Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Philip Tan and Jonathan Glapion
Aside from some disappointment over the quick reversal of last issue's cliffhanger, I think this was possibly the strongest issue in the Agent Orange arc. Just seemed to have much better pacing and the flow between subplots, like the John Stewert/Fatality bit or the discovery of the Black Lantern, it all just clicked for me this month.
Now, to touch on that reversal of last month's cliffhanger, for those unawares, Larfleeze cut Hal Jordan's Blue Lantern ring hand off to conclude last issue. It was shocking and unexpected and full of dramatic irony with how Hal's been responsible for cutting off other Lanterns' hands in the past. However, Johns simply copped out on it and made it all a dream sequence for Larfleeze caued by the Blue Lantern ring showing him his hopes and dreams.
I'm probably nitpicking over this, as it's, sadly, a major part of periodicals to have these types of endings each month to drive reader interest, but it always bugs me when the cliffhanger is a complete lie, such as the recent Captain Britain and MI13 dream sequence victory for Dracula, which is almost identical in execution to this Green Lantern bait and switch. While we've seen the blue rings do this before with John Stewert, I think we can all agree this is much more blatant and serves only as shock value. I can only imagine how it will read in a trade where it's this huge reveal of his hand cut off followed by a "it's a dream" page.
Overly long winded nitpicking aside, the rest of the issue followed up on this quite well. Hal finally using his blue ring and creating his own Corps of willpower constructs, similar to Larfleeze's Orange Lantern Corps, were great and I look forward to seeing more on the Fatality/John Stewert "relationship". The Guardians making another deal with Larfleeze quickly blew up in their faces as he took the information given to him about the Blue Lantern homeworld and quickly set off to claim it and the rings as his own, just as Sayd and Ganthet were reruiting another new recruit (the one that received Hal's ring when it flew off maybe?). As the blue ring seemed to be quite effective against orange when Hal used it, I imagine it will be a fairly interesting fight between those two corps.
In regards to the quest for the Anti-Monitor's remains, Ash and Saarek both arrived on the Black Lantern homeworld, which their rings could not identified as its location was "classified". I assume Scar has it classified on everyone. What appears to be the first Black Lantern or possibly its "Guardian" emerged from the ground with two white/zombie pale coloured skinned arms flailing out screaming for flesh. Actually, the flesh speech bubble looked like a black lantern, similar to when other rings announce things, so maybe a Black Lantern ring was simply detecting/calling out for the flesh? Whatever it was, I wasn't actually expecting zombie flesh craving villains to make up the Black Lanterns, but I guess the whole dead rising from their graves thing should have gave that away...
Verdict - Must Read. Very solid outing for Green Lantern that did an excellent job of balancing the numerous subplots occuring in the book.