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April 22, 2011

With the four Green Lanterns from Earth putting on new power rings in Green Lantern #65, the War of the Green Lanterns reaches its midway point with Green Lantern Corps #59 as the battle for Oa continues with Ganthet standing alone against his fellow Corpsmen.  Tony Bedard and Tyler Kirkham have the daunting task of following the team of Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke, and with the great fourth part of the crossover releasing the same day as this issue they have quite a task in making sure the latest Green Lantern saga continues to roll on without losing a beat.

The Story -
At the end of Green Lantern Corps #58 we saw Ganthet part ways with Kyle Rayner and John Stewart since his connection to the emerald energy would make it impossible for them to remain hidden if they stayed together.  We know from this weeks issue of Green Lantern that Kyle and John meet up with Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner and the four men each put on one of the rings from the New Guardians that Hal Jordan managed to escape with.  Hal now wields the Sinestro Corps ring, Guy wears the red, Kyle the blue and John the indigo.


Ganthet faces overwhelming odds
Right from the first page we are thrown into the conflict between the Krona/Parallax controlled Green Lantern Corps and Ganthet with John's inner monologue serving as a way to summarize what has come to pass so far.  The art tells the story as Ganthet defends himself while trying to prevent any harm to the beings from across the galaxy who had swore their allegiance to the Corps that Ganthet helped create before Krona took control of them.  John Stewart's thoughts reveal how this war mirrors for him his experiences in Iraq and how war can put you in a position to become something that's not true to who you are and force you to do things you'd never expect yourself to do.

This is a perfect metaphor for what's become of the four Green Lanterns of Earth who have been forced to shed the rings that represent their true selves and who now face the overwhelming odds stacked against them while brandishing rings that only half of them have any idea how to use.  Guy, driven by the rage of the red ring, is hell bent to go take on Krona himself, but Hal has a plan for a change and that's to free Parallax from the battery which would presumably stop Krona from being able to manipulate the Green Lanterns.  Kyle and John also need to take some time to learn how to use their new rings and Guy is held at bay for a least a few minutes.

John Stewart struggles to control his new power
John struggles to channel Guy's red energy and finds that he can't pour enough willpower into his efforts to make anything happen, which I think is exactly the problem - willpower is the wrong emotion here.  Calling on Kyle to boost his ring, John is reminded that the blue ring only boosts green rings and Hal asks Kyle why he chose a ring that may prove to be useless in this crisis.  Kyle, like most readers, read into Ganthet's comment that he had placed all his hope in Kyle and begins to question if it was the right choice to make.

Kyle begins to glow brighter indicating that Green Lanterns are getting close as the action shifts back to an exhausted Ganthet who continues to struggle with the notion that he might have to do some major damage to his mind controlled comrades.  Taking on Hannu and seeing that no amount of reason can break through, Ganthet begins to realize that he may have to do the unthinkable and compromise his conscience in order to serve the greater good.

Green Lanterns rapidly approach the four Earth men and Kyle's choice of the blue ring backfires as he cannot protect himself and his ring only serves to super charge all of the Green Lanterns' rings and drastically decrease their odds of survival.  John's inability to use his ring nearly leads to Kyle getting crushed by one of the Green Lantern's constructs, but Hal is their to save Kyle's backside before the four of them manage to slip away to regroup with Ganthet.  

Ganthet isn't too happy with this decision
A huge emerald explosion appears in the distance as we find Ganthet at the epicenter of the mammoth blast surrounded by the bodies of his fellow Lanterns.  The shaken Ganthet turns to find the four humans covered in the uniforms of the rival colors of the emotional spectrum, and he is not very happy with what he sees.  In particular he chastises Hal Jordan for putting the other three up to it. 

The conversation doesn't get far before the Green Lanterns chasing the four Earth men catch up to them, and once again Kyle's ring supercharges them.  Ganthet instructs Kyle to use his ring to push past their rings and speak to the minds of the Green Lanterns hoping he can make the contact with them that Ganthet could not.  It seems to work as the Green Lanterns suddenly withdraw from the battle, but the reason for their retreat was only to make way for the largest Green Lantern to launch his own destructive assault on the five of them.  The issue ends with Ganthet on his hands and knees and the four former Green Lanterns fleeing from the assault of a mind controlled Mogo.


The Writing - 
Mogo's appearance is a game changer
I particularly like Bedard's comparison between this war and real life wars and how we are sometimes driven by circumstance to take actions that compromise who we are - it's a very human situation and we all struggle in our daily lives to do the same thing with events that pale in comparison to the scope of war.  But every one one of is challenged in some way to choose between the actions and decisions that serve our self identity and ones that force us to question our very ideals.  We don't know yet if Ganthet's decision lead to death, but it wasn't an easy decision and you can tell by the design of the word balloons that he is shaken by his decision.

For me this issue underscored that theme for me as one of the pillars of this crossover and why this event will continue to define all four of the human members of the Green Lantern Corps if this angle is continued to be developed.  And that's fine by me because we need stories like this to allow us to examine the nature of these characters and they need to continue to evolve and grow for them to remain relevant and fresh.

The Art -
This isn't a criticism of the story or the issue, but I do have to say that this cover by Aaron Lopresti was ugly in my opinion.  Hal looks really cartoony and John Stewart looks like he has man boobs.  The cover looks phoned in and the generic cover does not represent how great this issue is.  That said, Tyler Kirkham continues to impress me and I particularly liked the two page spread when it is revealed that Mogo has fallen under Krona's control.

What Do I Think?
This issue is a worthy second half to this week's Green Lantern double feature.  Moving quickly from a somewhat slow start the War of the Green Lanterns is now moving at a frantic pace echoing what's at stake should Ganthet and our four former Green Lanterns fail.  There are many unanswered questions out there like the location of Sayd and Hector Hammond as well as what happened to the rest of the New Guardians when the Book of the Black disappeared that hopefully will be addressed during the second half of this crossover.  If the quality of this issue is any indication of what we have to look forward to I don't think we're going to be disappointed.  Five out of five lanterns for this one.

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