“Baz ran out on us”
(Note: DC Comics provided a copy of this issue for review. For our exclusive interview with Dan Jurgens about Green Lanterns #54, check out episode 127 of the Podcast of Oa!)
Dan Jurgens revealed that Cyborg Superman was tricking Simon Baz into rescuing him last issue, but in this week’s Green Lanterns #54 readers get to witness Baz uncovering the fact that he’s been duped by Hank Henshaw. Meanwhile both Jessica Cruz and Kyle Rayner find themselves on the losing end of a debate about Simon’s loyalty when both Guy Gardner and Kilowog provide convincing arguments that Baz has gone rogue.
Jurgens does a great job of folding in past plot points into his aptly titled “Evil’s Might” arc, with perhaps the strongest element being Simon’s reaction at the issue’s end when he realizes that his long-held distrust of his power ring finally comes true. Simon ditched the pistol back in issue seventeen so to see him psychologically round that corner again was for me the emotional anchor of the issue. The pistol has always been a sore point for me so I have to give credit to Jurgens for making the topic actually have some real substance to it.
I think what I like best about this story so far it that it resonates for me on a couple of different levels, one being the obvious allegory about putting too much faith in technology. For me there’s an even stronger subtext that runs particularly strong in this issue and that’s the propensity of human beings to willingly gang up against someone else when they only have one side of the story. In today’s social and political climate we’ve become so quick to take sides and drown out other opinions that we form battle lines based on what we think the other side believes. It’s an unfortunate commentary on the unravelling of our society where we’ve allowed ourselves to wall out opposing viewpoints, creating an echo chamber that doesn’t allow us to achieve a well-informed opinion. Kilowog and Guy are quick to throw Simon under the bus based on only what they think they know and build up logical arguments which seem sound until you realize that the foundation they are built upon is only what they’ve convinced themselves is the truth. It only takes a quick look at today’s headlines and social media slugfests to see it in action. Jurgens has planted seeds of mistrust throughout this story on multiple fronts which does a wonderful job of making the reader question everything.
Hank Henshaw’s tactics sound a little far-fetched at first, but they seem very realistic if you think about today’s cyber hackers and how much they are able to do with much less technology than the cyborg has at his disposal. Cyborg Superman is really a great foil for the Green Lantern Corps when you look back over his history, and Jurgens is certainly well suited for the task given his own pedigree. I’m interested in seeing how this plays out with Hal Jordan’s ring, given that it’s not like the others and has been forged by Hal from his own willpower. Speaking of rings, I totally had no expectation of the other power ring which makes a return in this chapter. I have to wonder if Henshaw’s meddling with the rings has any impact on this one in particular, considering how difficult it’s been proven to master.
Marco Santucci is joined by Scott Hanna who finished up some of Santucci’s work on this issue. Visually the issue issue looks really good other than a couple of minor points. I’m not a fan of Santucci’s version of Simon’s mask or the belt he’s wearing, but other than that the art’s look great.
Green Lanterns #54 answers some questions about the antagonist of “Evil’s Might” and how Cyborg Superman was able to pull the wool over the eyes of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Writer Dan Jurgens layers some social commentary underneath his story of revenge and does a great job of pushing Simon Baz to an interesting place that builds upon what has come before in this series. Eight out of ten lanterns.