“Where the hell is Baz?”
I haven’t reviewed any of Dan Jurgens Green Lanterns run until now, primarily due to the fact that I didn’t want to potentially spoil my reading experience of the end of Robert Venditti’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps run by reading a story that takes place chronologically after the ending of that series’ final issue. With that conclusion I’ve caught up with Jurgens’ story which continues with this week’s issue 53. With the change in creative teams has come a whole different dynamic in what was originally and intimate team up book that now more resembles an ensemble book starring all six Earth Lanterns. It will be interesting to see how the sales numbers shake out in terms of whether more people leave the book due to the shift or jump on to keep up with the GLC’s exploits.
Jurgens is a classic writer and you can see his years of experience in how this story is crafted. You can see his deep bench knowledge of the DC Universe at play as he revives Eon, a character Jurgens created back during his heyday on the Superman books for a single issue appearance in Adventures of Superman #452. Joining Eon against the Green Lantern Corps are the Ravagers from Olys, a 1975 Dennis O’Neill creation that appeared in one story and were never heard from again. I think it’s great when writers reintroduce obscure characters like this because it helps to create the illusion that the DC Universe is a real place where characters appear, leave and then re-appear showing that time has change them. In this case the Ravagers have definitely bulked up since their encounter with Hal Jordan and Eon has had a makeover to be certain.
While we are several issues into the arc it’s still not quite clear what Eon and the Ravagers are up to other than laying waste to Penelo. This issue marks the reveal of the big bad behind the corruption of the power rings and it’s not really a surprise who we find Simon Baz trying to free on the final pages. A thought that I had was whether or not this connects in any way to the Zod arc over the in the Hal Jordan book where Robert Venditti showed the Eradicator putting a lot of energy in trying to decipher the power rings. This story certainly has the potential to undermine the Green Lantern Corps in a way we haven’t seen before and is an interesting examination in our trust in technology.
Jurgens has added high stakes to this story with the death of one of the last six Guardians of the Universe, Penelops and the critical injury of John Stewart. We know from interviews that part of Jurgens mission on the title is to position the Green Lantern universe so that it lines up with Grant Morrison’s series that launches in November. What exactly entails remains to be seen but there’s certainly a possibility that there could be a culling of the herd which makes each issue a little more tense as I feel like the threats carry more weight.
Marco Santucci’s art is a step up from the previous few issues in my opinion. I think he’s stronger when it comes to the big visuals and he does make the sprawling space battles look really good. I enjoyed his portrayal of Guy and Eon facing off in a “who’s bigger” contest. Some of the line work seems a little rough around the edges, but all in all it looks good.
Green Lanterns #53 is an enjoyable read that keeps the plot moving forward with a classic cliffhanger at the end. The story has been unfolding pretty slowly but it doesn’t seem padded as Jurgen juggles the supersized cast as well as you can expect. Seven out of ten lanterns.