Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Green Lantern Corps #38 Review

Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art by Patrick Gleason and Rebecca Buchman

Green Lantern Corps doesn't need Blackest Night or any other event to push the envelope. It's basically its own event book as it is. Every issue features breakneck pacing, tonnes of action, a handful of character moments and plots that weave in and out of each other with a grace rarely seen.

However, as good as GLC is, it couldn't possibly keep that pace up without occasionally cutting some corners in an attempt to serve its parent title, Green Lantern, and the upcoming Blackest Night. Case in point, with Blackest Night starting right after (or at the end, technically) this issue, it felt like Tomasi and Gleason just ran out of room for their current stories and had to put the breaks on everything, effectively ending everything whether the stories were ready for it or not.

The biggest culprit in this regard was the Sinestro Corps' occupation of Daxam. What was an engaging struggle for freedom between the Daxamites and the Mongul led Sinestro Corps, one which saw Ion sacrifice himself to free his people and also an epic battle between Mongul and Arkillo, ended in a simple two page splashpage with some text boxes. In the face of resistence from the yellow star powered Daxamites, Mongul just gives up and says he and the rest of the Sinestro Corps are leaving. There's no fight, no retribution, no conclusion. We didn't even see what Arkillo had been up to during this after several scenes playing up his subplot post-Mongul fight. Whether Tomasi just misjudged time or page counts is anyone's guess, but for what was the biggest subplot of the Emerald Eclipse arc, this was not the way anyone could have expected it to end.

Another subplot that seemed to drift by the wayside was the Sinestro's daughter plot. After being revealed to be Soranik Natu two issues ago, we didnt' even see Natu last month and she only shows up briefly here to tell us she really is Sinestro's daughter and then is never heard from again. It was a subplot I was concerned about at first, then bought into fully after it was fleshed out and now I'm back to wondering what was the point of it. It was introduced and almost forgotten instantly.

Doom and gloom about the rushed feeling of several of the subplots in this issue aside, I actually really liked it and highly recommend the book to anyone who'll listen. It is not bad and these faults are only minor quibbles in comparison to the amount of space I devoted to talking about them. Could these things have been handled a little better? Yes, but I'm sure some will be picked up in Blackest Night proper and, if not, they were still endings of a sort and not something to get dwell on either.

The main plot of this issue actually dealt with the lesser of the various subplots from Emerald Eclipse - the riot on Oa, which, up until now, had been relegated to various macro view splashpages of those events. The destruction of Oa's green lantern shell was immediately picked up on and played out with confusion and lots of symbolism, which got a little heavy handed at times. While, yes, I guess the Green Lanterns could be seen as a symbol of hope and order for the universe, the destruction of their little bubble won't have people crying in their sleep or wondering who will protect them now either. I'm also not sure why the Guardians didn't just make a new one. Didn't seem too taxing to make it the first time...

I assume the destruction of the bubble was to make way for the Black Lantern rings, which were shown at the end of the issue craving flesh and flying through the universe. I'm guessing they bust into the Green Lantern morgue and we have some Sinestro Corps War Special deja vu with an opening salvo on Oa to kick off the event.

Speaking of Blackest Night, the Guardians are probably due for a big fall when all's said and done. They give the order to the Alpha Lanterns to start executing prisoners from the riot, which is promptly broken up by Guy and Kyle, who can't believe what they're seeing. This wasn't even Scar leading the other Guardians by the tails like usual. They required no prodding to kick off the killings and even brought the prisoners out in public for all to see when Kyle and Guy questioned the need for secrecy in the executions. It ended with the Guardians sparing the two prisoners Kyle and Guy made promises to spare/commute sentences for if they helped with the riot and the rest were burned to ash by the Alpha Lanterns. Guy and Kyle were temporarily suspended and sent back to Earth for safe keeping in what I assume will be a bloody opening salvo on Oa for Blackest Night.

Verdict - Must Read. While there's some disappointment with the sudden ends to several key plots from the past few months, it's hard to fault the book for it when the rest of it was so damn good.

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