Green Lantern 15

green lantern 15 3rd

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.

Here's green mud in your eye.

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.

Alive is the new Dead

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.

What's wrong with your face?

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.

green lantern third army

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?

39 comments on “Green Lantern 15

  1. Kind of hard to believe this event is supposed to end next month, right? We don’t have any sense of how big the problem of the Third Army even is on Earth – are they everywhere? Or just seeking out the GL ring on Earth? Honestly, I almost wish the 3rd Army had yet to be introduced, and the Guardian’s machinations were still left mysterious. Or even if they had suddenly just appeared in this week’s GL and GL:NG. As it stands, they’ve been sitting around for too damn long and they only pose a threat in the most boring way possible. GLs will find a way to defeat them and that’s basically all there is to it. As Shelby alludes, it’s not even like they’re going to be the Boss Battle – that’ll be with the Guardians, right (or possibly the First Lantern, but evidently that’s another event in and of itself).

      • I’m really excited for both. I think it’s safe to say I’ve been enjoying NG the most but I’m such a fan of Guy and John too that I’ve really been enjoying GLC a lot too.

        It seems with those extra issues that we may have enough time to cover what we need to but it really does seem to me the GL should be further along than it is at this point. I mean, where exactly is the Third Army at this point? Why are other planets completely assimilated at this point when Earth seems to be relatively fine? The Justice League hasn’t even encountered them yet which is strange considering that the Army originated on Earth! It’s true that the first “Thirdy” immediately left Earth to infect the rest of the universe but I can’t help but wonder why. The Guardians know just how troublesome humans can be (especially all of the peskily super-powered ones) so you’d think that Earth would be one the first targets for assimilation. Is there an in story explanation that I’m forgetting here?

        • No, if anything, it feels like Johns is forgetting the Justice League. Which is insane, because he writes that book and THEY APPEARED IN THE LAST ISSUE. Increasingly, I don’t think he’s taking this seriously as an “event” – each of the other series seem more interested in jumping headlong into fighting these things (or at least directly dealing with what the Guardians are up to). I’m all for the origin of Simon Baz, but as a spoke on the event-wheel, this series is coming up short.

        • You may be right that Johns doesn’t consider this to be an event. I mean, compare this “event” to Blackest Night and it…well, it doesn’t compare.

    • I think they’re going to go for an end-run a la the film version of Return of the King. No need to battle the huge army, just get somebody to take out the Guardians, and this whole thing will be over. My money is on an eleventh-hour change (or reawakening, as it were) of heart for Ganthet, who will kill the other Guardians and/or unplug all of the Thirdsies.

      • Yeah, I’m thinking along the same lines too. It’s clear that the more colorfully dressed Guardians are going to take over after this is all said and done but Ganthet is a victim of the evil Guardians too so I’m sure he’ll make it out of this mess alive. That should be fun to watch. I’m thinking that the Guardians are going to be taken out by a combo of the GLC, a newly revived Ganthet, a newly formed MOGO, and, last but not least, White Lantern Kyle Rayner. I hope I’m right because that would make for one hell of a fight.

        • Until I read “White Lantern Kyle Rayner,” I’d somehow completely missed the clear parallels to Power Rangers. I honestly don’t know if this excites or disgusts me.

        • White Lantern already is a thing. Also, I don’t want to start a “here’s what I remember about Power Rangers” conversation BUT the White Ranger wasn’t a combination of the other colors of Rangers, right? He was just like… another one. Also, instead of color dictating the emotions the characters felt, the MMPR colors only dictated the race and gender of the Ranger. I’m still mad that the Red Ranger wasn’t Native American.

