While the Blackest Night title has spent most of its time on Earth, this weeks Green Lantern Corps issue, number 42, reminds us of the war that’s raging on in space. And this issue could very well be one of the most talked about for some time to come depending on how the events continue to unfold.
If you haven’t read this issue, I warn you know that the information revealed at the end of the issue is going to be talked about. So if you haven’t read it and you really value the integrity of the story, please don’t read this review if you don’t want to know!
The action picks up with the arrival of Munk, Indigo-2, on Oa as Vath and Isamot Kol continue to try and ward off the attacking Black Lanterns. The “Corphans”, the dead children of various Green Lanterns killed by Kryb, are bone-chillingly creepy in the juxtaposition of how innocent they were and how demented their goals are. This one line in the book, shown on the right, is just characteristic of the mood and tone set throughout this event. I loved the macabre imagery of the throngs of undead Corphans crying, “Feed us! Feed us!” as they close in on the three heroes.
With Munk on the scene our two Green Lanterns are able to start dispatching the Black Lanterns thanks to the Indigo Tribe’s ability to work in tandem the Green Lantern power rings and effectively sever the connection of the Black Lantern rings. It’s a daunting task as the three are severely outnumbered and only a close proximity burst of energy is effective against the oncoming horde of the undead.
Just as it seems the three might not be able to make it, the Black Lantern power hits the 100% mark shown in last week’s Blackest Night #4. With their power maxed out, the Black Lanterns focus shifts completely away from harvesting the hearts of their foes to trying to destroy the central power battery. It’s also this moment that saves Killowog seconds before the Black Lantern version of his former trainer, Ermey, who originated the term “Poozer” as shown in issue three of the “Tales of the Corps” trilogy.
The following scene with Kilowog was great as he addresses the Black Lanterns of fallen corps members that he himself trained. As they stand around him, momentarily held in stasis as the receive their new directives, Kilowog begins to remind them, as us, that the ring comes with a heavy price tag for all that power. As he says, rather prophetically, “…lanterns die.”
Elsewhere on Oa, Kyle and Soranik Natu are also struggling with a Black Lantern who suddenly drops his attack and heads towards the central power battery. All hope seems gone when we turn the page and are greeted with a delightful two-page spread of all the Black Lantern from the crypt encircling the central power battery. Pat Gleason’s artwork is great throughout this issue, but this particular spread really captures the gravity of the situation here. The central power of the Star Sapphires’ was previously destroyed in Green Lantern #46, and now it looks at though the same fate is about to befall the Green Lantern Corps. If what Indigo-1 says is true and the willpower stored in the central power battery is vital to the ability to defeat the Black Lanterns, then they cannot be allowed to destroy the battery at any cost.
Guy Gardner once again shows why he’s someone you want covering your back in a firefight. As much as he can be really grating sometimes, Peter Tomasi shows us why Guy is on the Honor Guard. For the first time we really see the Black Lantern rings create a construct – and boy what first impression! For those who haven’t read the original “Tales of the Green Lantern Corps” three issue mini-series from 1981, the construct looks very much like Nekron as he appeared back then, but with bat wings.
Guy and Kyle’s conversation add another note of foreboding when Guy says that there’s going to be “a lot of blood on the floor on this one.” Kyle grabs Guy and leaves the fray while the rest of the Green Lanterns try to stop the Nekron construct from literally ripping the central power battery from the surface of Oa. Vice, easily the most ruthless of the Red Lanterns, is set loose by Kyle and Guy and he takes he rage out on the Black Lanterns. Vice’s activities server their purpose as the Black Lanterns he systematically tears apart have to divert their energies to reconstructing their bodies, slowing down the process of the Nekron construct.
It looks like the good guys are gaining the upper hand when Chaselon’s Alpha Lantern programming makes him exact justice on Vice which results in the Nekron construct gaining steam again. With a new target, the Black Lanterns attack and destroy Chaselon, causing a fissure in his internal power battery. Salaak informs Kyle that this fissure could cause the battery to rupture – which would be a very bad thing. Kyle flies in and grabs the damaged battery and lures the Black Lanterns towards him, placing an energy dome over them all.
After telling Soranik Natu that he loves her and Guy as well, we get one big explosion. Cue up the last page with a picture of Kyle lying amidst a pile of Black Lantern rings. His ring declares him deceased, leaving Kyle’s hand and heading for Sector 2261, presumably to stay on Mogo until the moratorium on giving out rings is lifted.
So there you have it, the death of Kyle Rayner. Now I don’t think for a minute that this is going to stick. Since the time that the image was released showing Guy Gardner as a Red Lantern I knew that only two things would be able to incite the rage in him to the right level. Either the death of Ice or the death of Kyle. Since Ice just came back and inserting her in the story would be a greater leap of plot, I figured that Kyle was going to be a goner.
I know that right now Kyle fans everywhere are posting outrage on a number of forums. And I really think it’s an overreaction, but I certainly understand it. I’ll be putting up my own commentary on it later tonight since it would detract from reviewing this issue, but I’ll say this now – we’re only half way through a story who’s theme is death and resurrection! No way that Hal is going to let Kyle stay dead and I expect he’ll be entering Nekron’s Land of the Unliving for a second time to bring back the man who helped him have his own rebirth. But I hope we also see a Black Lantern Kyle before he returns.
In terms of this issue, Peter Tomasi has done a great job once again. And Pat Gleason’s artwork continues to impress. Those splash pages really did a great job of illustrating the scope of the crisis at hand and pack a lot of dramatic punch. The variant cover by Greg Horn totally rocks.
This issue is definitely worth ten lanterns!