The Sinestro Corps has been defeated and Hal Jordan is holding hands with Carol Ferris again, so all's quiet in the Green Lantern universe, right? Yeah we know that's not true with the Guardians scheming to replace the Green Lantern Corps with the Third Army to be led by the mysterious First Lantern, plus there's the matter of the Keepers and Invictus in other corners of the galaxy as threats looming on the horizon. But Geoff Johns takes the sixth issue as a break from all the cosmic hubbub to let us catch our breath, stopping to smell the roses for a moment before plunging Hal Jordan and readers back into the fight.
The Story -
|Hal's drug of choice|
Hal and Carol are deep in love again with Hal able to finally put her before the ring, but it's not all as wonderful as it seems when Hal uses Carol's bathroom break as a chance to get his adrenaline fix by getting in a fight that lasts just long enough for him to get back in time before Carol can get suspicious.
Meanwhile in another part of the universe we find Sinestro on the planet Ogoro confronting one of his defeated foes from the past. Starstorm was once a great champion of his people, donning a helmet capable of detecting and manipulating the energies of the emotional spectrum, but as with many beings who've crossed rings with Sinestro Starstorm has turned into a pathetic coward. Sinestro forces Starstrom to don his helmet once again to aid the Green Lantern in locating Lyssa Drak as part of Sinestro's vow to take down every being he ever trusted with as a part of the Sinestro Corps.
|Sinestro's begrudging respect is staring to show|
Starstorm and Sinestro find Drak and the confrontation begins and when Sinestro tears part of a page from the Book of the Black we witness with him some pretty tantalizing images of the future which I'll get into later. Starstorm proves himself incapable of overcoming the failures of his past, something that actually causes Sinestro to praise Hal Jordan for and after defeating Drak with the helmet the Green Lantern takes to the stars once again knowing that he must call upon the one man he hates most knowing Hal is also the one man who can stand by his side if the events in the vision come to pass. And that makes Sinestro loath him all the more.
On Earth Hal and Carol are enjoying a morning together when his Green Lantern ring jumps on his hand having been willed there by the rapidly approaching Sinestro. And with that the few moments of happiness are over for Hal and Carol as Sinestro announces to them that Hal days of wearing a power ring are far from over.
|Once more into the breach!|
The Writing -
I have to hand it to Geoff Johns for realizing that there needed to be a moment of pause before jumping into the "Secret of the Indigo Tribe" story arc. If every issue is filled with high tension and drama it wouldn't be long before both writer and reader became a little burned out. This issue spends most of the panels in telling us about character, primarily Hal Jordan, and mixing in some action to keep the pacing smooth. Meanwhile we get a visual treat with Sinestro's vision that provides more than enough fodder for people to speculate about the awesome potential of what's coming next.
We see that while Hal is really trying to make it work with Carol he's having difficulty dealing with the normalcy of human life and he's not too terribly successful at keeping his need for thrills and fighting for what's right in check. While he's happy in the moment with Carol, once she's gone his mind immediately goes astray with thoughts of wearing the ring and moments later he finds himself in a conflict where he can get a dose of his favorite drug.
Sinestro's dealings with Starstorm are also pretty telling about Hal as we see what he could have become if he were a lesser man in the actions of Sinestros former nemesis. A particular highlight in this issue for me was Sinestro acknowledging his regard for Jordan despite his hatred of the man, something we're not likely to every hear him admit in front of Hal.
|Let the speculation begin!|
The vision - wow! To break it down there are some really interesting images here to digest. Of course there's the destruction of the Corps with some of the Guardians' past statements echoing the imagery. But then there's Sinestro as a part of the Indigo Tribe which I'll presume is something we'll see in this next arc, but then there's the image of a dead Green Lantern Sinestro there as well as Black Hand, now free from the Indigo Tribe and a dead or unconscious Hal Jordan.
My own hunch is that Hal in unconscious here and the ring has left his hand perhaps due to the "death" of Sinestro with the "Green Lantern 2814 deceased" line applying to him rather than Hal since Jordan isn't really a Green Lantern these days. But of course the most interesting image is that of Ganthet with the White Lantern ring floating above his hand! The ring used to conjure the Third Army, the ring worn by the First Lantern, or something else? There are so many interesting possibilities from this one image that have my mind working overtime that I don't even care that this was a setup issue.
The Art -
If I ever complain about Doug Mahnke's art again someone please throw this issue in front of me. Guest artist Mike Choi is certainly entitled to his own artistic style, however I have issues with changing the way a character looks too much. So drastic was Hal Jordan's appearance in the beginning of the book that I thought this was a flashback by at least ten years. Once I discovered that wasn't the case I laughingly wondered to myself whether Hal had found time for some major plastic surgery in his down time. It is really that bad as far as I'm concerned. There are also issues with the coloring as both Choi and Alex Sinclair appear to have not been on the same page. In some cases the art is so dark and saturated that it compounded any shortcomings in the artwork. Seeing the beautiful variant cover by Ivan Reis for this issue made me realize just how much I miss him on this book.
With the bad out of the way I will say that I liked Choi's work on the fight scene between Hal and the thugs in terms of the choreography although the lack of background work made it appear a little too much like an anime sequence to me. I did like the use of blurring the background elsewhere in the book that made sure the reader focused on what was important while still maintaining a sense of realism that there was a thriving world going on around our main characters. Given a choice I'd choose that technique over the plain backgrounds nine out of ten times.
I'll also definitely give Choi credit for the artwork for the vision that Sinestro has. That one panel, despite some coloring issues, made the issue for me. I know I'll be referring back to this image for months to come as these glimpses of the future play out and events unfold.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern #6 is a needed pause, letting readers catch their breath before all hell begins to break loose again. While this issue is primarily a character piece, there's certainly enough action and tasty foreshadowing to keep this book from plodding along. The glaring art style changes caused by a guest artist really hurt this issue in my mind and knock it down a peg in my ranking. Three out of five lanterns.