Green Lantern #4 was released recently, and writer Geoffrey Thorne continues the structure of dividing the series up into two sections, one focusing on John Stewart and the other on the mystery of the destruction of the central power battery. Both plots nudge forward ever so slightly with some new information offered up, plus the first “culling of the herd” of the Green Lantern Corps’ roster.
The book opens with the continuation of the Qinoori on the planet Sergilon. As John Stewart is returning to consciousness after being blasted by the Qinoori last issue, we get a flashback to the events following “Emerald Twilight” wherein John tells Ganthet he renounces his abilities as a Guardian that he earned during his time with the Mosaic World. Ganthet informs John that this simply cannot be undone, but he can make John forget about it. It’s a nice way to explain why this hasn’t been a plot point in all the years since John ascended to Guardian status, and it does make me wonder how John would ever go back to being a Green Lantern should he fully remember and unlock those abilities again. A part of me sees this as potentially a lame way to undo what Thorne’s putting the Corps through and I do hope he’s smart enough not to use John’s Guardian abilities that way.
The rest of this half of the book has John taking on the Qinoori with the old “brains over brawn” strategy. It works, of course, but it doesn’t come off as badass as I think Thorne would like it to. I found it a little too predictable and reliant on the old trope of defeating technology reliance by isolating the bad guys. John does in the end learn that he’s the very reason the Qinoori are there, to kill John and take his ring for the bounty. This half ends with John sitting in front of the head of RRU-9-2 and a jar full of power rings as he learns that 300 bounties have already been collected, implying very strongly that nearly a third of the Green Lanterns given Quest duty back in issue 2 are dead. Among the bounties collected are:
RRU-9-2: Green Lantern of Sector 0279. The destruction of RRU-9-2’s body was a plot point in Thorne’s “Future State” story. He was created back in 1993.
Alif Kon: Previously unknown.
Zolol: Previously unknown.
Tigraf Bel Jen: Previously unknown.
Ash-Pak-Glif: Green Lantern of Sector 0312. He first appeared in 2000 and was most recently shown in The Green Lantern #4.
Morro: Once the Green Lantern of Sector 666 and then the crypt keeper on Oa. Morro first appeared in 2006.
Naut Kei Loi: The Green Lantern of Sector 0012 has appeared many times over the years since his debut all the way back in 1961.
Palaqua: Created in 1986, Palaqua was the Green Lantern of Sector 3587.
Vath Sarn: The Rannian member of the Corps hailed from Sector 2682. Vath first appeared in 2005.
This dead count continues as the scene transitions to Oa, where Jo Mullein is getting a status report on various Green Lanterns from the United Planets (UP). This list confirms some deaths of some lanterns we saw floating in space as well as the status of others we’ve seen recently. The status of these Lanterns are:
Jinko Sin: Confirmed Dead. Previously unknown.
Guy Gardner: Missing
Arisia: Confirmed Dead. This very popular Green Lantern hailed from Sector 2815. She has been around since 1981.
Isamot Kol: Confirmed Dead. Isamot Kol was the Thanagarian partner of Vath Sarn in Sector 2682. The two became fan favorites after their debut in 2005.
Kyle Rayner: Missing
Rot Lop Fan: Located
This half of the book highlights Mullein’s investigation into the destruction of the power battery, which Councillor Fel indicates wasn’t so much destroyed as it was disassembled, which resulted in a great release of energy. Thorne uses this notion to explain why the power rings also went offline and due to their “entanglement” with the battery. This provides some narrative reason why Mullein’s and Hal Jordan’s power rings still work, as does Keli Quintela’s gauntlet. It also proves to be the reason that the Guardians themselves are almost in a catatonic state.
As Fel and Mullein look at suspects, one name stands out – Sinestro. But before the conversation can continue Keli Quintela’s traumatic state sends her literally flying off the handle and off into space to take on Sinestro herself. With that, the issue comes to a close.
Something which has left me scratching my head is that we’ve known, and Simon Baz has known, that Hal Jordan is on Earth. You’d think that contact would be made directly with Hal given how much of a veteran he is, especially in a time like this where his experience and leadership are greatly needed. Working ring or not, Simon should have had at least enough where with all to advise Jo Mullein – and if not bring Hal into this why not the Justice League in some capacity? It’s nonsensical, to say the least.
I also can’t help but comment on the wholesale disrespect for some of these characters. While killing off no-name ring bearers is nothing new, to do so with some beloved characters without so much as a death scene is an incredible waste. We know it’s comics and they can come back possibly, doing them dirty in this way shows very little regard for the creations which have helped to shape Green Lantern mythology.
Another major problem continues to be how Thorne drops Spanish into the book. He tries to say that Keli is somehow messing with the ring translation. Cheesy and lame, but ok, if we’re going to do that then at least provide readers with an editor’s box with the translation. Why Mullein would expose Keli, who’s still trying to process her emotions, to the process of the investigation is beyond me. Keli’s not mature enough to be a part of this very adult conversation and her reaction underscores why the Guardians’ tactics with Keli make no sense. You have a minor, prone to emotional outbursts, running around with a weapon of mass destruction strapped on her arm. C’mon!
Besides crawling at a snail’s pace, this issue really doesn’t offer any entertainment value. We are four issues into the series, a $20 investment for buyers, and there doesn’t seem to any story value for your money at this point. The only thing I think I liked in this issue was how Thorne used the death toll as a way to transition between the two plots.
Visually I continue to struggle with Tom Raney’s art. His work on the aliens is fine, some of it very nice in all honesty. But his John Stewart is abysmal in my opinion, especially when it comes to how Raney draws John’s face. Marco Santucci’s work looks much better for my tastes.
Green Lantern #4 is the weakest issue of this series so far, with the wholesale killing off of fan-favorite characters for cheap shock value. Readers deserve much better than a book that is so unspectacular in its conception and execution that you’re left not caring if you ever pick up another issue. Four out of ten lanterns.