Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Green Lantern #33 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

This issue may have single handedly redeemed the sub-par Secret Origin arc. This is what Secret Origin should have been like from the start - Sinestro and Hal teaming up, learning about the Blackest Night, Abin Sur's hidden past and fighting future Red Lanterns. It's hard to believe we've had roughly 4 pages of new story over the course of the first four parts to this origin retelling and I've made my views on how I felt about that in previous reviews, so I'll leave it at that and focus on this issue for now.

Despite my enjoyment of this issue, I still found the opening sequence with Hammond to be lacking. It was very much like the previous four issues in that it brought nothing new to the table and watching Hammond read Hal's mind for several pages was far from the most rivetting storytelling I've ever read.

This issue may have single handedly redeemed the sub-par Secret Origin arc.
One thing of note, however, is the abundance of orange surrounding Hammond in this storyarc and not just in his telepathic constructs either. I've noticed many panels with him in it prior to his gaining new powers seemed to have an orange tint to them. Either Hammond is being set up as the enigmatic, Agent Orange, or he's, at least, a prime candidate for a future Orange Lantern.

The Hammond arc is wrapped up perfectly with Sinestro coming in to save the day, creating an oxygen absorbing bubble around Hammond's head and incapacitating the telepath all while chastising Hal for his many faults.

Thankfully, Johns doesn't fall into the normal Sinestro / Hal relationship that has Sinestro constantly preaching and making his superiority known to Hal. He still has those traits, but once the scene shifts to Amin Sur, we get to see a side of Sinestro rarely seen - that of someone saddened over the loss of his friend, Amin, and his sombre tone and conversation with during this section was great.

This leads directly into a pre-recorded message by Amin that tells both Sinestro and Hal of the Manhunters that preceeded the Green Lantern Corps and the eventual Massacre of Sector 666. The Manhunters, for unknown reasons, began slaughtering trillions of sentient beings in Sector 666 and their holocaust ended with only five survivors from the entire sector - one of them being Atrocitus.

Amin tells them that these survivors sought revenge on the Guardians and began seeking the "inner powers of the universe" and prophecized a darkness that even the Guardians' light could not penetrate, all allusions to the Black Lanterns.

Meanwhile, Atrocitus is seen with a strange object and speaking of finding William Hand in order to seed him for the coming darkness.

This lead to a fight at Hand's parents' funeral parlour where my only real complaint comes in to play. Atrocitus, facing two Green Lanterns after years of captivity and without any ring of his own, should be easy pickings for the greatest Green Lanterns ever, right? Apparently not as Johns introduces a convenient plot device that allows Atrocitus to somehow build or acquire a device that absorbs the GL rings' energy, effectively rendering both Sinestro and Hal powerless.

This seems like it will be a similar situation to the Sinestro vs Hal & Kyle fight from Green Lantern #25 and I'm sure the fight will be great, but it's still disappointing to see such an amateurish plot device from someone like Johns.

Verdict - Must Read. Finally, a story that lives up to the "secret" in the Secret Origin title of this arc. I was beginning to think there was no point to this retelling. Next issue promises to be a similarly enjoyable experience. Shame the first four parts couldn't be like this.

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