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“I made a construct!”

Green Lanterns #6 is a bit of a mystery in some ways considering that the “Red Planet” arc was originally scheduled to end with issue five and this issue was originally solicited with the plot for issue seven.  Then there’s the scuttling of the issue itself due to what sounds like a printing error leading to the original print run, minus the comp issues, being destroyed and pushing the issue back a week.  But with all of that behind us now issue six is out with a sort-of conclusion to Sam Humphries first chapter in his run on this series.

Seven issues in Jessica manages to find the will inside herself to make her first construct, something which is played as a personal triumph and rightly so considering the self-doubt and anxiety which rules Cruz’s life.  I don’t have any experience with the kinds of mental health issues that Jessica has but I felt like Humphries over-simplified Jessica’s inner monologue which enabled her to rise above.  To be honest if felt rather cliche’ in how it was executed and that the personal victory wasn’t as earned as it should be.

I also felt that the fact that the Rage Tower was so easily taken down by one simply construct was very contrived and far too convenient of a solution given the build up that we’ve been given thus far in this series.  All the while the Red Lanterns stand by and just kind of watch it happened with a slack jawed dumbness that belies their ferocious nature.  It all just seems pretty poorly constructed in my opinion.  Atrocitus’ anger at its destruction also seems like a bit of a stretch given how calm he is about it as the issue comes to a close, making it seem like Humphries needed to have him all bent out of shape to make Jessica’s personal victory carry some weight.  With the reader having knowledge about how hollow of a victory it truly was diminished things greatly in my eyes.

Jessica argues with and triumphs over her inner demons right on cue.

I continue to find the superfluous inner dialog and the need to have the characters introduce themselves every issue tiring.  I didn’t like it when Geoff Johns started doing it and I like it even less here probably due to seeing it twice an issue in a book which comes out twice a month.  It may be annoying now, but imagine how it’s going to read in trade format where this is one big story.

Since I seem to be focusing on the parts of the issue I don’t care for I’ll finish the critical evaluation of the script by pointing out writer Sam Humphries continued demonstration in not understanding how the power rings work.  Power ring constructs don’t hang around after a Green Lantern leaves, usually they dissipate moments after the ring bearer has stopped focusing on them.  So for Sara to still be inside a protective cocoon at this point is not only farfetched it’s dangerous since it’s also airtight and she’s more than likely have suffocated if the construct were able to have maintained itself this long.

The bits I did like about this issue is what Humphries is doing with the Bleez character.  Her seeing that there is another way and having to hide that knowledge to protect herself is interesting.  For me her journey is by far the most interesting one in the book so far.  Bleez’s backstory has always been a tragic tale and where Humphries is taking it now is far more compelling to me that anything we’re seeing with the lead characters and I’m very much looking forward to seeing where he takes it.

We also have more information on Rami, the rogue Guardian of the Universe, and his secret project.  I’m not yet sure of exactly what to think of the Phantom Ring because we still know very little about  its power and abilities beyond the fact that it takes being chosen right out of the equation.    There’s some good potential here once you consider the types of beings that could get their hands on the ring.  Put it on the finger of someone like Mongol or Lobo and you’ve got a universe shattering threat on your hands, on the finger of a Superman or Wonder Woman and you might very well have the most powerful force for good in the universe.

It’s a little puzzling that we have several issues before the Phantom Ring story takes center stage that are filled with character driven plots given the importance that this ring carries.  It seems that Simon and Jessica would be best to contact the Justice League and get the ring immediately in a place where it can be protected but it certainly appears that isn’t what’s going to happen at this point.

Rami unveils the Phantom Ring

There is also the coming of the Rage Seed and the new entity it will spawn that is residing in the core of the planet.  I think it’s interesting that the Butcher may soon have a successor of some sort and I’m looking forward to seeing how this particular story plays out.

Artistically the issue looks pretty good, but there is still the lingering problem of artists forgetting to include Simon’s pistol.  It’s almost like drawing Batman and forgetting his utility belt and while I understand that there’s pressure in making sure the books get out on time the lack of quality control makes it appear like no one really cares about the end product.   I also have to question the decision in making Jessica’s first construct so lackluster looking.  Sure it’s her first one but it just looked rather bland despite the reactions from Simon and Jessica.

Where many of the visuals lacked punch artists Will Conrad and Jack Herbert come through on portraying the emotion of the characters.  Their work on the facial expressions, particularly as Jessica goes through a range of emotions while struggling with her inner demon, are spot on and help underscore her inner turmoil.  I also think that Rami’s look of desperation and urgency play very well due to the work of the art team and the issue’s final page wonderfully conveys the danger lurking in the center of the Earth.

Green Lanterns #6 is a somewhat anti-climatic conclusion to the first arc of the series but leaves the reader intrigued by the story potential of what’s to come in the weeks ahead.  Jessica and Simon seem to move forward in accepting each other as partners but the whole journey seems to be a paint by numbers affair.  Six out of ten lanterns.

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