“Mourning dress, Lanterns”
The second issue of the new volume of Green Lantern was released recently, and with this issue writer Geoffrey Thorne shakes up the status quo and pushes the series in the direction of his Future State storyline. This issue also marks the last issue of artist Dexter Soy, with Tom Raney taking over and pairing with Marco Santucci on pencils. There are a lot of things to note about the events of this issue, so prepare for this review to try to unpack some of those details along with being a traditional review.
This issue starts with John Stewart providing a recap of the first issue, and in all honesty, I think this issue is more like a first issue itself. One could have skipped the first issue and started here and not missed anything of any consequence. The recap is paired with the news that the assassin has been taken into custody as the Green Lanterns fight his partner in crime, a magic dragon. This leads to the funeral for the dead Guardian, who we learn was named Koyos – a previously unseen member of the Guardians. Along with the ceremony comes the first of the major changes that Thorne unloads on readers this issue.
Thorne reveals that the Guardians are not beings of flesh and blood, that they maintain a physical form simply for the benefit of the younger species in the universe. This is something completely new and I’m a little on the fence about how I feel about it. We know that the Guardians were flesh and blood creatures called Maltusans before they took on the mission as Guardians to atone for Krona’s unleashing of evil into the universe. If Thorne wants to say that the Guardians have evolved into beings of energy I can buy into that, but if he’s trying to say that they have always been that way then I do have a real problem with it.
The other new Guardian, Nemosyni, delivers the eulogy as well as committing Koyos’ “inert matter” to the central power battery. The scene is solemn to be sure but it lacks any emotional resonance because we have not connection to Koyos other than the fact that he’s a Guardian of the Universe. Had Thorne chose to kill off someone like Rami, there’d be an opportunity for readers to connect with his death, especially if he leveraged Rami’s connections to the Earth Lanterns. Before the dust settles on the ceremony Nemosyni chooses the moment to drop a series of bombshells that shapes the very nature of the Green Lantern Corps itself.
The first bit of news is that the Guardians on vacating 1200 of the 3600 sectors of the universe in order to play nice with the United Planets (UP). Thorne thankfully doesn’t provide the entire list, but ten sectors are subsequently noted: 0078, 0202, 0279, 0325, 1005, 1307, 2743, 3003, and 3111. Out of those only Sector 0279 is one that has a Lantern assigned to it that has appeared before. That sector was protected by Lantern RRU-9-2, an android member of the Corps rumored to be a Manhunter. RRU-9-2 may be familiar to fans for a couple of reasons. For one, he was introduced in the “Yesterday’s Sins” arc of the first Guy Gardner series which we just coincidentally discussed in episode 192 of The Podcast of Oa. Also, if you read the Future State: Green Lantern books, RRU-9-2’s metal corpse was turned into a suit of armor worn by the leader of the Khund Firefists.
There’s a flaw in this plan if you recall how the sectors of the universe work. Each sector of space is a triangular wedge that points to Oa, through a number of galaxies that occupy space in that wedge. If the UP is basically the planets in the Milky Way, vacating the sectors that intersect with their space also leaves a lot of territories that are no longer protected by the Green Lantern Corps or the UP’s Brigade forces. It seems like it would have just been easier to notes those sections of each sector as no longer being under the jurisdiction of the Guardians and the Green Lanterns in the affected sectors just end up with a bit less territory to cover. For that matter, Oa is in the center of the universe some 27,000 light-years from the Milky Way – so why would they even need to be a part of the UP in the first place? Maybe I’m wrong but it makes zero sense to me.
The next change is that the Guardians are doing away with all titles and their hierarchy. No Corps Leader, no Honor Guard, no Clarissi, and no Torchbearer. I don’t think this is that big of a deal, although I do think that Kyle Rayner fans, in particular, might be rubbed the wrong way by the elimination of the Torchbearer moniker. After all, Kyle wasn’t called the Torchbearer as some sort of Corps rank, it was the acknowledgment of his accomplishments during the time when he was the sole person to carry the Green Lantern legacy forward.
Next up is the reassignment of all the Green Lanterns displaced by the closing of the 1200 sectors and the dissolution of some of the roles assigned to Green Lanterns like Salaak and Kilowog. There are three new assignments given to these ringbearers: Quest, Outrider, and Crux. First, let’s start with the Outriders.
Outriders are essentially Green Lanterns on active duty assigned tasks as needed by the Guardians. It’s implied that the Outriders will be working a great deal with the UP on tasks that are mutually agreed upon between them and the Guardians. Lanterns given the Outrider duty include Larvox of Sector 0017, B’Shi of Sector 0312, Guy Gardner, and two new characters – Alvix and YTimo. Larvox has a long history in the Green Lantern Corps and should be very familiar to long-time readers. B’Shi is a female from a simian species who died during an invasion of Apokolips, apparently alive again. The implication of the presence of Larvox and B’Shi in the Outriders implies that Sectors 0017 and 0312 are among the now-defunct sectors.
