Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing the Green Lantern Corps 14, originally released October 10th, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage.
Shelby: Big crossover events are fun. We like to see various creative teams working together on one story, and large-scale epic stories are an exciting change of pace. A major downside of an epic crossover, however, is having to get your characters to where they need to be. This shuffling of players is necessary, and can be handled in a way that’s still interesting and engaging. Peter Tomasi has got players moving into place and even gives us some major plot pieces in the process, but the end result still falls a little flat.
The issue starts as Guy and the rest of his crew try to fight off members of the Third Army. Naturally, that doesn’t go very well, and soon Guy is faced with the Third Army versions of his own team. He bolts, but not without first sending constructs to whisk his father, sister, and brother to Justice League HQ to keep them safe from Xar (the escaped alien he thinks is coming after him). Salaak and Kilowog discover the full footage of what happened to John, which would have definitely exonerated him of the murder charges, as well as the fact that the Guardians have been preventing rings from finding new recruits. Speaking of John, he’s still following around a tiny piece of Mogo, when he is suddenly joined by Star Sapphire Fatality, drawn to ” a heart torn asunder [which] seeks to be one.” Guy arrives back at Oa, where the Guardians throw the book at him; they blame him for losing his team, as well as allowing the delegation he was supposed to be escorting get slaughtered, spoiling all chances for peace. Guy resigns from the Corps, and turns in his ring.
This issue definitely feels like we’re just moving players into place. While that’s probably not a bad thing for the Third Army plot as a whole, it does make this issue feel a little jilted. On the one hand, it’s good to see the Guardians’ plans come closer and closer to fruition. On the other, though, things are really starting to feel drawn out. I’m kind of over secret machinations, I just want the confrontation. With Kilowog and Salaak on the case, we might be getting close to it, and I am intrigued by the lantern Salaak sent to Earth to find Hal. What exactly happened to Hal and Sinestro is of great interest to me, so I look forward to finding out more info however I can.
I do like what Tomasi has done with Guy’s character. He’s always been kind of a douche, but he’s got a lot of heart, and his sense of duty is a lot stronger than one might realize. I feel like the chain of events leading to his resignation shows he’s grown a lot; as he sees it, resigning from the Corps is the right thing to do. The zero issue reinforces for us how difficult a decision this is for him; we know how important the Corps has become to Guy. Seeing him make the right decision for the right reason, just with all the wrong information, is touching and sad.
I’m still not wild about the art in this title. I do not think Fernando Pasarin can draw a decent humanoid face. The features are just too small on the face, and here Guy looks like he got punched in the mouth.
It’s not all bad, though. A lot of credit goes towards Scott Hanna and Gabe El Taeb, inker and colorist respectively, for the work they’ve done with color and light. Everything has a sort of glow in this title, and those two add a lot of beauty to some of Pasarin’s more awkward panels. My favorite is this panel of Fatality, as she is tethered to the heart she needs to mend. The lighting is gorgeous, the lines of the simple silhouette of her body are elegant, and I love the idea of her heart literally tethered to the heart of another: like she’s both Cupid AND his arrow.
This issue wasn’t the greatest. It’s setting the stage for something big; since I kind of like this title, and am looking forward to it’s contribution to the climax of the Third Army, I don’t mind so much that this issue is just about moving pieces into place. I’m looking forward to what you think Drew; I know you aren’t wild about this title, did this issue try your patience?
Drew: I feel like I’m willing to put up with a lot — Armies of emotion-powered soldiers patrolling the universe? Sounds good! Little blue men with seemingly infinite power AND infinite capacity for evil? Sure, why not? Heartless bodysnatching automatons unleashed by those blue men? If you say so! — but somehow the notion that the Guardians could be pulling off their evil plan right under the noses of the ENTIRE GREEN LANTERN CORPS doesn’t seem possible to me. This plan has been going on for a long time — long enough for Kilowog to notice an appreciable decline in the size of his recruit classes — yet only two Lanterns in the entire corps are even starting to suspect something?
Shouldn’t any Lanterns — in their role of protecting the universe from evil — picked up on the marauding and ever-growing band of white zombies tearing through the universe? Shouldn’t they have at least investigated after Guy’s entire unit was wiped out by them?
I’m willing to accept that questions like those are always present in science fiction, but it seems that they are indicative of smaller inconsistencies within the narrative. Namely: I don’t buy that Guy would turn in his ring so easily. Sure, his negligence resulted in the deaths of a bunch of important diplomats, but he’s Guy fucking Gardner — his ego could withstand countless genocides in his name. He would wan to track down Xal, or the people he thinks are responsible for the slaughter, or follow up on those unstoppable, Green Lantern-killing monsters. All of those reasons would take precedence over tact and PR, which is essentially the reason Guy agrees to give up his ring. I think seeing Guy’s sense of decency outweigh his egotism could’ve been compelling, but Tomasi never quite got me to believing it would ever happen.
As Shelby mentioned, the art is also a little wonky — meeting the writing in it’s attempts to mask inconsistencies in slick packaging. Check out John’s pose in his encounter with Fatality:
That’s the classic boobs’n’butt pose, the bane of anyone hoping for less sophomoric depictions of women in comics. It’s a fun reversal of gender roles to put John in the pose, but it doesn’t make it any more natural. Like, I get that John is turning to see Fatality in this shot, but wouldn’t his shoulders have squared off before his hips?
The issue isn’t all bad — the business with Salaak and Kilowog is fun enough, and the action is quite satisfying — but it’s greatest virtue may be, as Shelby mentioned, getting the pieces in place. This title is so often tasked with much of the heavy-lifting on the Green Lantern mythology, Tomasi doesn’t always have a chance to pursue the interesting ideas that made this title so appealing in the past. I’m hopeful that this issue gets most of that table-setting out of the way, so we can get down to the actual story next month. That would certainly be fun.
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?