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“There’s a reason Hal put us together”

Tim Seeley’s time on Green Lanterns comes to end with this week’s issue 47, tying together some elements of the series which have been circled by writers since the series began.  The mystery of why Jessica Cruz’s ring is so unusual and the story of her tragic hunting trip ends here.

According to interviews this particular arc is the story he’s wanted to tell since he arrived on the book to take over for Sam Humphries.  This final chapter of “Ghosts of the Past” is equal doses a character driven story and a metaphysical trip into the recesses of the mind.  I’m glad that Seeley got to accomplish his goal with the book and he leaves the door wide open for where Aaron Gillespie and Dan Jurgens are going to take it.  On one level the revelations that come out of this issue about the nature of Jessica’s ring means an immediate response from the Guardians is forthcoming – and the conclusion of the issue confirms that Hal Jordan will be paying a visit to Jessica next issue.  But the bigger unknowns are how this experience has an impact on how Jessica approaches everyday life and what it mean for her relationship to Simon Baz.

Jessica may overcome some of her demons, but how much of Volthoom’s influence still remains?

First up is the power ring and how Jessica has managed to overwrite the artificial intelligence as a coping mechanism by imparting on the ring the personalities of her friends.  How the ring could allow this to happen requires a bit of a leap of faith given that there is no sentience in the ring to make those kinds of decisions.  If you can accept the plausibility of this then you’ll have not problem swallowing the explanation but for me I can’t say I’m any more a fan of this than I am Simon Baz’s healing ability and “Emerald Sight”.  All three feel like poorly concocted ways to elevate the characters in an artificial way rather than allow them to develop into great Green Lanterns through their deeds.

The personal level impact this story has is far more intriguing.  With the story of the murder of her friends finally told one can assume that justice will come to the killers.  With this chapter more or less behind her, where does it leave Jessica in terms of her anxiety?  I got the impression that the murders are what pushed Jessica’s condition from something which see seems to have had a handle on to the barely manageable, crippling anxiety that has defined her throughout the series.  How Jessica’s journey impacts her day to day life could evolve her character into something new at the risk of alienating readers who find Jessica relatable because of her anxiety.  Another lingering point is that Volthoom’s influence is mentioned but where that leaves Jessica is left unanswered.

Simon plays a crucial role in bringing Jessica back from the depths

Lastly, where does this leave Simon and Jessica?  We seem them holding hands at the end of the issue, but that in and of itself doesn’t indicate that they have moved to the next level.  There’s been some teasing that there’s some romance brewing and this event could be what pushes them together.  It also could be what drives them apart and it appears, based on issue solicitations, that the latter may very well be the case.  Either way it’s better that Gillespie and Jurgens either drop this plot thread altogether or provide some sort of resolution that doesn’t leave the reader sitting on the fence.  Personally I hope that the two simply remain the best of friends without the romantic carrot dangling out there.

One thing I particularly liked about the issue was how Seeley worked the events of Green Lantern #20 into the story.  The final issue of Geoff Johns’ run featured a couple of panels where Simon is talking to Jessica Cruz and Seeley lifts that moment from that infamous issue and drops it word for word into this issue.  It’s a nice touch which reinforces both stories and makes them both the better for it.

V Ken Marion is back for another installment and his work this issue is pretty even throughout.  Some characters seem a bit stiff in places and the scene where Constantine and Sara are running up the stairs looks awkward.  Otherwise the art serves the story fine.

Green Lanterns #47 wraps up a major chapter in Jessica Cruz’s life which also putting things in motion which could shake up the title.  With a creative shuffle looming it will be interesting to see where the Green Lantern franchise is headed in the months to come.  That said, this issue provides a pretty satisfying conclusion.  Seven out of ten lanterns.


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