knock-off. The storytelling potential of a character whose powers are derived from a quest for inner and outer peace though nature, but who finds himself time and again using these powers to wage war against evil is boundless. If the folks at Dynamite Entertainment are smart, they need to get moving on this character. Give him his own ongoing series, and recruit some strong writing talent. He could easily become their Superpowers flagship hero and title.


Judging by the choice of arch-villain, whose look (half naked, hard bodied, female) and simplistic motivation (revenge) have been done way too many times, the folks at Dynamite Entertainment aren’t quite ready to tap the storytelling potential of The Green Lama. While easy on the eyes, and sufficiently violent enough to serve as an opposite of The Green Lama in every way (she’s young, a female, wears red, is incredibly violent, etc.), Bloodlust is just too much of a cookie cutter villain for The Green Lama to oppose. She’s not challenging enough to pose him a serious threat. If the point of Meet The Bad Guys is to introduce a villain that is the polar physical, ideological, and moral opposite of the lead hero, then Bloodlust fits the role, but barring a wild plot twist along the lines of a potential romance between the two (now there’s a wild idea with potential), Bloodlust is just another Lady Deathstrike, Elektra, female-Asian-ninja-magical-The Hand-like bad guy. We’ve seen the likes of her before, all too often.



Visually, besides the fact that she is half naked, and will attract the eyes of mainstream hero comic book readers, namely young to middle aged males, Bloodlust is nothing groundbreaking, or for that matter interesting, in appearance. This is not the fault of illustrator Jonathan Lau. His artwork is great. His grasp on anatomy (I have to admit that Bloodlust caught my eye) is sound, and his images of The Green Lama in flight, mid teleportation, hovering, and using his green magic powers are powerful and great as well. His flight scenes are well laid out and the kinetic energy of The Green Lama’s power and Bloodlust’s martial arts maneuvers are well done. Nunes’ colors are superb as well, and create the perfect illusion of lighting that appears near photographic in nature.



Overall, Project Superpowers: Meet The Bad Guys #1 leaves the reader with same feeling they always have, (at least in my case) when The Green Lama takes center stage: the desire to see more of this character in a starring role in his own series, and a desire for good, high quality tales to be told about him and his exploits. He’s got so much potential with all his complexities, motivations, long history, and uniqueness, that the longer Dynamite Entertainment takes to actualize this character, the more they are losing out on building a solid fan base, not only for The Green Lama, but for their entire Project Superpowers project. Every superhero universe needs a Superman, and The Green Lama can easily be this hero/character for the Superpowers Universe. Whether Dynamite Entertainment follows through on The Green Lama’s potential will remain to be seen. His appearance and adventure in this particular comic book gives us but a hint of the heights he can achieve, but not nearly the type of villain he is worthy of. 

Rating: 8 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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