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With the introduction of Simon Baz out of the way with last month’s Zero issue, Green Lantern #13 progresses the “Rise of the Third Army” plot forward while spending most of the issue providing more character development for Earth’s newest Green Lantern.  We also learn that the “New 52” timeline puts Kyle’s introduction taking place two years ago and that the government knows Hal’s identity, but only really trusting John Stewart.
The Story –
The issue starts out with Amanda Waller briefing the President on the Green Lanterns, a conversation that leads to a discussion on the notion of ring bearers being chosen based in part on their morality.  Waller is instructed to contact the Justice League since the President isn’t thrilled with the prospect of a supposed terrorist being armed with the most dangerous weapon in the universe.

A garbled message is all we get from Hal and Sinestro this issue.

Transitioning to the unconscious Baz we get a glimpse of the fateful car race in which Baz’s brother-in-law was left brain dead as the power ring aligns itself with Simon’s “neural pathways”.  When Baz regains consciousness he is greeted with a jumbled message from Hal and Sinestro warning him about the Guardians.  Baz finds himself in trouble once again when he’s nearly discovered by law enforcement in Florida and uses the ring to flee, although it’s unclear of whether it’s Simon or the ring who is in the driver’s seat.

Fed, the agent who balked during Baz’s interrogation, is about to leave the federal installation in Cuba, but a call from Waller redirects him to talk to Baz once the Justice League has brought the new Green Lantern in.  When Baz touches down in Dearborn, Michigan he seeks out his sister, Sira, who along with her family continues to have to live down the poor decisions that her brother has made.  This time being guilty by association may cost her her job, but when she pauses in an alley to collect herself she is greeted by her brother.  After the two siblings start to come to terms with Baz’s actions the two agree to meet later.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Two truckers are randomly attacked by the Third Army and assimilated.  The power signature from Baz’s ring has been detected and the slowly growing army is directed to take care of the Green Lantern as they leave behind the destroyed rig.  Meanwhile Baz arrives at their meeting place to discover a security camera has been installed since the last time he and Sira hung out there, prompting Baz to generate a mask just seconds before the Justice League arrives with Simon being confronted by Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Cyborg, Aquaman and the Flash.

The Writing –
Geoff Johns continues to take the time to flesh out Simon Baz, something that’s both a good thing and a bad thing.  On one hand we get to learn more about the character and I think Johns needs to do that because there’s definitely a segment of the readership that he’s got to sell Baz to in order for him to be accepted.  As I’ve said before there are a lot of people who don’t see why we need another Earth Green Lantern when there are so many great characters out there.  While I don’t know the answer to that I’m content in knowing that Johns has something planned here and I won’t rush to judgement until I know what it is.

The downside however is the effect this has on the pacing of the issue.  There’s not really a whole lot happening in this issue beside continuing to develop Baz.  I really would have like to have had a page or two following Hal and Sinestro given that last issue ended with them and I was really anticipating that this would move forward a little bit.

That point aside, I have to say that I like Baz for the most part.  He’s trying to the best that he can with the hand he’s been dealt and he’s made a number of mistakes that just make it harder for him to rebound, but underneath it is someone who is more than even he thinks he is.  That’s compelling to me although I too find myself in that group of fans for whom Johns needs to convince, and so far he’s doing that fairly well.

Baz attracts some unwanted attention.

The Art –
Doug Mahnke does another great job with this issue and the whole sequence where the Third Army comes into play was definitely a highlight for me.  The scene puts an exclamation mark on just how horrifying the whole notion behind the Third Army is.  It’s suitably chilling and illustrates how big the odds are in this storyline.

I’ve criticized Baz’s costume design in the past and this issue helped me to pinpoint my criticisms down to a couple of things.  I rather like the design when Baz is maskless, but the mask in particular bugs me as well as the whole bare arms bit.  Keep the mask off and get the man some gloves or bracers and I’d be okay with it.

What Do I Think?
Green Lantern #13 is another good outing for Geoff Johns and company, although I’ll add that the issue would have benefited from some follow up on what’s going on with Sinestro and Hal.  What I feel like was a little bait and switch reduced my enjoyment of the book to be sure, resulting in the issue getting three out of five lanterns from me.


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