Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Green Lantern 15, originally released December 19th, 2012. This issue is part of the Rise of the Third Army crossover event. Click here for complete Third Army coverage.
Mikyzptlk: When it comes to big events like Rise of the Third Army, pace is a very important thing. If an author moves too quickly, they may run the risk of undermining the scale or importance of the story. If they move too slowly, they may start to bore or even frustrate the audience. We are now 4 issues into the event (not counting the tie-ins) and series writer, Geoff Johns, has slowed things down a bit too much for me to really enjoy this issue as much as I wanted to.
Warning: Wild Spoilers Have Been Spotted in the General Vicinity. The issue opens with the Green Lantern of Sector 2820. The Third Army is headed to his home world and he intends on defending it. Unfortunately for him (her?), the Third Army has already made their mark and transformed what seems to be every living thing on the planet. Back in good ol’ Dearborn, Michigan, Simon Baz has arrived at the home of Edward Wale, the man who owned the van that Baz stole. After a bit of an awkward conversation, Mr. Wale let’s Baz in for nice calm discussion…with guns! Meanwhile, Hal and Sinestro are in what is revealed to be called “The Deadzone.” They are still following the cloaked figure from the previous issue who also reveals that while he is a friend of Hal’s, he is an enemy of Sinestro. The mysterious guide also reveals that Hal and Sinestro are dead after all. Bummer. Back in Dearborn, it turns out that Mr. Wale actually put the bomb in the van himself and is super pissed at Baz for ruining his plans to blow up a train. It’s a good thing that Baz has his ring though, except that it runs out of juice leaving Baz to fend for himself. Fortunately for our hero, Agent Fed shows up and saves the day. Unfortunately for our hero, members of the Third Army are close behind.
Yikes. They escape into Wale’s basement to find a very terrorist-y looking armory full of explosives. Fed decides the best course of action is to blow the house up and asks Baz for help. Baz’s apparent lack of bomb expertise quickly convinces Fed that Baz is innocent after all. B’dg, the cuddliest Green Lantern of all, then shows up looking for Hal Jordan stating that he must accomplish his mission before the Guardians realize that all of the GL’s know how loco they’ve all gone. The issue concludes with the Guardians saying they need even more power from the First Lantern who, as it turns out, is actually named “Volthoom.”
So, in the intro, I said that Johns has managed to move both too fast and too slow for me in this issue. I have to assume that we are nearing the end of this event by this point. We are 4 issues in so I was really expecting something a bit more here. We got a house sized explosion when I was really hoping for something closer to a galaxy sized one. We did get some revelations but they really didn’t do much for me. Hal and Sinestro are dead? Ok, well they clearly aren’t really dead, or they wouldn’t be a part of the story anymore. To me, “comic book dead” means that you don’t get lines of dialogue anymore. If you talk, you walk. It’s that simple. What I’m trying to say is, if your fictional characters are still an active part of the story, then telling me they are “dead” really has no emotional impact on me.
Let’s talk the Third Army for a minute. So, for yet another issue, we see them turning sentient beings into mindless zombie soldiers (zoldiers?). This is fine and all, I mean, it’s the point of them, but they really are just one-trick ponies. They are extremely powerful though, so the fun with them is figuring out how to stop them. It’s really frustrating for me then that the only group that has figured out how to do so are the Red Lanterns. It’s extremely disappointing that the only avenue readers have to learn about the Third Army soldiers is through that terrible book. The Red Lanterns really seem to be tearing through the Army while the GLC is either running scared or still pretty much oblivious to them. Johns really needs to speed this up at this point. I want to see the Green Lanterns kick some Third Army butt already! Additionally, I want to see them forming some kind of plan to take out the Guardians too. At this stage in the game, they are all starting to look like chumps. I’m sure that is partially the point in order to ramp up the drama, but enough is enough already.
Finally, let’s talk about the artwork. When Doug Mahnke first hit the scene, I wasn’t really a fan. However, he’s been growing on me since he took over this book and I’ve really seen him progress as an artist. With that said, what the hell happened to him in this issue? Take a look at this panel.
Seriously, what is wrong with this guy’s face? It’s like Mahnke ran out of time here and just had them color over a rough sketch of this panel. His work in this issue was pretty disappointing to say the least, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that maybe he just had less time for this issue. Hey, it’s the holidays, I’m in a forgiving mood.
Shelby, I know that you argued that the pace was too slow for you in Green Lantern Corps 15. I actually enjoyed the slowed down pace in that book because it gave us time to dig into the characters more. Plus, since it isn’t the heart of this crossover, I gave it leeway for not advancing much of the Third Army aspects. Here though, I’m frustrated with Johns for not giving us more. How did you feel about the reveals of this issue? Did they do anything for you? Additionally, I didn’t get into who Volthoom has been historically in the DCU, since I’m wondering if you know anything about the character yourself. He’s never really been a big player before and he certainly hasn’t been used in this way so I find it interesting to wonder what Johns has in mind for him, but what about you? If you do know about the character, are you as interested? If you don’t know about him, I have the same question.
Shelby: I think the biggest problem with this issue is Johns is trying to do too much at once. The book seems both too fast and too slow because we bounce around frenetically between scenes, but nothing is ever accomplished. I found that just as I was starting to warm to a situation, we were already onto the next. As much as I like Simon Baz, the story I really wanted more of was Hal and Sinestro’s. Sure, suspense and intrigue keep a story moving, but this one little page rife with teasers is almost mean in how little it reveals. It reads like a textbook example of why you shouldn’t answer a question with another question, and left me really frustrated.
I was actually pretty pleased with Mahnke’s art. There is one panel of the Third Army recruiters hard at work that really drove home the mindless nature of these creatures.
As our would-be terrorist is assimilated, the only thing he can do is utter a small, blank word bubble. This panel very cleanly and elegantly conveys the driven mindlessness of the Third Army, as well as the horror of the transformation. At the same time, as much as I like this panel, do I really need it? I know that the Third Army is a mindless, emotionless force of nature. I’ve seen it over and over. This panel is nice, but who cares?
I feel like this whole arc is treading water. With the exception of New Guardians, which has a pretty clear objective (get Kyle trained to become the Rainbow Lantern), none of these books are going anywhere. The Guardians continue on with their evil machinations, the Green Lanterns continue to be surprised by the Third Army, the First Lantern continues to be mad about everything. I find myself comparing the Third Army event to Rotworld; in Swamp Thing and Animal Man, every month sees a significant step forward toward the climactic boss fight. By the end of the issue the objective may have completely changed, but we still see a step forward. Johns seems content to have this story march in place.
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?