Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Green Lantern #46 Review

As I've been kind of down on Blackest Night lately, I thought it would be a good idea to spotlight Green Lantern #46 for one of my image based reviews this week.  These usually have more spoilers than the typical review, mostly due to spotlighting images from the issue, so be forewarned before clicking through to the review. If you can overcome great fear (of spoilers), hit the jump for my review of Green Lantern.

Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

As I mentioned in the preamble, I've been a bit down on Blackest Night lately.  Johns has taken a Secret Invasion-like approach to breaking up the story.  Big, widescreen action scenes and shock killings take place in the main book as it touches on various parts of the story, but never really gave us any plot progression.

It was literally the same story for three issues straight, each hitting the exact same beats and relying on Black Lanterns saying mean things to former loved ones before killing them brutally and turning them into Black Lanterns.  In Secret Invasion, this played out with Skrulls showing up, everyone claiming they don't trust each other, a fight breaking out and someone dying and/or being revealed as a Skrull. 

While Secret Invasion literally engulfed the entire line of Marvel comics in the event with countless tie-ins, like Blackest Night, it also had core issues revealing the motivation, backstory and progressing major plot points or carrying on fights that started in the main event.  This gives the main story a hallow feeling.  The big scenes lack impact with the repetitive nature and widescreen format that only allows for a page or two of focus on each individual fight or scene, leaving little time to explore characters or reactions to events or even give a better picture of the the fight.  Some liked this, others didn't.  I hated the vapid nature of the storytelling in SI and fear Blackest Night will go down the same path.

 Hal Jordan explains to Carol Ferris how to 'kill' the undead Black Lanterns.

Which brings us to this issue of Green Lantern.  Simply put, this is everything I expected from Blackest Night and more.  It has a clear focus on the War of Light between the Star Sapphires and Sinestro Corps.  The Black Lanterns were thrown into the mix of this fight, their numbers swelling with each death of a Sinestro or Star Sapphire.  There was time to spotlight smaller, but recognizable corpsmen from each of the corps, the big fights all had time to show interactions between the characters as the tide of battle ebbed and flowed back and forth.

 This should have been obvious to me, but I didn't expect the dead lovers powering the Star Sapphires Central Power Battery to be revived as Black Lanterns. Also, "of Earth"?  Interesting...

In short, it's the first time it felt like I was reading the follow-up event to the Sinestro Corps War.  Recall moments like Arkillo vs Kilowog or the showdown with Hal, Kyle and Sinestro or how the Battle for Mogo weaved in and out of several seperate but related events, such as the Children of the White Lobe, Sodam Yat inside Ranx and so on.  This issue of Green Lantern elicited many of the same emotions as those Sinestro Corps War issues as this chapter of Blackest Night dealt with the events unfolding on Zamaron before switching gears to Kurugar for a showdown between Sinestro and Mongul.  I believe the difference between this issue and the Blackest Night event book is that this issue doesn't forget its roots as a Green Lantern story (which is funny saying as this is an issue of Green Lantern) while the Blackest Night title focuses on catering to everyone else in the DC Universe and ignores the fact its a Green Lantern story first, linewide event second. 

Loved how Sinestro,who's being ground under Mongul's boot, actually lashes out at Hal, Carol and Indigo-1 for attempting to help him. 

With my more macro overview of Blackest Night and how it relates to this issue over with, let's talk specifics on this issue.  Sinestro stepped up big this issue.  For someone that has barely appeared in Blackest Night, it now feels like it's his event.  He liberates his corpsmen from the Star Sapphires, is perfectly calm and collected while dealing wtih an army of undead Black Lantern Sinestro Corpsmen attacking him, more than holds his own against Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris and Indigo-1, shows a human side with concern for his corpsmen that we rarely see from him and has an epic showdown with Mongul on Korugar for control of the Sinestro Corps before establishing himself as the leader of the Black Lantern resistence movement.

 No, Mongul isn't dead. I swear, he's immortal.  Sinestro didn't want to kill him until he was sure he wouldn't simply rise as a Black Lantern.  He imprisons him in the mobile yellow central power battery.