        • Right, the White Ranger was just another one. And the MMPR colors weren’t really supposed to dictate the race or gender of the Ranger. That was just good old fashioned racism/sexism! Although, a Native American Ranger (regardless of color of course) would have been awesome. P.S. Once you even hint at a Powers Rangers discussion, it can’t be stopped! LOL

        • It wasn’t a combination but I remember there *was* something special about the White Ranger; originally Tommy was the Green Ranger and continued with that color for quite some time after turning face – there was some kind of discovery that allowed him to take on that special designation of White Ranger, but I can’t remember how it all went down. P.S. I used to love Power Rangers – it played to my love of Ultra Man, Tojo movies, Gamera, and basically any and all man-in-suit Japenese kaiju material. I just loved it. I still will find myself lingering on any channel playing the new versions while channel surfing. CAN’T FREAKING WAIT FOR PACIFIC RIM.

        • The only thing I remember about the White Ranger was that the powers were specially created for Tommy by Zordon and Alpha after he lost his Green Rangers powers. I can’t remember there being anything else though. You should ask my 12 year old self though, I’m sure he’d read you off a Wiki style description of it. 🙂

        • Yep, that’s probably an accurate description of what I was half-remembering. My wife took a great pic last Halloween of me as Boba Fett in battle poses against a guy dressed like the Green Ranger. That was totally the highlight of my night. I had the official Boba Fett costume and helmet but instead of a jetpack I opted to wear a Legion flight ring

  2. So both Baz and Guy are stuck on Earth, which is being attacked by Third Army dudes. You think B’dg is going to suggest recruiting Gardner? Also, doesn’t it seem like B’dg’s going to be focused on Saving the Universe, when all Baz is really going to be motivated to do is Save the Earth (or even more specifically, Save America)? Baz is trying to prove himself not a terrorist, it’s thematically inconsistent to make him defend ALL LIFE EVER.

  3. Now that you mention it Shelby, I did enjoy some of the artwork in this issue. Actually, the picture I included of the Third Army was probably one of the most menacing illustrations of them I’ve seen so far. I probably should have mentioned that in my initial write-up but I have a stupid nitpick about it: They all of green eyes! We are still supposed to be able to see the victims eyes, right? That bugged me more than it probably should have but I didn’t feel like going into it at the time.

  4. I enjoyed this issue for being able to spend a little more quality time with Baz; my suspicion is that once the JLA title begins then Hal will be resurrected and Baz will be relegated to that team book with no solo title fo his own. It’s interesting to note that he has been seen in promotional images with human-produced guns in addition to his ring and Johns has commented in interviews that Baz’ philosophy there is that “These rings run out of power right? Well, the gun is for when that happens.” I had assumed before meeting him that he would be some badass with some kind of military history but now that I’ve met him and seen the scenerio that plays out here I’m able to see on the page why he would quickly develope such a precaution. It’s also important to note that Johns has stated in interviews that Rise Of The Third Army is really the prequel to a larger event; this event may be halfway through but it’s leading to something larger – a larger, directly connected event to follow.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Baz’s ring the one Hal had, that Sinestro made? It might be a bit flakey, maybe? Yes, I expect Hal and Sinestro, two well-loved/hated characters are not going to die permanently. Most of the “new 52” reboot has been about restoring older characters to their “rightful place,” (Barry Allen, Barbara Gordon, etc.). The one exception is Tim Drake, but they aren’t going to kill off Damian.

      • I wouldn’t be so sure about them not killing Damien; I have a very strong feeling that he’s going to get killed off in Batman, Inc #11. I’m trying to do a Babe Ruth called shot on that specific issue. Although I’m aware I’m in the minority on that suspicion, but all of the solicits for the Batman family book #18 issues reference a tragedy from the previous month and that would line up with Batman, Inc #11 which would be the penultimate issue of that series and Morrison’s next-to-last issue of Batman. He started his arc with introducing Damien and even had planned to kill him off earlier in the arc but thought he still had more stories to tell with the character. I think he’ll end his run as a family tragedy. As far Baz’ ring it seems to be that Sinestro’s ring and Hal’s cloned copy (which had, itself, been jailbroken by the Indigo tribe) seemed to merge together in GL Annual #1 to go find the new GL, so I believe it was basically Sinestro’s ring (Hal’s old real ring) that found Baz. Now, Sinestro and Hal seemed to be using their dying breaths to give it commands that would override its programming and it began to error out, so it seems to be on the fritz regardless. I don’t know if that only effected the selection process or is an ongoing issue. So, yeah, I think flakey would be a great description of the way that ring is acting.