The next assignment ties to another revelation, that in each universe in the omniverse there are seven “Crux Worlds” that are vital to the development of their universe. In our universe the planets Oa, Mogo, Earth, Krypton, Xanshi, Oishiha, and Raggashoon are the crux worlds. The fates of Krypton and Xanshi leave our universe with only five remaining Crux Worlds and each one is assigned an Earth Lantern as a protector except Mogo, who takes care of itself. The remaining four Crux Worlds are assigned to Jessica Cruz (Oishiha), Kyle Rayner (Raggashoon), Simon Baz (Oa), and Hal Jordan (Earth).
Oishiha is a world we’ve never seen before, and Raggashoon is actually the name of a city, not a planet. Raggashoon is on the planet Rashashoon and I don’t know if Thorne made a boo-boo there or if there’s an as-yet unrevealed reason for the name change. Kyle’s assignment there is very interesting given that it’s in the Vega System and has a history tied to the Omega Men, and if you recall Kyle was a part of the Tom King “Omega Men” limited series.
Thorne uses Earth’s place as a Crux World to explain why so many Green Lanterns were spawned there and why there are so many metahumans from Earth. According to Thorne, Earth is the Crux of Heroes and destined to be the Fifth World when the New Gods fade away. It’s a clever way to provide some kind of an explanation for the ridiculous number of Earth Lanterns, that’s for sure!
The final designation is Quest, which sets up the series for what’s to come. Spatial anomalies have appeared that prevent the Guardians from seeing what’s happening there and a contingent of 1000 Green Lanterns are being dispatched to investigate. Among them are John Stewart, Kilowog, Salaak, RRU-9-2, G’Nort, Amanita, and a new character, Beelu Kenz. These Green Lanterns should be very familiar to us as they were all featured in the Future State: Green Lantern series. Beelu Kenz was referred to as simply Kenz, who ran things aboard the ship during the Khund mission. While Sector 0279 was clearing noted as one of the sectors shutting down, Amanita’s and G’Nort’s presence implies that Sectors 3100 and 2112 are also now defunct as well.
These announcements don’t settle well with quite a few members of the Corps, especially those who are assigned duties far away from the homes. When John points this out Nemosyni is quick to point out that being in the Corps is a voluntary service, and if someone doesn’t want to do their duty the ring will choose someone who will. This transitions the book to a scene where the 1000 lanterns construct the ship which will shortly depart for the “Dark Sectors”.
As John prepares to depart he leave Keli Qunitela in the care of Simon Baz, and just as the ship leaves orbit the Central Power Battery explodes, leaving a lot of dead and/or incapacitated Green Lanterns. We see the explosion from several perspectives, including a mysterious orange cloaked figure sitting on what looks like a different version of the Mobius Chair. We also see Kyle Rayner in distress in the Vega System as his ring goes dark while he’s in space and Mongul watching intently from what must be Warworld 2.0.
This leads us to the conclusion of the issue which is noted with the arrival on Oa of Jo Mullein, whose ring is unaffected by the explosion. She finds Keli, who has used her gauntlet to protect herself from the explosion. Simon, however, looks a bit worse for wear.
Something that I really don’t like that Thorne’s has done in both issues is having Keli’s dialogue jump to Spanish periodically, particularly when she’s stressed or emotional. I get that she’d do that, but Thorne seems to forget that the power rings translate languages, so even if Keli speaks Spanish, Jo and the reader should be hearing and seeing her dialogue in English. That does bring up another problem – with the rings dead how are those 1000 Green Lanterns going to communicate with each other? Better yet, with the Central Power Battery dead how did that ship keep on flying? There should be 1000 dead Green Lanterns floating in space at this point, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg considering how many are caught in space like Kyle.
I don’t believe that Simon is dead despite how dire it’s portrayed, and we do know he’s included in a future solicitation. I also don’t think Kyle is in too much trouble, and it would be in bad taste to bump him off in this way.
Something that Geoffrey Thorne has said is that his Future State story takes place fourteen years in the future, which implies that the Green Lanterns are going to be without their rings for a long time. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really all that interested in this being the status quo for that long so I hope that there’s more to it than it seems right now. There’s also a number of things that don’t line up between this and the other Future State stories due to the timing of events. Perhaps those stories fall into the “possible future that didn’t come true” category, which is unfortunate as it makes for a confusing reading experience.
As for the mystery of why the power battery exploded, well I have two thoughts about that. One is that the arrow that killed Koyos basically turned him into a bomb of sorts. The other is that Nemosyni is either being controlled or is plotting against the Green Lantern Corps and planted a bomb in the coffin that entered the battery, then announced all of these changes quickly to keep the Green Lanterns’ attention focused elsewhere. Neither is a great mystery, and I frankly hope that the solution isn’t that simple.
As for the art, we all know it’s subjective and while I think it looks good overall, I didn’t find the transition between artists Dexter Soy and Marco Santucci as smooth as the previous issue, and I don’t think the overall quality was as high, either.
Green Lantern #2 shakes up the Green Lantern universe in a lot of ways, some interesting and some which leave me shaking my head. Most Green Lantern fans have grown tired of some of the tropes that Geoffrey Thorne trots out. In all honesty, I’m not interested in reading about Green Lanterns without their rings, nor do I find the characters that he’s chosen to focus on particularly compelling. Despite the nice art, I don’t find this series one that has legs. Six out of ten lanterns.