One of the qualities that I’ve admired about Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern is the sheer number of “holy crap” moments that catches readers off guard or makes us slap our head in wonder that no one else had come up with something he did when it’s right in front of our faces. Moments like the return of the Anti-Monitor at the onset of the Sinestro Corps War, or the Blackest Night teaser, or the death of the Hawks, or, well, you get the point. Those moments stand out when you start to look back over the past seven years that Johns has guided this franchise to heights that it has never reached. Issue number three has two of these moments wrapped inside a book of twenty pages filled with great story and character moments. So for anyone who thought this series was going to slow down – you’re about to be proven wrong. With that said, let me warn anyone who hasn’t read the issue that this review will contain images and details about the issue, so if you don’t want to know, read no further.
The Story –
After leaving Hal standing alone in rain in the first issue
, Carol Ferris arrives back at her place, symbolically turning over an photo of the two of them to signal that it’s over between them despite all they’ve been through – as if they’ll be able to stay away from each other. Her phone rings and it’s Tom Kalmaku, who urges Carol to turn on her television, providing her with the news coverage of Hal and Sinestro at the site of the bridge collapse from last month’s Green Lantern #2
. Carol is of course shocked to see Hal with a ring, but can’t believe that he is side by side with Sinestro, suspecting that there is more to this than meets the eye.
We cut to the aftermath of the attack by Gorgor and Sinestro is carving out his deal with Jordan. Despite how screwed up Hal is and how Sinestro finds him inferior, the Korugarian trusts Hal to do the right thing. And as far as Sinestro is concerned, the ring that he’s offering Jordan is what Hal needs because he has nothing else. The conversation is laced with alpha male digs at the mistakes of the other, and in the end Hal knocks Sinestro on his backside when Hal’s desire to talk with Carol is denied in favor of getting to Korugar and rescuing Sinestro’s people. There is a great moment between the two men when Hal tells Sinestro that he’ll help him clean up the mess he’s made on his homeworld and that he needs to stop thinking that he’s better than his human counterpart. Sinestro, in true Sinestro form, laughs at the mere notion that it could be any other way.
|Let the fireworks commence!
Back on Oa the Guardians are interviewing Ganthet after they did something to him back in the first issue. We saw in New Guardians #2
that Kyle accused the Guardians of lobotomizing Ganthet based on the expressionless face he met when he approached the Guardians. We see here that while a lobotomy might be a harsh evaluation, Ganthet is changed in demeanor and he has lost his distinctive ponytail in favor of looking and acting just like the rest of his fellow Oans.
The Guardians discuss the failure of the Manhunters due to their flaws and how that led them to being replaced by the Green Lantern Corps. But they, too, have proven too flawed to serve the will of the Guardians, with Hal and Sinestro offered up as two prime examples of those with the right abilities to wield the ring with power, but with deep faults that prevent them from being what the Guardians intended. So the Guardians reveal their new mission – to replace the Green Lantern Corps with something better. “Holy crap” moment number one, check!
|The Guardians’ new mission revealed
|Two sides of the same coin
On their way to Korugar Hal Jordan and Sinestro continue to trade barbs as Hal uses his ring for a little fun, much to the disdain of Sinestro. As they get closer to their target Sinestro reveals their strategy for taking down his Corps, a Green Lantern with his battery entering the Sinestro Corps Central Power Battery will act as the fail safe, disabling all the rings. Sinestro tells Jordan that he is absolutely not to get involved until sundown and that he will take Sinestro’s power battery and disable the rings while Sinestro distracts the army of Yellow Lanterns.
It’s then that Sinestro reveals something that we’ve never seen before, as Geoff Johns mentioned
at the New York Comic-Con – he turns his uniform black, taking another pot shot at Hal and pointing out that the Guardians haven’t been up front with disclosing all that their rings can do. As the two sit in waiting the Sinestro Corps members are herding citizens and one of the Yellow Lanterns decides he wants to make a meal of one of them. Hal wants to pounce but Sinestro will have none of it, holding the Earth man at bay and reminding him that they have to wait or all the civilians will be killed.
