As we inch towards the end of the first arc of this series, Green Lantern #9 finally reveals who’s behind the destruction of the power battery and who’s been trying to kill off the Green Lanterns in the Dark Sectors. With just three more issues left to this first arc the time is running out for John Stewart and Jo Mullein to solve their respective problems.
The first half of the book continues the exploration of John’s “ascendancy” and, while we still don’t know exactly what this entails, the one thing that seems certain is that it will be hard for him to go back to being “just” a Green Lantern. Lonar implies a few things in this issue, one being that John can draw upon a number of cosmic forces, not just the green power of will. That in and of itself is mildly interesting, but the question is where does this leave John when this run is over? If John’s new powerset is all going to be undone and reset to the status quo it seems like the story has no point. But if John is as permanently altered as anyone ever is in comics, can he ever go back to being the Green Lantern people associate with the character?
The troubling thing that Lonar implies is more troubling to the Green Lantern mythos. At one point Lonar references John’s use of the emerald energy, claiming that “..Oans assumed this force to be part of their ’emotional spectrum'”. What’s troublesome is that if what writer Geoffrey Thorne implies is true, then everything we’ve understood about the power of “will” is false, that the immense intellect of the Guardians is wrong about it all. It seems like a backhanded attempt to undermine the revelation of the spectrum which defined the most popular run in Green Lantern history. For over 60 years we’ve proceeded under the notion that the central power battery collects the energy of willpower from throughout the universe and it seems a little late in the game to try to redefine it now.
The “big bad” is revealed to be Esak, a New Gods character we haven’t seen since 1985. It’s sadly not a stunning revelation as most readers aren’t even going to recognize the name, and those who do won’t recognize the character’s appearance as he looks nothing at all like the physically deformed scientist Jack Kirby created. His attempt at returning the Lightbringer doesn’t carry any weight since Thorne hasn’t spent any time building the plot – it’s merely a generic villain thrown in to give John an adversary.
Over on the Jo Mullein side of things, we learn that Koyos is also one of the Guardians behind the destruction of the battery. This really comes as no surprise since we learned last issue that Nemosyni was one of the culprits. So it took the wind out of the sails of this issue and turned any dramatic punch into more of a light slap. Of course, it was pretty clear that the Guardians were behind this from the beginning anyway, and given that this run has been very short on original creative ideas it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who didn’t see it coming. The back and forth between Jo and Yridian lacked punch as well since there’s been so little interaction between them. As in the first half of the book, this plot has been rather pedestrian and lacking when it comes to leaving a real impression.
Artistically speaking the book has been consistent for the most part, so if you’ve been enduring this series so far you won’t find your opinion swayed with this issue. For my tastes Maro Santucci’s work appeals the most to me, but that’s about it.
Green Lantern #9 could have been a turning point for the series as we finally get an idea of what’s been going on all these months. However the reveals here lack any sort of drama and don’t seem important. At the end of the day I feel the same about this issue as I have the first 8 issues. The storytelling isn’t compelling at all, and every issue feels padded. It looks like DC is going to let Thorne finish this first arc, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a creative change after issue 12. Four out of ten lanterns.