This week marks the delayed release of Green Lantern #12, which appears to be the last issue of the series. Writer Geoffrey Thorne uses this issue to wrap up a number of loose ends as well as give us a glimpse of the new direction for the Green Lanterns going forward. There’s still a lot left unsaid by the time the dust finally settles, but it sounds like there’s more coming from Thorne in the future. I’m not going to summarize all the changes in this review since I want to just speak to this particular issue, but I do plan on publishing a scorecard of sorts which I hope serves as a “Who’s on first” guide documenting what’s happened to who in the very near future.
Like most of this series, the narrative is split between two connected stories – one centering on John and one on what’s transpiring in normal space. For John’s portion of the story, Thorne focuses on John’s struggle to restore as much as he can with the Godstorm energy he’s absorbed. As we’ve seen, John is now connected to the Source, and the Source appears to John in the form of a human male looking very much like Jack Kirby. This would’ve been a novel approach if Marvel hadn’t already done the same thing months ago. While I’m always on board for a tribute to the King, this being the DC Universe it would have been far more appropriate has the Source looked like Julie Schwartz, the often-overlooked hero who not only revived DC out of the shadows of the “Seduction of the Innocent”, but was indirectly responsible for Marvel doing the same as well. Not knocking the tribute to Kirby, but I find myself often disappointed that people seem to forget that as much as people like to credit Kirby and Stan Lee as the godfathers of the medium, Schwartz is the architect behind all that we love so much.
The battle with Koyos has left Maltus, Zamoran, Odym and the Helix destroyed, so John Stewart does his best to repair and restore as much as he can. Either John isn’t able to, or simply chooses not to put everything back the way it was using his cosmic reset button, but rather than giving each group their own power source back John combines them into one giant orb which Hal Jordan dubs a “beacon”. It seems odd that John would choose to repair all the ships and tech on Oa but not the destructions of whole planets. I guess Thorne has his reasons, but it feels wrong to me. It also feels wrong that John, now ascended, can’t more easily get the Green Lanterns back from the Dark Sector than to do what we see unfold in this issue’s final pages.
As with a lot of this run, this issue feels predictable in how the story ends. John “sacrifices” himself to restore things just as we knew all along he would. Thorne takes it one step further and has the Source tell John that his power is not only unlimited but that he can’t die either. Fans have varying opinions on the Green Lantern characters and John is arguably one of the least interesting ring bearers, but to make him so overpowered makes me even less interested in him than I already was.
I also take issue with how Thorne seems to minimize Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner by implying that they were somehow unable to handle the same levels of power when given the same opportunity. Thorne trots out Parallax as an example of absolute power corrupting absolutely, but that wasn’t the nature of Hal’s fall. Both Hal as the God of Light and Kyle as Ion were capable of wielding their power without giving in to the temptations of corruption and both gave up their power for the greater good. John’s certainly entitled to his go-round, but let’s not try to say that Hal and Kyle are somehow lesser characters.
The concept that the Blue Lanterns, the Green Lanterns, and the Star Sapphires will all need to share Oa as a central base seems like a poor idea. One of the better ideas that was created alongside the emotional spectrum is the idea that each color is unique and relates to the others in different ways. While the blue and green energies are very complementary to each other, the energy of love is vastly different. The further away from the center of the spectrum and the less the ring-wearer controls the emotion and the emotion controls the wearer. So color me not a fan of this at all.
I do like the role that Hal was given in this issue in terms of figuring out what the beacon is and how to use it to repower the rings. It seems that this really is a cosmic reset button with Hal’s ring apparently very much like the one he originally received from Abin Sur. One change is that Jo Mullein’s ring now is one of the standard-issue rings, a change I applaud. Likewise, the silly Teen Lantern gauntlet is gone as well. And while John was able to fix all the tech, he apparently couldn’t help to bring Keli Quintela out of her coma or do anything for Simon’s arm.
Speaking of Simon, he’s one of the characters who gets a new status quo spinning out of this issue. While he doesn’t get a ring, he gets a new outfit and appears to be a “Cryptkeeper” of sorts. Likewise, Iolande somehow becomes a Star Sapphire and B’Dg ends up with a Blue Lantern ring. Odd choices to be sure, and I can only hope there’s a reason behind it. Oh, and everyone who died? They are all apparently “remnants” – Thorne’s equivalent to a Green Lantern force ghost I guess. There’s no rest for the dead here, kids! Sound like a bit of a mess – yes, it is.
Marco Santucci has been rock solid in the art department, and his portions of the book look great in this issue as well. Tom Raney hasn’t done anything for me this entire run and my opinion remains the same. Here were their styles are intermingled the stark differences between them are detrimental to the reading experience. Santucci’s clean lines and eye for detail make Raney’s cartoony style look like it was drawn by a junior high school student.
In the end, Green Lantern #12 falls flat with what feels like half-thought-out decisions and retreads of where we’ve already been before. It reinforces to me why Geoffrey Thorne is not the right writer to lead this franchise, but sadly it looks like we’re going to get more in the “John Stewart and the Emerald Knights” book that we’re going to be getting. Hopefully, there will be more than one Green Lantern series rising out of the rubble of this one, but for now, I’m glad it’s over. Five out of ten lanterns.