        • LOL, I mispelled Damian in every instance of this post. I’m worse than Harry Knowles with the grammar, punctuation, and typos.

        • Oh, and another clue that would back my Damian death theory, the repurcussions of the mysterious tragedy as solicited in the #18’s seems to effect even World’s Finest. Now, at this point in continuity, Damian is the *only* member of the Bat-family that Huntress has even met.

        • I hope you’re wrong. I’ve been ambivalent about Damian, as I feel Tim earned his place and I was unhappy that he lost it. I have hated Damian’s arrogant attitude and his snotty treatment of everyone that isn’t Bruce. But. He’s also the most qualified Robin, at least on the basis of his fighting ability. He does, however, have a disturbing habit of killing opponents, and that has to be stopped. I hate to say I’ve “warmed to him,” as I still don’t like his personality. But he would be a great answer for the critics that don’t like Batman taking a kid into his war. The “kid” is a trained assassin, so he’s a special case, don’t try this at home, kids! 😉

        • My math turned out to be a little wrong, it would place Batman, Inc at issue #8 instead of #11, but I supposed four issues of aftermath and wrap-up would be a lot less abrasive than just one anyway. The World’s Finest thing still strikes me as a very good indicator. Huntress has literally only ever met that one character from Earth-0 Gotham, so what other death there could possibly effect her? Bruce or Selina, maybe, but those won’t happen since Catwoman joins JLA in Februar and Batman, well, just no way. I kind of hope I’m wrong, too. I love the character, actually, and under all the emotional armor I see him as a dysfunctional 10-year-old on the very slow mend. That being said, if it stood, would make for a way more important story than the now-reversed Death In The Family.

        • As much as I think it would make sense for Morrison to kill Damian at the end of his epic, I’m just not sure DC would allow him to do it. The whole reason Damian is still alive is because he was so popular, and I don’t know why DC would suddenly decide he could be dead, after all. More than anything, killing Damian (the occasional loose cannon with the criminal past) just feels way to much like A Death in the Family. More than anything, I simply don’t see Morrison’s Batman Incorporated as really existing in the DCnU, anyway, so its weird to think that an event inside those pages could affect the rest of the bat titles. I assume the “tragedy” all of those solicits are talking about is fallout from Death of the Family, which Batman Incorporated isn’t taking part in, anyway. I can’t see any of the players in Morrison’s epic dying “of screen” in another title somewhere, and I can’t see the epic conclusion of DotF taking place in a title that isn’t even participating in the event.

        • My gut’s going the other way on this, although I don’t think Damian’s death will have anything to do with DoTF, I think it’s just the natural conclusion of the family tragedy playing out between Bruce, Talia, and Damian in his existing run and that Damian will be the one who pays the price of being stuck in the middle. It will be fun to see which of us had it pegged come February 😀

        • I personally like that Damian occupies this strange editorial space. Killing Damian is sort of a damned if you, damned if you don’t scenario for DC, which is oddly congruent with his role within the series (both B&R and Batman Inc.). Cearly, a cold blooded killer molded with his level of agency can’t exist in this world but on the other hand, he’s a kid, and Bruce’s flesh and blood.

          For the record, I assert that all heroes, Gordons and Alfred will survive DotF. It’s the ‘family’ that’s going to die. Whatever that means.

  5. So there’s this guy, on another board, who I follow his posts somewhat religiously because he picks up on a lot of things and has some great analysis from time to time. Back during Cour Of Owls he pointed out that the Lincoln March character ended up seeming like an origin story from Crime Syndicate’s Owlman (they have the same secret identity). Well, now we know Volthoom is the First Lantern and is powering certain activity on Oa. Is DC seeding an in-continuity version of Crime Syndicate?

    • If you think about it. H’el is basically ultraman, and we are getting an all new reverse flash. A crime syndicate is not really all that absurd and if this is the case you gotta appreciate the slow build they are doing.

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