Green Lantern #63
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Ed Benes and Ardian Syaf
This is the last issue of the core GL book before the War begins, and Johns chooses to dedicate the time to fleshing out a few long subplots instead of giving us the expected action heavy kind of prologue we’ve come to expect. We get some nice important tidbits about Krona, revelations about the massacre of sector 666, as well as the origins of both the power rings and the failure of the Manhunters. In fact, the biggest problem this issue has is that it isn’t be regular series artist Doug Mahnke, which I think marks his first missed issue since coming on to the book at the start of Blackest Night. I could easily be wrong.
The early pages are what we’d all seen before, as the first several pages of the book were in the back of virtually ever DC title there was last week, so there’s no real new content until we see Hal. That isn’t to say the Krona stuff in the beginning is forgettable, as it does feature the Guardians wearing the White Lantern logo in the Manhunter times as well as further building his friendship with Ganthet, which helps establish his role in the War. The issue really kicks off with Hal and the other New Guardians as the team comes together, Krona finishing his plans off-panel in an relatively effective manner. The group develops a mutual goal, and off they go.
The Guardians have been noting during their brief appearances over the past few issues that Hal Jordan has been completely off the radar, shielding his ring from being scanned by them and doing his best to go unnoticed in his actions. That ends now, as they have detected him in the presence of the other Lantern Corps and have ordered Lantern Salaak to get together a team of Lantern’s to ambush and bring him in. It’s time for Hal to be brought in on treason, furthering what Krona said last issue about how he would be set up to crash down hard for a second time.
The book moves to the landscape of Ryut as it draws to a close, with the New Guardians traveling to Krona’s former base of operations. There’s a nice little moment between Hal and Carol as the two revisit their relationship yet again, and we can see just what kind of lasting effects Carol’s recent journeys as leader of the Star Sapphire’s have had on her. She hasn’t had the easiest past couple of months, and she’s also never really been cut out for this lifestyle. She took on her role as a Star Sapphire again because Hal needed her, but it’s starting to become apparent to her and several others that something may be wrong with Hal. She’s a strong character who isn’t exactly famed for second guessing herself, and it’s handled nicely here. Johns has been doing a nice job as characterizing her as more than just Hal’s girlfriend.
The events on Ryut include the Book of the Black, the lost pages of the Book of Oa, seen often during the build up to Blackest Night, usually with the infected Guardian, Scar, reading over it. The team finds it, and almost immediately are given a glimpse into its pages. More time with Krona is granted, as we discover several previously unknown facts about the mythos, ending with the truth behind the massacre of Sector 666. It’s an infodump, but it was a necessary and nice to have one. Krona’s character is expanded upon, and more motivation is given for various sides in the upcoming conflict. His importance to the mythos now far exceeds the previous “created the multiverse”, and I’m eagerly awaiting Johns retelling of just how exactly the fall came to pass.
Ed Benes does the art for the Krona pages of the issue, which look good, but it’s kind of weird to see someone who does superheroes like Benes doing the less flashy Krona and his tails. Sure, the sector 666 stuff is great, and the attention to detail and the faces of the Guardains are very nicely done, but it just feels like a weird style to use for this portion of the title. Benes is a big action superhero guy, so a low action spot on a book just feels odd. Ardian Syaf handles the present day portions, namely the stuff with Hal, and does a good job. Far better than the work he turned in on Green Lantern Corps, and definitely showing the progress he was making over in Brightest Day. He’s not Doug Mahnke, or Ivan Reis, but if they had to go with a fill in artist, they definitely could have made a worse choice. It’s not as flashy or clean as we’ve gotten used to in this book, but given the last time there was a fill in artist (that wasn’t Benes) it was Phillip Tan, I think we’re doing pretty well.
This issue is definitely the calm before the storm, as Johns does a nice job further pushing the event coming up with the next issue but without really pushing anything too hard. It lacks the usual level of quality that the book has maintained over the past year, but it’s still not bad. Doug Mahnke’s artistic presence was sorely missed in this issue, but he’ll be back next issue. There’s some interesting stuff that goes on here, and if you’ve been on board and are waiting on the War, it’s worth the read, but it’s not an easy read for someone new to the franchise that may be jumping on due to last weeks promotions.
Tags: ed benes, Geoff Johns, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Reviews, War of the Green Lanterns