Wednesday, September 30, 2009
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.