This week brings the penultimate issue of the Green Lanterns series with issue 56 and writer Dan Jurgens setting the stage for a final one on one confrontation between Cyborg Superman and Hal Jordan. Jurgens channels a lot of nostalgia in setting up the showdown, a callback to the days when Superman returned from the dead but both he and Hal arrive too late to save Coast City from annihilation.
As I speculated last issue, the person in the shadows is indeed Simon Baz. Jurgens doesn’t explain how he gets there but his arrival does allow Simon to quickly clear his name. What’s odd is the continuity fumble between last issue and this one. In issue 55 we see the Ravager attack damaging the medical facility and a person we now know is Simon finding John’s unconscious body in the rubble. This issue Simon finds his way into an undamaged medical center and releasing John from his healing capsule. The two scenes definitely don’t line up with each other at all and has the potential to really take the reader out of the moment.
I imagine some people will find Jurgens’ callback to the destruction of Coast City a bit too nostalgic and they wouldn’t be wrong in doing so. While I personally enjoy the exploration of how that event ties Henshaw to Jordan is seems to derail the entire plot of the story. Their mutual history gives this conflict some subtext and I enjoyed seeing Henshaw taunt Hal as he ponders returning to Earth to finish the job before taking off for Coast City. Next issue’s throw down is going to be personal and I’m looking forward to seeing how Jurgens uses the location to maximize its dramatic potential.
But with Henshaw bailing on the Ravagers and Eon down for the count it’s pretty easy pickings for the Green Lantern Corps. The whole Ravagers plot collapses within a handful of panels and some things, like Mogo’s odd antics, need some closing exposition. The pressure is on Jurgens to provide a satisfactory conclusion to this story while doing any set up for Grant Morrison’s run, but I have confidence that someone like Jurgens at the helm he’ll find a way.
Mike Perkins continues providing the art with this issue and while I have some reservations about some of the work I have to point out how well he manages to convey Cyborg Superman’s emotional state. For a guy with a mostly inorganic face Perkins manages to make him very expressive. In other places I think he’s over-inked his pencils to his detriment. While I kind of like the metallic cover, I’m not a fan of Perkins work on it and it really doesn’t translate well.
Green Lanterns #56 is a good issue but suffers from a couple of questionable narrative decisions that lessened my enjoyment of the finished product. That said I’m very much looking forward to seeing the conclusion in a couple of weeks before The Green Lantern debuts in November. Seven out of ten lanterns.