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“The ring will consume him alive”

“The Phantom Lantern” began with a great deal of promise as writer Sam Humphries started the tale by giving us a sympathetic antagonist in Frank Laminski, a man who was so profoundly affected by his experience of being rescued by Hal Jordan that he wasted his life in the pursuit of his own power ring.  Frank finally gets what he’s wanted and enjoys it just enough to taste his sweet triumph before the chinks in his emotional armor bring his new reality crumbling down in the harshest of fashions.  Today saw the release of the penultimate issue in the story and unfortunately we aren’t much further along than having one prolonged tedious confrontation that seems to be coming to an explosive conclusion.

It’s becoming like “Groundhog Day” at this point

Jessica Cruz narrates the issue and while there’s a nicely written observation about the nature of fear and courage it gets a little lost in the din of the continual self doubt.  I realize that’s the core of Cruz’s character but at this point it’s become little more than one note characterization that, thirteen issues in, has gone from mildly interesting to downright boring.  When Jessica was first introduced as Power Ring it was interesting to see the character struggle against the ring as it tried to tear her down and how she managed to turn the experience into a positive.  But now we’ve taken huge steps backwards and like a car stuck in the snow the character gets no traction or significant forward progression.

The other plot centers on Rami and Volthoom and here Humphries tries to add to the Green Lantern mythology in a major way.  That Rami designed the original Green Lantern rings seems very plausible as does the story that the Guardians experimented with the emotional spectrum with Volthoom as the guinea pig.  Afterall he IS the “First Lantern”.  But where Humphries goes with it flies in the face of the creation of the Corps as a response to the failed Manhunter experiment.  Rather than a carefully planned reaction to a bad idea Humphries would re-write the creation of Green Lanterns as a half cocked, knee-jerk reaction to the threat of Volthoom.

Volthoom’s story takes an interesting turn….at the expense of Green Lantern canon.

There are a couple of positives to the issue and one of them is the art.  Ronan Cliquet’s name is added to the lengthy list of artists who’ve worked on this series and he does a nice job here.  He’s not quite as good as Eduardo Panseca when it comes to the expressiveness department in my opinion, but overall he turns in a nice effort.  Blond’s color work is great as usual.

Green Lanterns #13 is a mediocre chapter in “The Phantom Lantern” arc and the series continues to feel like a retread of what’s come before.  I have real problems with the continuity with established Lantern Lore which greatly impacted my score on an issue that was already ho-hum.  Four out of ten lanterns.

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