“Fall down seven times, stand up eight”
Part two of “The Green Impurity” was released this week with Sam Humphries and Eduardo Panseca on board for issue twenty of the Green Lanterns series. With Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz sinking fast it appears that Neal Emerson, aka Dr. Polaris, may have won the day, but of course not everything goes as planned for the master of magnetism as the opening panels of this issue convey.
While one might expect that Jessica Cruz would panic under the circumstances, after all she did loose it against a guy with a gun and a western hat, it’s Simon Baz who freaks out this time. It’s pretty uncharacteristic for Baz to lose control like this considering all he’s been through since he got his power ring, but that’s the choice Humphries makes in order to create a moment where Jessica can prove her value to the team and it’s Cruz who saves the day.
The issue spends most of its panels adding more detail to Emerson and drawing comparisons between him and Baz as the latter reflects on the status of his relationship with his best friend and brother-in-law, Nazir. While Baz’s flashback does a good job of showing how Simon is trying to figure out the new dynamic between Nazir and himself, the bits with Dr. Polaris seem like overkill after the exposition we already got in the previous issue. It does showcase the mental battle between Emerson and his villainous persona but it does so at the expense of sucking the momentum out of the story due to how much time is devoted to it.
The most interesting part of the story to me was the all too brief scene that takes place in space orbiting Mogo as John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Vath Sarn, Isamot Kol, Ganthet and Sayd discuss Sarn and Kol’s recent trip to Earth. Rami’s presence is revealed and John Stewart sets actions in motion that will lead the Green Lantern Corps on a collision course with Volthoom. I’m drawn back to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #13 where we see a number of Volthoom rings flying through space and thinking that somehow that’s tied to the Rami/Volthoom plot in this series.
Green Lanterns #20 spends an abundance of time on character at the expense of moving the narrative forward in any significant fashion. With very little happening you could easily skip this issue and not miss anything. Seven out of ten lanterns.