Green Lantern Corps #20 Review

I made the mistake of reading Green Lantern Corps #20 two weeks ago, well before this week’s Green Lantern #20 was released, and I scratch my head wondering why DC would choose to publish the issue when it so clearly spoils a major change to the paradigm of the Green Lantern universe.  It’s my own fault for reading it knowing up front it was an epilogue, but it’s such a poor decision to put the issue out there knowing that people are going to be talking about it openly and potentially spoiling it for people who had the willpower to set the issue aside.  So I’ve chosen to leave the review until now when I can look at the issue with full knowledge of what transpired and this issue can be looked at with the proper perspective.  Peter Tomasi has been an integral figure to the success of this franchise and his own finale clearly deserves the respect of having its own moment to be recognized without DC’s poor decision making to cloud the issue.
The Story –
Poor Salaak missed all the fireworks having been locked up by the Guardians back in issue fifteen way back in December – and while it hasn’t been six month for him I have to admit he’s got much better willpower than I to have been able to master  his bladder so well!  His reunion with Kilowog and Guy Gardner is very emotional for the Slyggian, who I’m sure had filled his mind with catastrophic visions while he lay in the darkness.  His two comrades quickly reveal to Salaak what transpired during his incarceration, but before we can gauge his reaction the scene jumps to Mogo where John Stewart and Yrra have escorted the largest member of the Corps to her sector.

John and Yrra bring closure to their tragic pasts while Mogo plays cosmic voyeur

The moment allows John and Yrra to finally consummate their blossoming romance on a plush field on Mogo’s surface, making it perhaps the unusual Ménage à trois ever.  Back on Oa Salaak is playing back footage he’d collected on the Guardians for Guy Gardner, in particular their conversations with Xar.  Realizing that Xar no longer has anyone dictating terms about his revenge on Gardner, Guy grabs Saint Walker for a turbo boost and heads for Earth, arriving in time to stop Xar from killing the rest of the Gardner family in style.  While Guy’s father doesn’t exactly exude gratefulness, the family is truly united and Guy chooses to spend some time with his family and try to appreciate the simple joys of life.

Guy and his family spend some quality time time together and Guy tries to, as he puts it, “ease up on the gas”.  Through a series of panels we witness Guy enjoying a simpler life complete with all the simple frustrations we all endure on a regular basis.  Ten days is all he can take and the issue comes to a close with Guy leaving Earth once again while Gloria loses her bet with Gerard over how long it would take their brother to get tired of life on our little mudball.

Guy and his family finally come together despite some still rough edges

The Writing –
Looking back on the Wrath of the First Lantern you really have to appreciate and respect the collaborative nature and class of Pete Tomasi.  The heavy lifting for this story fell on his shoulders while Geoff focused a lot of energy on building Simon Baz’s profile and positioning Sinestro and Hal Jordan for the Coup de grâce.  Like a true team player he spent the last part of his run driving the big green bus and then handed the wheel back to Johns for the big finale.  Tomasi has been a key factor in the success of this franchise and I tip my hat to his vision and role in making the Green Lantern Corps what it has become.

Tomasi has Guy Gardner down pat and he really knows the voice of the character, turning him from the Green Lantern that people love to hate to the one they hate to admit they love.  It’s fitting that he get the chance to devote most of the issue to his favorite Green Lantern and enjoy one final journey with him before he turns the reigns over to the next creative team.  From one perspective John suffers a little bit in terms of the amount of time he gets, but his time on panel is extremely well spent, bringing him to a new status quo and perhaps erasing any baggage that he’s been carrying about the destruction of both Xanshi and Mogo.  He’s been given a clean slate and is in a great position to be the focus of the title for the foreseeable future.

If I have a complaint about the issue it’s that we don’t see more about the Corps itself, and I end up wishing that DC had given the creative teams some extra pages to wrap things up.  Not to the level that Johns did on the main title, but maybe charging $3.99 and increasing the page count so each team got a respectful sendoff would have been a fitting way to acknowledge their contributions.

For Guy it was great to see him reunited with his family and their relationships healed to some degree but left with enough unsaid that subsequent writers have room to work and change the dynamic as they see fit.  The panels showing Guy’s time on Earth were excellent choices showing the joys and pains of the mundane until finally Gardner can’t take it anymore when the frustrations intrude to the point that he can’t tolerate it any longer and cabin fever sets in.

Tomasi and Pasarin find great ways to show the joys and frustrations of a “normal” life.

The Art –
The visuals in this issue are great, from Salaak’s dramatic reunion to Guy’s spectacular defeat of Xar.  Fernando Pasarin has providing consistently great imagery and seems to always do a wonderful job in supporting Tomasi’s words with great artistic choices.  Like Tomasi, Pasarin has been one of the reasons why this series, and this franchise, has been so spectacular.

What Do I Think?
Despite playing second fiddle to Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin’s run on Green Lantern Corps has been spectacular despite living in the shadow of the flagship title.  While I would have liked the team to have been given more pages to wrap up their run, I can’t find fault with the creative choices made to focus on John and Guy since this really has been their title.  While they don’t share this issue equally, both John and Guy are given satisfying closure and put in a place where the new creative teams have nothing holding them back from going in whatever direction they want.  My thanks to both Tomasi and Pasarin for giving this old Green Lantern fan so many great moments over the years.

Green Lantern Corps gets five lanterns from me.

About the author

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa. I'm a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music. Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

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