Green Lantern #5 is an issue that finally moves the plot forward after slogging around for the past several issues. Interestingly, this issue swaps “lead” stories if you’ll call them that, with the initial focus on Keli Quintela’s PTSD fueled trip to New Korugar.
The issue starts out with Sinestro relaxing after an implied ménage à trois in his ruling palace as Keli Quintela makes her arrival. I’m not sure I agree that Sinestro is someone who’d indulge himself that way – I mean we know he and Arin Sur were married and that he has had carnal relations with Lyssa Drak, but Sinestro has always seemed a bit more discreet when it comes to physical relations. I did like the little Parallax statue that makes an appearance here. I think there will be some who will want to see Sinestro engage with Keli here, but I think Thorne makes the right choice in having him simply watch from afar. It’s more in character for him to deem her unworthy of his attention than get his hands dirty.
Keli demonstrates the power of her gauntlet, but when she faces off against Sinestro’s elite guard Thorne makes the mistake of giving us a “Keli Sue” moment. Sure the gauntlet is powerful and right now Keli’s fueling it more anger than will and she easily takes down five veteran members of the Sinestro Corps – Arkillo, Romat-Ru, Kiriazis, Feena Sik, and Moose. Remember when Arkillo was a fierce threat? Keli makes quick work of them all which should never be allowed to happen. Someone that young and inexperienced should have easily fallen to the likes of these five despite how driven she might be right now.
Despite the ludicrous nature of their conflict, Marco Santucci at least makes it look good. Keli’s constructs pull from her limited arsenal, mainly being giant versions of her Young Justice teammates and John Stewart. Eventually, the issue’s narrator makes herself known, a barely concealed Jessica Cruz. You have to shake your head at DC Comics for revealing this in the solicitations instead of letting the story unfold for readers, but I guess they had to because it’s right there on the cover of the annual. DC could have taken a better path and been coyer about the annual’s description and cover image, but DC is far from smart about these things.
Jessica penetrates Keli’s PTSD and reveals her greatest fear – being left alone. Santucci makes an art mistake here and reverts Keli’s hairstyle from the flattened look she had throughout the issue back to her default hairstyle. Not the world’s worst art mistake by any means, but a slip up that slipped through his and the editors’ fingers.
What happens next is the issue’s second major flaw. Simon Baz shows up in his Iron Lantern Mark I ripoff armor to rescue Keli. With only a cloak keeping Jessica’s identity secret, her former partner fails to recognize the voice of someone he knows best in the universe. Jessica is probably one of the people Simon knows best in the universe and he doesn’t recognize her voice, her body movements, anything? For Oa’s sake.
The issue then jumps to the Dark Sectors and Thorne finally moves this plot forward and reunites John with the rest of the what remains of the Green Lanterns assigned “Quest” duty. I can simply sum up the last half of the issue: The people of Sergilon want to kill John to save themselves, but John convinces them that they need to leave before the slavers return and so they flee to the Green Lantern base out in space. John takes some heat for what happened and then Kilowog asks for someone to save him and Hannu. That’s it and maybe now we can move onto something that is hopefully more entertaining next issue.
Tom Raney’s style is still something that just doesn’t work for my taste, and there are way too many panels that have little to no background to them. The coloring is also way off for my tastes.
Green Lantern continues to suffer from uninspired storytelling and horrible pacing. We are five issues into the series and I can’t say that the story is worth the $25 readers paid for it. Thorne would have been better left to tell his John Stewart story in a mini-series unencumbered with the rest of the characters he’s been charged with handling. Five out of ten lanterns.