Thursday, February 26, 2009

Green Lantern #38 Review

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert

This issue was fast paced and packed full of stuff happening on every page, but flirts dangerously with crossing the line between a great continuation to the Sinestro Corps War and forcing me to make a corny Captain Planet joke about what happens in this issue.

Thankfully, I'm still quite pleased with everything that's happening in the book, but, at the same time, I'm having some serious reservations in regards to how ridiculous the addition of all these corps could end up being.

Picking up with last issue's Red Lantern-ization of Hal Jordan, we immediately jump into the thick of things as Hal's rage boils over with his desire to kill Sinestro. Of note, the Blue Lanterns point out that Hal's heart has literally stopped beating due to the red ring and that the red ring has "replaced it".

I enjoyed the inner dialogue of Hal as it showed his emotions are conflicted through both words and the blending of his text boxes' colours, going from green to red. This was further added to with ring status reports chiming in during the conflict from the different rings Hal was wearing.

Another interesting tidbit came from Atrocitus as he gloats over the Blue Lanterns. It seems the Blue Lanterns have no actual offensive abilities and we're told that hope only serves to bolster will, which means that without an active Green Lantern (Hal is consumed by the red ring at this point) present, the blue rings are essentially useless. Atrocitus even went so far as to point Saint Walker's ring hand at his own head, giving the Blue Lantern a free shot to kill him, to prove this fact to us.

Faced with this grim reality, Saint Walker took the only option available to him and quickly inducted Hal into the Blue Lanterns, sticking his own ring on Hal's finger. The blue ring referred to the red ring as an infestation and purged Hal's body of it and effectively reproduced his blood. The addition of the blue ring, after Hal regained his senses, caused the red ring to explode, injuring Atrocitus and many other Red Lanterns in the process and ended the conflict. The addition of the the blue ring left Hal with his costume blending into a mix between a Green and Blue Lantern.

Despite the amount of action taking place in the opening pages of this book, it felt like the majority of the book was dedicated to epilogues or, perhaps, prologues for upcoming storylines, the first of which being the reintroduction of Carol Ferris and Cowgirl, two characters that haven't been seen in over a year, I believe, unless you count Ferris' brief cameos in the Secret Origin origin story rehash.

Ferris is apparently love sick for Hal, despite not being in a relationship with him, and the Star Sapphires quickly inducted her into their ranks. I'm not sure if I like this development or not, as it feels like she just shoehorned in to have some drama and a name and face we recognize for the Star Sapphires. If she had been a part of the book for the past year or more, then, yes, I could see the addition of her to the story and relevance of her induction. But the way Johns brought her back in so quickly makes it feel more like she was simply thrown in the meat grinder for some added tension instead of any real story reasoning. I'm also concerned with why the Star Sapphires, a love based corps, doesn't include any males in their ranks. I know they never used them prior to this, but with the move to rings and more emotion based, it seems odd.

Continuing on (yes, the issue was packed with content), we're introduced to the Controllers again, who are now in the Vega system in search of the orange light, which gives us our first glimpes at the mysterious Agent Orange character, who's given the name Larfleeze. It seems the Guardians promised to leave the Vega system alone in order to ensure Larfleeze stays put. I'm assuming the Controllers will be the new Guardians for the Orange Lanterns.

We were also treated to Sinestro addressing his remaining corps members on Qward about the Mongul situation. Based on this two page spread, it looks like Sinestro isn't taking Mongul's attempts to take over the Sinestro Corps lightly and he's ordered them all to Daxam to confront him. However, Sinestro is going to check in on his family on Korugar, in response to Atrocitus' threats in the last couple issues, before meeting up with them. Based on this, the current GLC storyline looks like it's going to be trying its best to put the Battle for Mogo to shame.

Finally, we're treated to an Origin and Omens back up that continues to perpetuate the 'John Stewert is a sniper' fixation that Johns has when he should be playing up the architect role, not a minor backstory detail like sniping. Despite that, it seems this is set in the future as John is visibly upset and we're told he had a run in with an Orange Lantern. Based on that, I assume this is post-Agent Orange - maybe three or four issues in the future.

John is actually at the site of his greatest failure, Xanshi, or what's left it after John's inability to stop a yellow coloured bomb from destroying it. This is the same planet Fatality is from and the recent convert to the Star Sapphires is seen in the asteroid field through John's sniper rifle construct, prompting him to go check it out as the omen ends.

The final page reveals even more omens. One is of Sinestro and Hal teaming up against mysterious blacked out figures. Another features what looks like Katma Tui, John Stewert's deceased wife, looking a little worse for wear in John's arms. Yet another is of the Guardian's all pointing at three magic-based Green Lanterns, Alan Scott (who's GL in name only), Mordru and Torquemada, all of which are handcuffed before them. Is this hinting at magic being banned by the Guardians? Finally, we see Black Hand kneeling and on his hand, which is the first time I think we've seen one, is a Black Lantern ring.

Verdict - Must Read. I have some concerns, as they are, about the potential for this story to go off the tracks with the additions of more and more corps to the mix and the use of multiple rings by one person, but the sheer amount of good things that happened in this issue was more than enough to silence those concerns for the time being.

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