Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion
Green Lantern has been on a roll latey and I had high expectations going into this Agent Orange storyline. Thankfully, everything related to the Orange Lanterns was excellent and the appearances of Larfleeze and the Orange Lanterns were some of the best new additions to the Green Lantern mythos since the Sinestro Corps formation. Unfortunatey, everything else from the issue fell a little flat.
Let's start with the whole Agent Orange/Orange Lantern Corps. For the record, in case you haven't caught on yet, Agent Orange is in reference to Larfleeze. As for the Orange Lantern Corps, there is no Orange Lantern Corps. All those Philip Tan teaser images for various Orange Lanterns? Those aren't real. Well, technically, they're real. In a move many people predicted, the "Orange Lantern Corps", of which those designs represented, is actually made up of nothing but orange constructs created by Larfleeze. It makes perfect sense in context of orange light representing avarice or greed. Why would he share his light with anyone else or build a corps around it when he can use it all for himself?
As for why the Guardians ceded the entire Vega system to Larfleeze, it's immediately made apparent as he wipes out a contingent of Controllers, who are around the same level of cosmic power levels as the Guardians. It's hard to tell, but based on what little we've seen, it appears Larfleeze or the orange lantern may actually absorb the souls of those that come in contact with it or that he kills and adds them to the "corps" in the form of new constructs. I believe this is the only reason Stel, the robotic Green Lantern that was used as a message for the Guardians, was not absorbed like everyone else that Larfleeze came in contact with. Would also explain why he is so inherently dangerous and why the Guardians opted to give him a system all to himself.
However, as I said earlier, everything not pertaining directly to Larfleeze and the Orange Lanterns came off a bit weak this month. Hal Jordan, in particular, was quite brutal in his portrayal. As you know, he was given Saint Walker's Blue Lantern ring last month and was in a state of flux between Green and Blue Lantern. I can understand Hal's annoyance over having a blue ring forced onto him, but to outright decry all things hope related and throw out such clunkers as, "I'm not interested in hope", or "there's no point to hope", is a bit saddening, especially after seeing a star restarted and knowing the rings boost his power levels to 200+% of their normal charge and so on. There's one thing to want to remove the ring and stay loyal to the Green Lantern Corps and another to go off like a petulant child screaming he doesn't want it over and over.
The only other non-Agent Orange related part dealt with the Guardians' reaction to Hal's new blue ring and the fallout to knowing Larfleeze has left the Vega system. For the people in charge of policing the universe, they're the dumbest little blue midgets I know. Instead of studying the blue ring or trying to find out what happened to Hal or anything remotely intelligent, they simply all start shooting Hal with green beams and telling him to take the ring off without listening to a single word he has to say.
Then, after Larfleeze finishes up with his little ultimatum to the Guardians, Scar delivers the worst line of the issue with, "The Guardians do not negotiate with terrorists.". Really? Because I'm pretty sure you negotiated with him the last time and gave him a whole sector all to himself. And labelling him a terrorist? That just reeked of a real world mouthpiece / soapbox and didn't sound like anything the Guardians would ever say, especially in this situation when faced with someone they feared enough to give an entire sector to pacify the last time.
Verdict - Check It. Agent Orange = Great. Everything else = Average at best. Made for an up and down issue. Still looking forward to the rest of Agent Orange, but I'm getting the feeling Johns may be stretching himself a little thin lately.