Green Lantern #64
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke
And after months of build up, the War begins here. The event that will carry the Green Lantern franchise into the summer, into the movie, and it kicks off with this issue before being immediately followed up by Green Lantern Crops #58, also on sale this week. But with everything we knew going in, does Johns do a good job launching the event, or does the issue drag from start to finish as the reader tries to figure out just what’s going on? The answer is very much the former, I’m happy to say.
Johns quickly goes ahead and establishes something I’d wondered about during my look at the War a few weeks ago, and inside of the first issue he takes the New Guardians off of the table. Normally I’d regulate that to a spoiler, but I actually feel that it adds a lot to the event as despite Hal initially being gone after by his own Corps for his alliance with the other Corps figureheads, and now he’s, at least for now, on his own. It makes the War feel like a Green Lantern story and not a further continuation of what Johns has been doing with Blackest Night and Brightest Day, this isn’t the War of Light, this is the War of the Green Lanterns. And sure, the method Johns uses to incite the war will definitely lend to the return of the New Guardians later in the event, it’s nice that they start off with Green, Green, and only Green. I fully expect Sinestro’s return to come first, due to his long and infamous history with the Corps.
The Guardians are given quite a bit of time in this issue as they are dragged into the forefront of the plot. Their own denial and refusal of emotions, the judgement they pass on those they deem to be imperfections. Their arrogance, their inability to possibly be at fault, or for any thing they created to be at fault. To be honest, they almost get you rooting against them. I like this, this works, this is what the Guardians have been like for a while, and I didn’t believe for a second that Blackest Night/Brightest Day would change them. Lantern Salaak, however, is a very different story, and I feel as if Johns does him a disservice in this issue. After Blackest Night Salaak confronted the Guardians and spoke his mind, telling them that he would raise more questions, and that he wouldn’t take all they said at face value. So it bothers me in this issue that he comes across as their triggerman, even before being granted an excuse for doing it. Even with a surrendering Hal just wanting to talk, something that in the past Lantern Salaak would have wanted regardless of the situation (he’s not one of the best because he’s a warrior, he’s one of the best because he’s got a good mind and sense of what’s right), Salaak turns him down and claims it to not be a democracy. This is quite literally just before he’s granted an excuse for his dickery. I’m not saying Salaak would be on Hal’s side, but he would definitely hear out someone not wanting a fight.
As far as actually launching the event goes, this issue is a success. In one issue we know why the Corps turns against the Earthborns so quickly, we know how Krona achieved his goals for the issue, where all of the entities are, and we even get a nice hint as towards what he has in store next. Now, barring the twists and turns that are obviously on the way, that’s a lot to pack into one issue. Let alone an issue that doesn’t feel like a brick wall when you try and read it. We hit the ground running, and the beat goes on.
Doug Mahnke shines in this issue, to the surprise of no one, the issue looks great. He gets to experiment a bit with other Lanterns for a change, as while this title has featured plenty of members of the New Guardians, it’s relatively rare to see other members of the GLC pop up throughout the book, but Mahnke makes them look awesome. The scenes with the Book of the Black are especially creepy looking.
I don’t think it would have surprised too many people if this event sputtered at the start, so it’s nice to say that Johns delivers one of his cleaner event openers to date. There’s a lot going on, and a real sense that things could legitimately change coming out of it, and being able to say that after just one issue is saying something. Geoff is shaking up the mythos, and as he leaves the issue hanging for part two, you just can’t help but wonder what crazy shit Hal is going to be pulling to save the universe this time!
Tags: Doug Mahnke, Geoff Johns, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Reviews, War of the Green Lanterns