Green Lantern #181 Review

Reviewer: Chris Delloiacono
Story Title: Homecoming?: Part 6

Written by: Ron Marz
Penciled by: Luke Ross
Inked by: Rodney Ramos
Colored by: Moose Baumann
Lettered by: Jared Fletcher
Associate Editor: Steve Wacker
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics

The last time I reviewed Green Lantern was the anniversary issue #175. I was irritated and elated at the same time about that story. Ben Raab had just completed his underrated time on the title, but Ron Marz was preparing to rejoin Green Lantern, the franchise he made “matter” once more in the DC Universe. It was a disappointment to see Raab off the title, but the finest purveyor of Kyle Rayner’s adventures would be a worthy replacement. As of then, the future was uncertain, and the end didn’t appear so near. This was just prior to the news that Hal Jordan would be returning as a GL; so there was no need to fear.

Now it’s time to fear! Once again, an odd state of malaise has overcome me as I write this review. Ron Marz is completing his brief run and Geoff Johns is waiting in line to have his say regarding the mythos of the Emerald Gladiator. Johns happens to be one of my favorite comic writers. Seeing him onboard allows me a small sigh of relief at the prospect of the return of Hal Jordan, and the unknown future of Kyle Rayner. The emphasis being on the word small! This situation is still not cool!

I’m not just a Kyle Rayner fan. My love of Green Lantern goes back to the mid-’80s. Don’t believe for an instant that I am a Hal-hater. That’s just not true. I grew up on Hal and he’ll always have a place in my heart. My biggest worry is that the return of Hal Jordan will take Kyle Rayner from us! The DC Universe is a large enough place for Hal and Kyle to exist together! Kyle’s still popular, and his stewardship of the name Green Lantern has been greeted with strong sales. Two GL titles should not be a problem. The title Green Lantern has had a tremendous amount of forward momentum in the past decade. I would hate to see that thrown away, simply to revisit the Silver Age.

“Homecoming?” turned out to be an emotionally poignant story of a superhero meeting a great inner-crisis. The story flawlessly bookends Marz’s earliest GL stories. Marz’s first arc, “Emerald Twilight” (running in issues 48-50), featured the inner-crisis of Hal Jordan and his single-handed destruction of the Green Lantern Corps. Those events led directly to the introduction of a more hip GL, Kyle Rayner, and his first steps as a hero. “Homecoming?” follows many of the beats that those early stories laid out and closes out some dangling threads as well. This time, it’s Kyle that faces the inner-crisis. We even have a potential end to the purity of the name Green Lantern—although this potential end has nothing to do with Kyle following in Hal’s footsteps and mutilating his comrades.

This all leads to a new beginning.

Or is it an ending?

For Hal Jordan it is quite clearly a beginning.

Kyle’s fate is up to Geoff Johns.

I won’t giveaway story details for this or any other issue in the arc. I will whet your appetite with this: We finally get the showdown between Major Force and Kyle that’s been brewing since Force killed Kyle’s girlfriend and stuffed her head in a refrigerator back in issue #54.

I enjoyed Luke Ross’ take on Green Lantern for the past six issues. Ross’ artwork captured the desperation, the horror, and, quite simply, the utter-shambles that is Kyle’s life. Ross also meets the challenges of the superhero aspects of the story. The final confrontation between Kyle and Force does not disappoint! Luke Ross brought it all home with the satisfying “payback is a b—h” finale.

This issue serves as the final piece of a legacy that shined brighter-than-ever after wholesale change. No matter how far downhill the franchise goes from here, Ron Marz will be remembered for writing some of the finest stories to bear the Green Lantern name. Between Marz’s two runs on the book, Kyle Rayner’s adventures continued. Kyle’s been the star GL for 131 issues (51-181), plus annuals, miniseries, and specials! With any luck, this is not the end of Kyle Rayner’s days as a Green Lantern.