Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Green Lantern 6, originally released February 8th, 2012.
Shelby: I forget how much I like Green Lantern. You wouldn’t think I would be able to forget; I devoured Rebirth and Blackest Night. Green Lantern was my introduction to the wackiness of the DC universe. Without Green Lantern, I probably would not be sitting here writing this post. Hal’s cocky attitude, his eternally doomed relationship with Carol, his never-ending-struggle with Sinestro, his former mentor and partner: I enjoy it all. While I’ve been enjoying Green Lantern so far with the relaunch, it was this issue that really made me remember just how much I like Green Lantern.
Issue 5 was nicely resolved with Sinestro cleaning house on Korugar and Hal getting all mushy with Carol. There was even kissing. To continue with the lovey-dovey stuff, Issue 6 opens with Hal and Carol on a date. Hal beats up some guys threatening an old man while Carol is in the bathroom (usual date stuff) and then reiterates to her how he doesn’t need to be a super hero because he has her, etc., etc. Meanwhile, Sinestro is on some distant planet threatening Starstorm, a washed-up nemesis, to help him find…Lyssa Drak! Dun dun dun! You may remember her as the barely clothed Sinestro Corps member in charge of The Book of the Black. Anyway, Sinestro and Starstorm find her, and try to confront her, but Lyssa’s pretty on top of her game. During the ensuing struggle, Sinestro grabs a page out of the Book, and gets a glimpse of The Guardians plans to venture into the Chamber of Shadows to get the First Lantern and raise the Third Army. Sinestro defeats Lyssa with some of Starstorm’s hardware, and zips away with the book in tow. Back on Earth, Hal and Carol are just waking up after some sexy time when Hal’s ring goes crazy, transforming him into a Green Lantern. Sinestro shows up, all, “my ring, my will,” and tells Hal he is far from done with Lantern Corps.
Let’s talk for a second about the new artist we have on this book. Different art in a story you love can be scary, but I’m a fan of what Mike Choi has done with this. One tiny issue I have with it: Hal kind of looks like a 12-year-old when he’s in his civies.
While that’s a little silly, the rest of Choi’s work has a softness to it that I find really appealing. With interesting perspectives and creative panel layouts, Choi has a great way of telling a mini-story with little to no character dialogue. My favorite moment in the issue: Hal is waving goodbye to Carol, and has a strange moment when he sees his hand without his ring. A pretty straightforward plot point, but just look at how Choi has presented this idea to us.
I mean, come on! That is concise, smart, sophisticated design right there. Hat’s off to you, Choi, that’s some good work.
That’s not to say the story is at all lacking here. I was introduced to Geoff Johns’ writing with the Green Lantern Rebirth arc, and he continues to impress me. I can’t help but compare this title to Aquaman; I think Johns has achieved a better balance with Green Lantern between comic book action and genuine character moments. Hal and Carol’s date is touching without being cloying, Sinestro’s battle with Lyssa is expository without being boring. I also thing this title has a little more drive behind it than Aquaman. I get the same big-picture vibe that is so Johns, but without the drag of seeing such a small portion of that picture.
I’m excited to read this title. I’m a sucker for the machinations of the Guardians, I cannot wait to see what they’re going to screw up next. And how about that brief glimpse into the Book of the Black? We’ve got members of the Corps being dissolved, a Guardian with a white ring (what!?), Hal dead next to Black Hand (whoa!), Sinestro dead, and Sinestro as a member of (gasp!) the Indigo Tribe! Oh, the ever mysterious Indigos, force of compassion in the universe; I’m a sucker for them, too. I am really looking forward to seeing where this is going.
Patrick: You and I are suckers for similar bullshit. You know what I’ve noticed about Green Lantern? The series is best when it presents the idea that it’s going somewhere. The cleanest, easiest way to do this is to inject the space-epic with prophecies. Now, I’m no Green Lantern Historian (note to self: start gimmick twitter account), but the very first prophecy that directed the momentum of series for decades, “The Blackest Night” was laid out in a arc penned by Alan Moore. This is as strong an argument for Moore’s assertion that DC is “still apparently dependent on ideas that [he] had 25 years ago” as the recent announcement of the Watchmen prequel. But now that the Green Lanterns have blown through Blackest Night and Brightest Day, they’re venturing out into unprophecized waters. Time to inject some future-seeing into the proceedings.
Enter Lyssa Drak and the Book of the Black. I don’t know why it works, but telling me what’s going to happen gets me excited for the future. That single page is packed with game-changing details, which you were kind enough to detail above. Part of what makes this work for me is Johns’ history with changing the game when it comes to Green Lantern. The universe is one where any-crazy-thing can happen, and I love it when I am promised “something crazy will happen.” After shaking off the initial dead-end arc (which I didn’t hate, for the record), it looks like we’re finally going somewhere.
And as much as I think the outer-spacie stuff is moving in the right direction, I was most impressed with the Earth stuff. Drew has complained in the past about how thin the relationship between Hal and Carol is. At the time, it was hard to present a convincing argument to the contrary. Finally, issue 6 delivers some of what makes a relationship compelling – boring day-to-day shit. Clark and Lois, Hal and Carol, Peter Parker and Mary Jane (a non-DC example, I’m sorry) – none of these relationships are made in big dramatic kisses, but in the characters spending time together. After seeing so much of their relationship play out as Green Lantern and Star Sapphire, it was nice to just spend some time with Hal and Carol.
Really selling these more human moments is the art of Mike Choi and soft coloring of Alex Sinclair. On twitter today, Choi accepted the praise fans were paying him, but admitted that something is inevitably lost between his brain and the page. Not every page is a masterpiece, but he does play an awful lot with focus, which is something I’m not used to seeing all that much of in comics. The sequence you mentioned with Hal discovering he’s not wearing his ring is a pretty striking example of this, but there’s also this really kickin’ panel from Starstorm’s POV as Sinestro puts the helmet on him:
It gives everything a slightly more cinematic feel. Green Lantern has been going for the Big Budget Block Buster feel for so long that it’s sort of a relief to see what’s cool about the series scaled down. Not every issue needs to be packed to the gills with crazy monsters doing impossible battle in outer space; some can have quiet moments. Even the space action this week seemed grounded: instead of taking on a Korugar full of Yellow Ringslingers, Sinestro goes one-on-one against Lyssa. This allows for there to be a little intimacy in the encounter, and I can instinctively feel that the stakes are higher than if 60 points of Green and Yellow light were dueling it out. Choi is listed as a guest artist, so I anticipate that Doug Mahnke’s spectacle will return after a few issues away. Maybe we’ll be ready for it when it comes back, but I’m enjoying the change of pace for now.
Here’s a question: who is Starstorm? I fell behind on the GLC trades after Blackest Night, so he could have shown up during that time. His magical helmet looks like it could be Quardian, but that’s an assertion so geeky I think I might vomit. Sinestro claims that he once considered Starstorm his nemesis – was that back when Thaal was wearing Green or Yellow? No matter how much I learn about the Green Lantern universe, there’s always like 10,000 things about which I’m absolutely clueless. Maybe I need to rethink that gimmicky twitter-handle…
Joke twitter accounts aside, I’m genuinely excited about Green Lantern again. If this pattern holds, it seems like Johns has to burn through one crappy arc in each of his series before he starts churning out the good stuff again. Here’s hoping Justice League that lead.
For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page. Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore. If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there. There’s no need to pirate, right?