Review: Green Lantern #16 By Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke


Green Lantern #16
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin, Tony Avina, and Alex Sinclair

The short of it:

As the remains of Edward Wale’s house burn to the ground, and with it, any evidence to absolve Simon Baz of his accused sins, Simon Baz has two things to deal with. Agent Fed acknowledging that, despite the lack of any evidence, he personally believes Baz, and B’Dg needing to take him under his wing/paw so he can find out what happened to Hal Jordan. This means finding the lost battery, recharging the ring, and sorting out the messages from Hal and Sinestro. This means that all of Baz’s on the spot training is coming from B’Dg, and not the typical Kilowog, which leads to interesting results. The messages tell Simon and B’Dg what we, the readers, already know. That the Guardians betrayed Hal and Sinestro, empowered Black Hand, and are about to do something insane. So now it’s time to head out to space and gather the Corps, right?

Well, not so fast. See, the best thing about Simon is that he’s NOT Hal Jordan, which means he has more important things to do before playing superhero. He has Simon Baz things to do, which means he was just told the ring on his finger can do anything he wills it to, and he wants to fix his greatest mistake. He goes to the hospital, meets his sister, and tries to use the ring to bring her husband out of his coma. The one he is only in because of a mistake Simon made. B’Dg tells him repeatedly that the ring can not do such a thing, that life and death, sickness and health, these are not things a Green Lantern ring can change. Simon refuses to believe that, he attempts the impossible as security surrounds the room. But does he succeed? You’ll have to read the issue!

Simon’s story is continued….in Green Lantern Corps #16, also on shelves this week!

But our one page of Hal and Sinestro does reveal the man in the hood to be a deceased friend and ally!

What I liked:

  • Ch’p was before my time, and I just assume B’Dg is from the same planet, and I have always just thought “it’s a squirrel”, laughed, and forgotten about it. Well, he’s an absolute star in this issue. He’s a believer in Hal Jordan, a hater of Sinestro (though he does like his ears), and he’s far more of a partner than a drill sergeant, which only makes Baz’s coming together that much more enjoyable.
  • I say it every month, but enough good can not be said about Simon Baz. The highlight of this issue was his decision to do the impossible and save Nazir, and the emotion in the scene was real. I cared if he succeeded or failed, and I was actively rooting for him to do the impossible. Geoff crafted a scene where I teared up along with the characters on panel, and that’s powerful writing.
  • I’m really not used to Green Lantern being such a human book, I mean, Hal Jordan didn’t take his mask off between the end of the Sinestro Corps War, and his being booted out of the Corps at the end of War of the Green Lanterns. Johns had conditioned readers to expect big time action without much breathing room, and the book was must read. Well, now it’s still must read, but he’s swapped out the blockbuster action in favor of a well written drama. If anything, I consider it to be ten times the book it was a year ago, and I was in love with it then.
  • Doug Mahnke and his army of inkers and colorists continue to provide one of the best looking books on the market. B’Dg never appears as a cartoony character, despite being a giant squirrel. Simon and his sister’s tears feel real, the expressions are perfect, the body language is spot on. The book looks as humanly as it reads.

What I didn’t like:

  • So, how about an extra buck for some more pages?
  • The cover says “RISE OF THE THIRD ARMY” and has Baz and dozens of Third Army soldiers. No Third Army soldiers appear in this book. Fail.

Final thoughts:

I’ve been getting this feeling recently that Hal Jordan was only ever a means to an end. Over the course of Geoff’s time on Green Lantern we’ve seen Sinestro go from his classic stance as the go-to nemesis to galaxy wide threat, to hero in his own right. We’ve seen Carol Ferris go from “Hal’s Girl” to a strong and independent woman who spent a brief period of time as the Queen of the Star Sapphires. I could go on for paragraphs with this list, but instead I’ll just fast forward to Simon Baz. The most dynamic and human character that this book has seen in years (counting the before-time), and just an absolute star as a lead character. I haven’t sympathized with a lead character in Green Lantern since Ron Marz came back to write Kyle (and before then, Winnick), and here I am tearing up over an issue of Green Lantern.

I can’t remember the last time Geoff managed to get actual emotion out of me with a plot point, it was long overdue.

Anything short of his own ongoing book after Hal eventually comes back would be an insult to the character of Simon Baz. He’s one of the best new characters in years, and he’s strong enough to carry his own title. He doesn’t need to wind up lost in a team book shuffle…though looking at JLA, he’d be the top draw. At least for me.

Man, I want to see Arkillo in this book.

Given the way Baz’s ring died last issue when he really needed it…yes, I fully understand him wanting to carry a gun.

Letting Baz accomplish the seemingly impossible was a fantastic way to build up his importance as a Green Lantern. The difference between a man with no fear using the ring, and a man who knows fear and understands faith. He just wanted to do the right thing, and it let him override the rings abilities. Wonderful moment.

Now I’m off to read Green Lantern Corps to see Simon team up with GUY GARDNER!

Overall: 9.5/10

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