“How about updating your online dating profile later”
With only one issue left to wrap things up, issue five of Green Lantern: The Lost Army looks to get the Green Lanterns out of jail and in a setup position before the story concludes in the upcoming Green Lantern: Edge of Oblivion series which starts in January. Like any jailbreak the costs of freedom are high and by the end of the issue the Corps will be one member smaller while one of its smaller members saves the day.
The issue starts out with the obligatory flashback to John Stewart’s days in the Marines, a storytelling device that Cullen Bunn has employed throughout the series to varying degrees of success. Some readers have found these flashbacks interesting and some find them an unneeded distraction. Personally I find myself somewhere in the middle with their placement sometimes complementary to the story and other times a misuse of page count. Given that there’s only one more issue left to the series I felt like this time the narrative would’ve had just as much impact while showing various scenes around the prison the Lanterns are in than they did with the jump to the Middle East. At this point they don’t so much add anything to John’s character in my opinion as they show the similarities to the two situations.
The real hero this issue is B’Dg who is really the clutch player for the Green Lanterns by creating the opening for his comrades to turn the tables on their captives and giving them the tools to make their escape successful. It’s great to see B’Dg get the spotlight and be reminded that the strength of a Green Lantern isn’t the ring on their finger but the strength of will in their hearts. Once the Lanterns are free the issue really picks up pace and Bunn’s script leaves enough room for great character moments for Guy Gardner and Salaak to be added to the mix. We even get the return of Jruk, a fan favorite from Van Jensen’s run, who doesn’t hesitate to pick up arm against his captors.
It was also great to see the return of Krona and Relic who choose an opportunistic moment to return to the series. Bunn also gives us confirmation that Mogo is alive, but not so well, setting the agenda for the final issue of this series next month. The pace of this issue is fast and as I read the issue I wondered if Bunn felt rushed to get the characters from point A to point B so that they could be handed off to Tom Taylor. Not that the issue skimped anything, but compared to the pacing we’ve seen with this series so far it seems like we’ve entered a race to the finish line here.
Where I think that carries some impact with this issue comes with the death of a Green Lantern that isn’t given any room to breath and ends up reading like a minor event. The character frankly deserves more that what little of a death scene we get here, in fact it’s almost little more than a footnote. What perhaps bothers me even more is that none of the escaping Lanterns seem to care enough to bring the body with them for a proper disposal. I realize they are in a fight for their lives but letting the situation change the Green Lanterns is beneath them. Loosing you honor for a fallen comrade in the heat of battle in my opinion is a cheap way out for beings who are supposed to be the best of the best of their respective species.
There were a couple of other moments with John Stewart specifically that left me less that impressed with the character’s actions. One being the “I expected more” attitude thrown in B’Dg’s direction after the H’Lvenite risked his life to give all of them the chance at survival. That B’Dg showed the restraint to only point out the “beggars can’t be choosers” analogy shows a greater depth of character and frankly Stewart shows a huge fracture in his leadership skills here. That gets compounded in my mind during the exchange between Guy and John later in the issue when John tells Guy to basically “shut up and do what I tell you”. It smacks of John wanting to rule rather than lead the Corps and it’s beneath his character to act as a dictator, especially when Guy and B’Dg have both done more to save the Corps in this series so far than John has.
Visually it’s great to Jesus Saiz back on the book. There’s an interesting contradiction between the print and digital editions with the digital version getting the art credit correctly while the print version credits Javier Pina with the art for this issue. At any rate Saiz’s artwork is given plenty of opportunity to shine and he certainly rises to the occasion here.
Green Lantern: The Lost Army #5 is an action packed issue which serves up plenty of action and great character moments. There are a few bumps in the road which may be the result of trying to hurry this series towards next month’s final issue and there are still no answers to many of the questions raised since the series began. Six out of ten lanterns.