Where Sinestro was space Hitler in the Sinestro Corps War, he's practically the hero here.  Hell, after deposing Mongul, even the people of Korugar are starting to warm up to their former dictator.  Now, if only the rest of the event can follow up on such a great issue, I'll be more than happy with changing my tune towards Blackest Night.

 Abin Sur, chillin' with his dead sister, Arin, who just happens to be the recently revealed wife of Sinestro.  Abin seemed much more lucid than typical Black Lanterns. Also, arrived in his rocket instead of just flying like other Black Lanterns. Curious.

On the negative side of things, I had to re-read Blackest Night #3 to find out how Hal and Indigo-1 made it to Zamaron.  I remembered the whole talk between Barry and Hal about how stupid it would be for the only Green Lantern on Earth to leave everyone in the dark, but couldn't recall Hal leaving.  Seems there was one panel where Indigo-1 was putting up a forcefield bubble and saying they must go, but there's no indication they left or were teleporting, which left me confused as to why they magically show up on Zamaron here.  Apparently, that "we must go" line meant she was going to teleport them there.  With the tie-in nature of the issue, I figured it would be explained in the next issue of Blackest Night #4 before going back and re-reading #3.  That could have been shown much clearer than it was.  Other than that, I have no complaints about this issue.  It was just about as perfect an issue as you could ask for.

Verdict - Must Read. 22-pages of non-stop adrenline rush that is tightly paced and beautifully rendered.  Take your favourite Sinestro Corps War issue and this will more than likely blow it out of the water.  Excellent job by all involved. 

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Mike Haynes said...

Wicked review Kirk. Reading it has now pushed Green Lantern #46 to the top of reading list!

Primewax said...

This issue is the best issue of Green Lantern yet, not to mention the highlight of Blackest Night thus far. If I did a Moment of the Week, it would have to go to Sinestro attacking Hal and Carol from underneath Mongul's foot. With a construct of Abin Sur no less. Its just unfair for Blackest Night: Titans #2 to have to compete with this masterpiece this week. In fair, all of this weeks issues lag far behind it. Great stuff, glad you liked it.

hydrogenizedsoy said...

The previous issues of Blackest Night and Green Lantern had me sitting on the fence as well; I have to agree with you Kirk that this issue works pretty darn well as a tie-in and as a standalone. And the art, whooo-ee! Props to Mahke (along with his inkers) and Mayor/Eltaeb, gorgeous stuff.

ModernTenshi04 said...

Yeah, just read it, and I'm still reeling over what I just read. The excitement I'm feeling is easily higher than the first issue of Blackest Night I read several months ago.

Two things:

1) Holy crap Johns has become wordy with this and the previous Blackest Night issue. It's like he's sitting there writing and is all, "So I hear you like reading with your comics?"

2) The panel with Scar grinning was CREEPY AS HELL.

Kirk Warren said...

@Modern TEnshi04 - Youre damn right that was one creepy looking Guardian. Kudos to Mahnke for that one.

About the wordiness of Johns recently, there were a few instances of it here, but I didn't find it as bad as Indigo-1's inability to shut up for 2 seconds in Blackest Night #3 or other similar exposition heavy scenes, like Hal and Barry chatting, etc.

cm22 said...

I'm glad personally to see more Hawkman/Hawkgirl work done. I don't remember if the lovers were always drawn with their wings. I remember in the first SS focus issue they said they were from earth, but I didn't immediately jump to them being Carter and Sheira/Kendra, but being that they are is great. It also poses a bizarre standard as now there are technically 2 hawkman/woman bodies running around, and given how many past lives they've had if they can all be brought back that would be enough to populate the entire Black Lantern Corps themselves. But really the fact that they're kind of the embodyment of love in the DCU is a great thing for the characters, and hopefully Geoff can restore them AGAIN like he did in JSA and when he wrote the Hawkman book.

Oh, and all that Green Lantern stuff was cool too I suppose.

El Gostro said...

Though of course I celebrated Siniestro's ass kicking,I must confess I cheered when Mongul shutted Indigo up!
"It itches"
How do you like them "tlok nek's" biatch!

Daryll B. said...

