We know that there's a lot of things in store for the Green Lantern universe based on the August solicitations and the reveal on Free Comic Book Day that there's a new member of the Corps on Earth that was originally drawn to be Hal Jordan but changed. I've speculated that the new Green Lantern might be Black Hand and recently on our podcast indicated that I have a hunch that Carol Ferris is going to meet an unfortunate end. While I'm loving all the things we have to speculate about I'm geeking out more about the overall quality of the Green Lantern books. With issue nine in the post-relaunch Green Lantern series we have some history that's been played at since Blackest Night finally realized in what it the penultimate chapter in "The Secret of the Indigo Tribe".
The Story -
Issue nine starts out with a flashback of Indigo-1 putting Sinestro through the process of joining the Indigo Tribe and we see the turning point when Sinestro lost his ability to feel compassion for his fellow beings. Through glimpses of the past we see Sinestro fall in love with Arin Sur, Abin Sur's sister, and ultimately lose her when the people of Korugar revolt against Sinestro's rule in a rather dark turn of events.Returning to present day we see Sinestro subduing Hal and the Indigo Tribe attempt to send Hal back to Earth. However Hal's not leaving without Sinestro and so he makes a daring escape into the jungles of Nok.
|Sinestro's heartbreak sets him on a path of no return|
Meanwhile the Guardians have found Starstorm from issue six in their quest to claim the Book of the Black. With the once fearsome warrior unable to provide them with anything useful the Guardians dispose of Starstorm determined to find Sinestro.
Hal has made his way through the jungle and found a mysterious alien structure complete with a mysterious alien inhabitant who calls himself Natromo. From a distance Natromo confuses Hal Jordan with his old friend, Abin Sur. Unaware of Abin's fate, Natromo reveals the origins of the Indigo Tribe and how they discovered the unique properties of the energy of the world to impose remorse on those they felt needed retribution. Abin Sur used the Indigo energy to convert his longtime enemy, Iroque, into Indigo-1 after she murdered Abin's daughter.
Natromo also reveals that Nok is not only the name of the planet, but loosely translated means "compassion be with you". But most importantly Natromo explains that Abin Sur not only knew of the prophecy of Blackest Night but of the downfall of the Corps at the hands of the Guardians. Abin's plan was to change the Guardians and stop their "impending madness", but upon learning of Abin's death Natromo destroys the central power battery as Sinestro and the Indigo Tribe arrive, ending the issue with Hal surrounded by the Indigo Tribe no longer under the influence of the Indigo light.
|The origins of the Indigo Tribe are revealed....and then some.|
The Writing -
There's a lot of revelations in this issue to be sure and while some of it stuff that I'd speculated upon, the information about Abin's plan to defeat the Guardians and the confirmation that they are going mad were eye opening moments for me. I fully expected Indigo-1's origins to be tied to Abin Sur, but their history is one that I'm really interested in reading about and how it might connect back to Ysmault and "Tygers". All of this adds more richness to the mythology as a whole and makes the loss of Abin Sur all the more tragic knowing what he knew when he died.
I almost feel like Geoff Johns was watching The Empire Strikes Back when he was writing this issue because the initial meeting of Hal and Natromo seemed to echo Luke Skywalker meeting Yoda for the first time. Not that that's a bad thing, but it definitely stroke a chord with me as I was reading it. I felt that the narrative might have been a little forced, but it was necessary to reward the reader with this long promised information and the narrative had this epic feel to it that made the whole scene very powerful.
|As usual the issue ends on a high note|
I do wonder, however, why Natromo so quickly decided that there was no hope and destroyed the battery before trying to help Hal step in and move Abin's plan forward. This issue was one that really could have used some extra pages and I'd have been happy to pay a dollar more for more content particularly if the final moments could have been fleshed out and not seemed so rushed and contrived.
I like how Johns has had Hal return to his assured self since leaving Earth. It seems in his attempt to make things work with Carol he lost a bit of his edge and I feel like it's returned as the current story and gone one. I think it's intentional especially if what I suspect is true and Carol will meet her end to force Hal to fully embrace his first, best destiny.
The Art -
Doug Mahnke really shines in this issue between the creativity in Hal's constructs to the great alien architecture to the visual storytelling in this issue. I found this issue's cover, a stunning one by Mahnke, to be very misleading and think it would have been better for an issue of the upcoming "Revenge of the Black Hand" story. The cover practically screams that Black Hand plays a major role in the issue yet he's relegated to a background character in one panel. It doesn't change how great the issue itself is, but I think at this stage of the game the cover image choices need to at least represent thematically what's on the pages inside.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern's ninth issue is another superb entry in Geoff Johns' run and while the ending seems rushed and the way we learn of the origins of the Indigo Tribe seemed a bit contrived, it's still a great read full of speculation fodder and shocking revelations of a galactic scale worthy of being part of a crossover event. The Green Lantern books are heading for a crossroads and in this issue lies some key pieces of the puzzle that the creators have been building for some time. Four out of five lanterns.