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“All I wanted was a power ring”

Part of the Geoff Johns’ school of lantern lore, the further away from the center of the emotional spectrum you are, the more the emotion controls you than you control it.  So with the new Phantom Ring, how does that work?  In today’s Green Lanterns #12 writer Sam Humphries gives us a little bit of insight into that as he continues to explore Frank Laminski and his obsession with having a power ring.

Frank’s biggest problem is that his instability prevents him from controlling his emotions well enough to be effective.  He buckles easily which causes him to shift through the emotions in the spectrum, which provides Humphries with the opportunity to showcase how we humans are ruled by our emotion, but unfortunately it takes a character which could be a fascinating adversary and turns him into something that is far less of a threat.  Laminski seems to be more of a Mood Ring Lantern and rather than him possessing the Phantom Ring, the Phantom Ring is possessing him.  To play the devil’s advocate that could very well be the story Humphries is trying to tell, using Laminski as the initial bearer of the ring before bestowing it to someone else at the conclusion of this arc.

Laminski finds himself unable to control the ring, instead he’s controlled by it.

Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are wrestling with their own feelings about the Phantom Ring as they both continue to be plagued with self-doubt.  Simon thinking that the ring should be his and Jessica wondering if she should have any ring at all echoes sentiments from the last issue.  Laminski becomes the avatar for their feelings as Simon aggressively wants to take him down to take the ring while Jessica wants to save him as if in doing so that will somehow help her come to grips with her own feelings of inadequacy.  If you’re fully invested in the Green Lanterns’ journey you’ll likely find this a fulfilling issue in that regard but other than that there’s nothing happening in this issue from a plot perspective and you could skip it and come back two weeks from now not having missed anything.

Visually the issue looks great Eduardo Panseca doing a great job on pencils.  Panseca excels at facial expression and his pencil work really does a nice job of helping readers with the over the top emotional gymnastics that Laminski is put through this issue.  There’s a beautiful two page spread that has poor Frank shifting through three very powerful emotions and Panseca makes it a disturbing experience to be sure.  On the other side of that the smug look on Frank’s face as he tries to bask in the sun of hero worship in Coast City makes the moment a satisfyingly humorous one.  Blond’s coloring on this issue is also worth noting.

Simon and Jessica both want the ring back, but for different reasons.

While Panseca’s work elevates Humphries’ script it also hinders it a bit.  Laminski is depicted as being dangerously out of control which undermines any notion that Jessica’s argument about trying to talk Laminski down has merit.  His lack of control makes Laminski completely unworthy of wielding a power ring of any sort and while it stays on his finger he’s a threat to himself and everyone around him.  If only Laminski was more in control then not only would Jessica’s point have more merit but the Phantom Lantern would be a more compelling adversary.

Green Lanterns #12 is an issue with its gears stuck in neutral as nothing happens to propel the story along and in fact seems like a retread of issue 11.  While this issue isn’t bad it certainly feels like a filler issue.  This installment is nice to look at, but there’s very little meat on these bones.  Six out of ten lanterns.

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