Again my problem with Blackest night popped up here again...inconsistency.

Here we have BL Zombies holding not just one, or two but THREE different light corps at bay. Normal humans in other books should be toast within seconds (hear that DC...I looking at Ma Kent, the Gordons, Batman, Robin etc.)

Nice to see Johns remember that Hal Jordan is a hero instead of a anti hero selfish putz. How can the same writer write the same hero 2 different ways is beyond me.

OK biiiiiig question (or like 3 questions) here, if Hawkman and Hawkgirl are zombified on Earth how could their past selves be zombified in the Zamaron lantern? Isn't reincarnation the fact that it is the same soul living life in a new body with each incarnation? O man has Johns actually set up his next 'Rebirth' project with this?

Why did Abin and Arin need a space ship?

Can Indigo-2 speak english or can the staff translate or whatever? Seems pretty stupid to send someone to pass the word on how to stop the zombies who can't communicate...

Why bring Xanthu back of all the dead planets? I seem to recall this exploded planet called Krypton that if resurrected under a yellow sun...BAM! You got Super Zombies WITH Black Rings....

So far the 3 most appealing characters of this whole thing so far have been Carol Ferris, Sinestro and Zombie Bzzd....

Yep Kirk I channeling pure evil now with these Good Work Sir!

Kirk Warren said...

@Daryll B. - Let's see if I can tackle a few of these:

I agree with the humans/non-lanterns holding up against the Black Lanterns, but we have to go with the whole tie-ins dont count rule. =p Most super-heroes have either died fighting them or damage, but never stop the Black Lanterns. Ignoring Smallville and non-powered heroes somehow surviving, I think the black Lanterns have been fairly consistent across the Green Lantern-based books.

re: Hawkman & Hawkgirl

I have no idea how this works or if they are actually the original 'lovers' before reincarnation. I'm sure it'll be explained at some point, but it's a big question mark for me right now.

Re: Abin and Arin

I think that was just to mirror how Abin died originally and isn't meant to mean anything else.

Re: Xanshi

That is one big WTF for me. I have no idea why the planet is a Black Lantern or how/if the people are all Black Lanterns now. Maybe Krypton's star vaporized the planet and didn't leave enough for it to reconsistute, but Xanshi's return makes no sense to me and is the elephant in the room. Maybe it's just a ring construct.

Dan Radice said...

@Daryll B (and @Kirk, I suppose)

re: Khufu/Chay-era/Hawkman/Hawkgirl

The souls depart, the bodies remain. In Blackest Night #3, Ray postulates (basically expositing an explanation on behalf of Johns) that the rings are wearing the bodies, not the other way around.

re: Abin/Arin

Kirk's right. It's a nod to how Abin originally appeared to Hal Jordan, right down to the dialogue. "An Earthman. I never thought I'd live to see the day..."

re: Indigo's English

Yes. It's presumed that they all can, just choose not to.

re: Xanshi

Uh, because John Stewart is responsible for its destruction.

Remember, the Black Lanterns aren't like zombies in the sense that they're indiscriminately raising the dead. No, no, it's clear that the rings are SPECIFICALLY choosing who to raise, and Xanshi is yet another patented Black Lantern Dick Move.

Daryll B. said...

Thanks Guys...I was trying to be a lil sarcastic but glad you caught the funny with the serious.

But (to Dan) if the rings are picking who they can resurrect, Sue Dibny? Really? Kidding Kidding..

Thanks for the replies guys!

The Dangster said...

I like Slushh getting hit with rings and Sinestro's apparent concern for him.

I thought the Mongul vs. Sinestro fight was excellent but it's hard to top the Mongul/Arkillo fight

brandon said...

What exactly happened to Slussh? Did he eat a Black Lantern and then had the ring explode out of him?

Kirk Warren said...

Slushh ate some Black Lanterns (any maybe had some left overs inside him from non-Black Lanterns) and the rings entered him, revived them and they busted out through his body, damaging his membrane that holds his slime together.

Anonymous said...

Awesome issue and great review kirk.

Best issue of the event so far.

Arin, who the hell is arin?! Reminds me of a song!

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