After the explosive events of the second issue, Green Lantern returns with issue three. Writer Geoffrey Thorne divides the issue into two separate stories, one following John Stewart as he regains consciousness following the explosion of the Central Power Battery, the other focusing on Jo Mullein, Keli Quintela, and Simon Baz picking up the pieces on Oa.
The John Stewart section spans 145 days, but it’s rather bland and unengaging for all of the time and pages spent telling a story. One thing that Thorne gets right is being creative in how John can communicate without the benefit of the universal translator in his power ring by recycling a gimmick used by other writers when facing a similar challenge. John awakens in the care of Saqari, who has been playing with John’s mind trying to find out as much as she can about her strange patient.
Thorne plays a bit with John’s history in a couple of interesting ways. In the opening sequence, John is in a classroom with a number of familiar faces as high school classmates, a section that reminds me a lot of the Green Lantern: Mosaic series in terms of its psychological trippiness. Speaking of John’s history with the Mosaic world, the other sequence of note reminds us that John was a human Guardian as well as his marriage to Sinestro’s successor, Katma Tui. We also learn that John is alive thanks to the noble sacrifice of Amanita.
This part of the book also reintroduces us to Ilo, who appears much younger than when we first saw her on the pages of Future State: Green Lantern #1. Fourteen years in the possible future Ilo is a member of John’s crew, but here she is merely Saqari’s energetic daughter. As John spends the next 145 days he gets a new Green Lantern styled uniform, which becomes useful when Qinoori Raiders arrive on the planet Sergilon. The first half of the book ends with John failing at trying to bluff the raiders with the notion that he’s really any sort of a threat to them.
The second half shifts to Oa as Jo Mullein juggles trying to manage the devastation on Oa while searching for the answers behind the explosion. We do get some glimpses as some of the members of the Corps. Kyle Rayner, as expected, was either rescued or captured in the Vega System and is getting medical treatment. Iolande is fighting for her survival on a hostile world, and a naked Rot Lop Fan is navigating alien waters. Two other Green Lanterns, Isamot Kol and Arisia, look a lot worse for wear as they both appear to be dead and floating in space. I fear more for Isamot Kol, remembering that Arisia’s Graxian physiology features a pretty remarkable healing factor.
The real focus shifts to the recovery of Simon Baz and the physical damage to his hand, conveniently compensating for the lack of a power ring with a cyborg-like gun. One criticism that plagued the character was Geoff John’s decision to give Simon a gun due to distrust of his power ring. The Green Lanterns series addressed that by having Simon ditch the gun, but Thorne has chosen to return it, undoing the progress in his limited character development.
Mullein also checks in on Keli Quintela, who is dealing with an injury of her own, the trauma of what she was witness to. While I personally don’t find anything of interest in her character I do think that Thorne captures her voice well in this issue and how he addresses her reaction to the explosion and its aftermath.
Underlying this is Mullein’s covert messaging to anyone in the Corps who might have a ring, warning them to stay away as she quietly investigates the attack. She is also working with the United Planets on trying to track down ALL of the Lanterns stranded off-planet. The issue comes to an end as we see one person getting Mullein’s message – Hal Jordan sporting what appears to be a fully powered ring. Whether Thorne is playing off of Hal having a ring charged by the Cosmic Grail as we saw in the conclusion of the Morrison/Sharp run, or he’s toying with how Hal forged a ring out of pure will, is unknown at this point.
Visually, this book is a shadow of itself with the departure of Dexter Soy and the arrival of Tom Raney. Art is always something that is very subjective and unfortunately, his art style just doesn’t click with my tastes. For me, his facial work is way off base to the point that, in some cases, some of the characters are almost unrecognizable to me. Santucci’s artwork looked much better in comparison. Michael Atiyeh’s colors are all over the place, and one particular travesty is the horrible coloring of poor Kilowog.
The back half of Green Lantern #3 is definitely the stronger part of this issue in my opinion, but the sum of the parts isn’t enough to justify the cover price. From an unengaging front half to some very shaky art, this one’s a skip. Five out of ten lanterns.