A woman leaps to the defense of her fellow Korugarian and Sinestro recognizes her as Arsona, someone of significance to him but has never appeared before. When Arsona is knocked to the ground and about to be killed it is Sinestro who abandons his own plan and leaps into action. As he wipes out one of his former corpsmen the civilians scatter and Hal takes this as his cue to do his part. There’s one lone Yellow Lantern protecting the Central Battery with everyone rushing their former leader. Hal makes quick work of him and enters, sure that he’s about to shut down the whole group.
It’s here that the second “holy crap” begins. As Sinestro is fighting off the Yellow Lanterns, the Central Battery detects Hal and begins to disintegrate him. Sinestro senses something isn’t right and as the issue ends a rapidly disintegrating Hal Jordan accuses Sinestro of setting him up, while Sinestro seems shocked that his plan has failed, ending the issue with Hal disappearing into the yellow light.
The Writing –
Whew! This one was awesome to say the least. Plenty of action, lots of great character moments between Hal and Sinestro that continue to define their relationship as one of the most enjoyable powderkegs in comics. They are so alike yet so very different and Johns has their voices nailed perfectly. Every page the two share is charged with tension and that certainly makes these issues fun to read. Please, Warner Brothers, let the man write the script of a Green Lantern sequel already!
I had the slap on the forehead moment when the Guardians revealed their new mission. It’s so obviously logical to think that if the Guardians branded the Manhunters a failed experiment that at some point they might do the same with the Corps in light of all the problems they’ve had over the years, yet no writer has gone there. Like the revelation of the emotional spectrum I sat there muttering, “why didn’t I see that one coming!?” I’ve read these characters for almost forty years and Johns continues to come up with things that are fresh and exciting.
I do kind of wonder why the news reporter didn’t recognize Sinestro from his attack on Coast City during the Sinestro Corps War, acting as if he’d never seen the alien before. I believe the bulk of Green Lantern recent continuity was left untouched by the DC relaunch so I’m not sure if Johns is implying that the war didn’t happen, that people don’t recognize him with a Green Lantern uniform and him not trying to kill everyone, or if it’s just a throw a way line.
I don’t expect Carol to have finally closed the door on Hal – theirs is just too much between them for her to walk away and yet there’s just as much between them to keep them from finding what they both need. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying that their relationship is so dead on to real life and it’s one of the most complex ones there when writers know how to play with it, and Johns certainly does. I don’t think they’ll ever get it together because a lot of the attraction is the wanting of each other, and not the having and the further apart they drift the stronger the attraction will be to seek each other out.
Is Hal Jordan dead? I don’t think so – I think we’re going to find him showing up on Qward as a victim of the Weaponer’s defiance of Sinestro. I’m speculating that the Weaponer constructed the Central Battery to transport any Green Lantern who entered it to Qward despite Sinestro’s direction to make it the fail safe. Hal’s disintegration just looks a little too familiar to the way Sinestro himself disappeared near the end of the Green Lantern: Rebirth to be coincidental to me. I could be very wrong, but that’s what I’m thinking at this point.
The Art –
First of all, welcome back Ethan VanSciver with the great variant cover to this issue! I commented in my review of the second issue that I had problems with some of Doug Mahnke’s art, specifically with Hal, and for the most part his work in this issue was spot on. I love the way he draws Carol in the opening pages of this issue and his work on Hal and Sinestro during their sparring really brought the dialog to life for me and made the tension seem palpable. Likewise with the emotionally cold look on Ganthet’s face and the action sequences. David Baron’s colors added a lot to the great artwork and it’s a shame to hear that he won’t be staying on the title.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern #3 in my opinion is the best issue of the new series so far and probably my favorite since the War of the Green Lanterns wrapped up. I think I might go so far as to say that it ranks up there as one of the best of Johns’ run so far. It hits every beat and has the right balance of action, character driven dialog, and don’t forget about a couple of great jaw dropping sequences. Five out of five lanterns.