You can’t keep a good dead man dead so it’s not a surprise to see Black Hand surface once again. He’s died twice now and while some think it might be too soon since the last time he was dispatched, Charles Soule doesn’t agree and he crafts a dark tale with a sick twist – let’s just say that the next time our villain tangles with Hal Jordan he just might have the upper hand!
Soule seems well suited to write Black Hand and handles the gallows humor well and he mixes it with just the right amount of creepiness to provide enough information to make the issue new reader friendly. William Hand’s disintegration in the Dead Zone back in Green Lantern #20 has somehow led to his ashes appearing back at the family funeral parlor and when the Black Lantern ring resurrects him he finds himself lacking in the memory department.
Hand’s journey lands him in jail and that’s where the fun begins as he rediscovers his ability to make the dead rise which leads to an ever growing army of the undead which join the chaos on the streets of Coast City as the rise of the villains have led to anarchy. Soule plays off of the zombie apocalypse craze with a funny bit between Hand’s victims and the police and comes up with an interesting twist of Hand’s powers that offers some new potential for the character.
Soule does a great job mixing humor with the macabre.
The big payoff comes as Hand makes his way to the cemetery where it all comes back to him and he tries something he did once before, only this time succeeding thanks to Hal Jordan not being there to stop him. The end of the issue shows the ground work being laid for a confrontation that I’d hoped would have been a part of Blackest Night and I’m now really looking forward to how the writers choose to play it out.
It was a little different not seeing the familiar “Rise” dialogue balloons that we’ve grown accustomed to, but I’m not sure that things are the same for the Black Lantern ring without Nekron around to pull the strings. While the story is interesting it perhaps plays with the memory lapse a little too long for my liking, but in the end I found the issue very satisfying nonetheless.
Our favorite Black Lantern may soon have the upper hand against Hal Jordan.
The only real criticism for the issue comes from the art team. I’m not sure if it’s Alberto Ponticelli’s art itself or the inking/coloring work but there are some things that look over inked and some of the detail work, around the eyes of the characters particularly, that just look a little goofy in places. The 3D cover of this issue is so far my favorite of the three Green Lantern books this month, although I admit that I’m a little tired of seeing Hal chained to a rock on every cover.
At the end of the day I’m more of a story guy and for me this issue was great despite some misgivings with the art. I’m glad to see that Villains Month is spending the time to expound upon the Green Lantern rogues gallery and the Black Hand issue offers up plenty of the familiar trappings we’re used to with Black Hand while providing something new about them that makes their future meetings with our heroes something to look forward to. Four out of five lanterns.