Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Green Lantern #14



Geoff Johns Writer
Doug Mahnke Penciller
Christian Alamy, Mark Irwin, Keith Champagne and Tom Nguyen Inkers
Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina Colorists
Dave Sharpe Letterer
Wil Moss Associate Editor
Matt Idelson Editor

The cover is by Mahnke, Irwin and Sinclair. The characters look good and the action is dynamic and well within the acceptable limits of exaggeration (yeah, their fight wasn't quite this extreme, but the cover isn't showing someone with a sword sticking through their chest or anything like that). I do have two problems with this cover. One, why did Alex Sinclair make the background orange? It's really a nasty color, which I guess is why I like the black-and-white better. Problem number two: Where is the Flash? He actually played a pretty big role in this issue and Mahnke was able to squeeze in everybody but the Flash. This seems to happen more often than not. Sigh ...

The story begins on Oa, the central precinct to the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians are discussing the progress of their Third Army, which converts all it encounters and eliminates free will by linking sentient beings to a single mind. The Guardians estimate that the army will fill the universe in three months.

We then return to the action in Dearborn, Michigan, where the Justice League has caught up with the newest Green Lantern, suspected terrorist Simon Baz.

Baz readily admits that there's no way he can fight the Justice League, but he does feel he could take Batman, to which the Flash says, "He's a Green Lantern all right!" Batman asks Baz where he got the ring, and he basically pleads ignorance. The League explains to him that the rings choose recruits for their courage and they only choose a new recruit after a previous Green Lantern has died. The Flash makes another joke here, saying he hopes Guy Gardner was the one who died, then quickly asks, "I'm going to hell for that, aren't I?"

Wonder Woman prepares her lasso of truth, which Baz agrees to, but Batman first asks him to take off the ring. Baz tries to, but once he touches the ring, a big green Sinestro blog erupts from it and attacks the League. Panicking, Baz creates a car and races away. Superman and Flash take after him and try to talk some sense into him. Flash tells Baz that by running, he'll make more people think he's guilty.

Baz refuses his advice and says he wants to find whoever was responsible for the bomb he was accused of planting. Baz then escapes Flash and Superman by creating a whole bunch of decoy cars. Free of the Justice League, Baz meets back up with his sister, who helps him on his quest to find the real bomber.

The last few pages of the comic are a bit over my head, involving characters, places and concepts I'm unfamiliar with. But from what I can gather, it seems like when the Guardians first came to be, they imprisoned the First Lantern in a black hole. Now they've taken him from that prison to use his power to create the Third Army. Hal Jordan and Sinestro possibly learned this truth and as a result were sent to the Dead Zone. I could be completely wrong on this — I haven't read very much Green Lantern.

The Good:

Intriguing story. I really like the idea of the Guardians creating the Third Army. To save the universe from itself, to end all war and pain, they will eliminate free will. And all the extra stuff with the First Lantern and the Dead Zone did confuse me, but was interesting. One of these days, I'm going to need to read all this stuff. All in all, this is a solid comic book with a good story and great art.

The Bad:

Disappointing Justice League. It made perfect sense for the President of the United States to call in the Justice League for this mission. A suspected terrorist being interrogated at Guantanamo Bay was freed by the most powerful weapon in the universe. Yes, that is definitely the time to call in the Justice League. But once they arrived, they really didn't do anything. They sat around and talked for a little bit then two of them went to chase Baz, but were quickly eluded. Doesn't Superman have X-ray vision? Isn't the Flash the fastest man in the world? Why couldn't they find Baz? And why did they stop looking so quickly? If you're going to go to all the trouble of bringing the Justice League in, then you need to give them something to do. But here, they didn't answer any questions or advance the plot in anyway. Ironically, the most interesting pages in this issue were the ones without the Justice League. Maybe that was intentional and this is Johns showing us that the Green Lantern world is too big and strange for the Justice League to handle. I, however, do not agree with that logic.

Also, someone really needs to have a sit-down with Johns and help him decide what kind of Flash he wants to be writing. He brought Barry Allen back to life and every now and then he'll have a good Barry moment. Like here, having Barry try to reason with Baz and have him turn himself in to the proper authorities. That's true to Barry's character. But too often, Johns will write Barry as if he were Wally. Like at the start of this issue, with him cracking a couple of jokes (one of which was kind of inappropriate). I felt like Barry and Hal made a good comedic team, but now that Hal's off the League, all the comedic responsibilities falls on the Flash, which I feel is contrary to the Barry Allen written by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato. If Johns wants a funny Flash, then he should bring back Wally West. Then he would be praised as the man for reviving two Flashes.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time: Unable to find Simon Baz, the Flash and the Justice League head back to the Watchtower to plan their next move, where the events of the Rise of the Third Army will bring them into contact with another Green Lantern — Guy Gardner.

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