Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern 11, originally released July 25th, 2012.
Patrick: Green Lantern has long been a game of science fiction escalation. You could make the argument that all serial narratives eventually encounter the problem of having to out-do what they’ve previously done, but I think this series – especially under the pen of Geoff Johns – makes a specific point to jack the stakes up to such a fever pitch as to make earlier adventures trivial by comparison. As the guardians stand on the cusp of releasing their Third Army and Black Hand returns to Earth with a hankerin’ for genocide, this series is wound about a tightly as possible.
One of the first things this issue does is establish some new-old norms: Sinestro is back to being a Green Lantern and Hal’s ring is no longer subservient to Sinestro’s (Indigo Lanterns have all kinds of powers I don’t understand). But Sinestro’s freaking out about another possible return-to-form, and he insists they figure out what happened Black Hand. But when all they discover is a gooey black splat on the rocks, our boys fear the worst and have Indigo-1 spirit them away to Korugar. Back on his home planet, Sinestro is able to access his super cool secret base (where he interestingly stores both his Green Lantern and his Yellow Lantern). Locked up in an even secreter vault is the Book of the Black, which Sinestro believes will give them insight into the Big Bad that’s on its way in the wake of Blackest Night. Only, that’s not what the book does…
On Earth, Black Lantern Black Hand re-animates the bodies of his family members – those family members which he killed in the first place, by the way. He takes them to their old home with some yummy Chinese take-out (I assume the dead — just like the living — love Chinese). Hand explains that, while it’s nice to see his family and all, what he’s really in the mood for is MURDER. Like, a ton of it. And then he’s going to re-animate those corpses and make them commit some more murder – and so on in perpetuity. The Hand family dinner is cut short when Hal and Sinestro appear in their dining room. Turns out, that’s what the Book of the Black does.
That’s not totally fair – Book of the Black also delivers PROPHECY. Yay! It’s been about 5 issues since we had a good ol’ fashioned prophecy, and most of those events foretold have already come to pass (i.e. Indigo Sinestro and Black Lantern Black Hand). So, let’s roll it on out and take a look at it.
Well there’s that mystery Lantern again – now his tattoo is glowing and it looks like he’s still packing heat. DC’s been teasing this guy for a while, and while there’s already a surplus of Green Lanterns, I hopeful this new guy can ground what’s becoming an increasingly zany world. What else we got here? Kyle as a Red Lantern, Guy behind bars and John attacked by Guardian magic. Good, good. Hey look, Atrocitus leads the Manhunters – that’s interesting. Atrocitus’ whole planet was wiped out by the Manhunters, so what brings this about? Is he turning the Guardian’s other old weapon against them? Or is he somehow providing support to the Third Army?
Then again, maybe we got this whole “Third Army” thing wrong. We assume that the Army is comprised of those pale humanoid creatures we see on the issue #13 covers, but what if that’s something else, and this new Lantern is the Third Army? At the very least, we don’t yet know what his affiliation is – is he pro-Guardians or his he pro-Corps.
Hey speaking of Guardians, it’s pretty weird that they still don’t know about Hal right? They’re able to track Sinestro’s movements and whether or not the ring is active, apparently nothing else. They also don’t seem to think twice about Sinestro being instantaneously transported from sector 2814 (did we know Nok was on Abin Sur’s sector? makes sense) to Korugar. It’s a little incongruous that they’re interested enough in him to all check in on him during some kind of Guardian meeting, but not enough to pull the reports on the ring’s activity. They should be able to see that he’s created a second ring, right? If they can tell that John broke that other corpsmen’s neck, then they can tell what Sinestro’s up to. Unless… You think the Guardians gave Sinestro his ring back because they knew he would bring about one agent of the ruin of the Corps? Those wily Guardians!
There’s also a neat little sequence inside the Sinestro-Cave. There’s a picture (either a still image or a television monitor… it’s hard to tell) that shows Sinestro with his lost love, Aran Sur. As Hal comments on how pretty she is, Sinestro’s chest-emblem flares up, and he irradicates the portrait. Sinestro asserts that they need the will to forget the past and focus on the future. It’s the odd application of actual (read: demonstratable) willpower from a Green Lantern. I like that.
Shelby: As you may know, my entry into ComicBookWorldLand was through Johns’ Blackest Night crossover event, so seeing Black Hand in all his drippy glory is like seeing an old friend. A terrifying, unholy, disgusting old friend, back from the worst of your nightmares. Basically, I couldn’t be more excited.
There’s definitely a change to Black Hand. I certainly don’t think he found an inner wellspring of compassion for his fellow man while with the Indigos, but he’s different somehow. The old Black Hand was ruthless, power-hungry, ego-driven monster, as is befitting the avatar of the physical manifestation of death. He’s still ruthless, and he’s still a monster, but now he just seems kind of lonely and sad. The first thing he does when he gets back is raise his parents from the dead. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that was the first thing he did when he was brought back from the dead the first time around, when he truly became Black Hand. He’s gone from wanting to kill everyone for the sake of doing it, to killing everyone to bring them back so…he’ll have someone to hang out with? I know it’s hard to meet people, but there’s got to be an easier way.
Johns’ is also writing this new Black Hand with a quiet kind of humor, which is delightful. From the slightly whiny “Come ON, mother,” to threatening to put his brother back in the ground for disagreeing with him, there’s a sort of upsetting charm to the whole situation (upsetting in that I can find it charming at all). The whole vibe culminates in the last panel: Black Hand calmly announces his guests as the desiccated corpses of his family look on dumbly. It’s ludicrous, so wrong, and really funny.
If this scene right here were the basis for a sitcom, I would watch the hell out of it.
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?