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After the two month break for “Knight Terrors”, we’re back to our normal programming with the recent release of Green Lantern #3. This issue marks the last installment of the John Stewart backup feature with the new Green Lantern: War Journal debuting later this month. With Hal and Sinestro both impacted by their experiences during “Knight Terrors”, writer Jeremy Adams has the two set on a collision course as this series is about to pick up a lot of steam. Before that happens, though, there’s a bit more setup that takes place this issue that sets the stage for where this series is going.

We start the issue with a bit of flashback, resolving how got out of his plunge to Earth from the last issue. Hal of course wills himself to prevent become a splat mark, and then we get some more clues about what’s going on with this new ring of his. As we have now see, Hal can’t leave Earth, a convenient way for Adams to explain why Hal is Earthbound, but also a reminder that this ring isn’t anything like the ring Hal had. In fact, it’s more like the ring Hal used to have, the one that Abin Sur originally gave him. No AI functionality is built in, and we see Hal manipulating the construct so that it has realistic color – again something that Hal had back in the Silver Age. I’m not sure where Adams is going with this, but combined with the fact that the new ring is using power pulled from a mysterious Manhunter armor it’s apparent that there’s more than meets the eye with this ring.

Oh, and I’m all for references to past events, even if they are obscure, but I’m not getting anything from the reference to Slavak 5. So if anyone out there gets the reference, by all means let me know! There is one callback I do recognize, and that’s Sinestro reference to the Llarans during his arrival at Ferris Air. The Llarans were used as the subject of an interstellar incident in Green Lantern: Earth One Volume Two. In universe, though, we’ve only really ever seen their leader, Emperor Sayyar. He debuted in Justice League of America #3 back in 1961 and most recently appeared in a cameo in 2014’s Green Lantern Corps Annual #2 during the Robert Venditti / Van Jensen runs. They’ve never really been major players, and here they are really a means to an end in getting Sinestro some extra firepower. I kind of chuckled seeing Sinestro trying to use the Legion of Doom as some kind of leverage, which provided only a minor hurdle for him to overcome.

….in more ways than one.

Sinestro and a number of hench aliens (joined by the Shark!) then break into Ferris Air. As we find out later, according to Carol Ferris nothing was taken and nothing looked disturbed. We know Sinestro had to have something very specific in mind, and the only clue Adams gives us in Sinestro’s “perfect” statement when Sinestro enters a hangar bay. If I’m not mistaken it appears that the hangar is home to some of the drone craft we saw Hal flying back in the first issue, so my assumption at this point is that Sinestro has tampered with them in order to get Hal in trouble.

While I think the story is perhaps a wee bit more decompressed than I’d like, the next scene is perhaps the most wholesome moment we’ve gotten with any Green Lantern in quite some time. Hal pitching to a bunch of Coast City kids and helping little Stewie get a confidence boost is very on point and I wouldn’t trade those two pages for anything. The next sequence where Hal and Carol touch base is also a nice progression to their dynamic as it starts to move forward a bit more. There’s a mixture of frustration that Hal’s presence has led to the arrival of Sinestro, but there’s also a look of genuine concern for Hal on Carol’s face which is an important detail. The issue closes with Hal unwinding with some coffee before being joined by the last person you’d expect to show up, Sinestro himself. And with that we’re ready for a confrontation next month.

I do need to expound on the ongoing theory of Kilowog being the victim of the events on Korugar with a few observations of this issue. Kilowog shows up on five panels in this issue, mostly during the baseball scene. What adds weight to the theory here is that Adams has now revealed that Hal’s ring can made colored constructs, explaining how a Kilowog construct would not be green. Also, there’s a strong implication that Kilowog is involved in what happened on Korugar during a single panel memory we see when Hal’s getting coffee. And, except for one panel, no one interacts with Kilowog. The one thing that plays against the theory is that, in that one panel, Stewie is riding on Kilowog’s shoulders. Now, that doesn’t mean Kilowog isn’t a construct, but I imagine that if he is poor Stewie is going to have a rather abrupt fall once Hal gets out of range or his ring stops creating it. So maybe my confidence dips ever so slightly in the theory, but I’m still standing behind it for now.

Another image which supports the “Kilowog is dead” theory.

That brings us to the backup feature, which likewise is setup for the new John Stewart series by Philip Kennedy Johnson. Shepherd is a focal point early on, as Johnson underscores the value of this universe’s John Stewart for those that didn’t partake of his initial debut. This John is THE hero in this universe and represents what our John could become if he really, really applied himself. When the Revenant Queen escapes Shepherd is sent by his universe’s John to follow the Queen’s trail into the multiverse and make contact with the John Stewart of the universe she arrives in while John starts building a new Corps.

The interesting detail here is that we see that the Queen has a Star Sapphire ring on her hand, and we know that she and John have a history. If Johnson wants the Queen to be tied to John’s past, then likely suspects are that universe’s Katma Tui, Carol Ferris, or Fatality. Yes, I know that only one of them has white skin, but none of them have white hair like the Queen so there’s every reason to think that the white skin isn’t her natural skin tone and more to do with what’s happened to her along the way.

The high point of this installment is the conversation between John and Guy Gardner. Johnson confirms to us that Shirley Stewart is going through the final stages of her life, and while John may have one eye on the stars, he has his heart here with her at the end. When we interviewed Johnson for episode 223 of The Podcast of Oa back in May, one of the talking points was that John is coming down from a life on the edge, dealing with life and death struggles on a daily basis and then trying to downshift from that lifestyle to a “normal” one, which is hard enough for someone without the added stress of coping with all the emotions that come from the knowledge that you’re losing a parent. I think that sets John up well for the journey we’re going on with him and will create the kind of fertile background for a great story to blossom.

John has a moment of sober reflection.

From an art standpoint, both Xermonico and Montos do an outstanding job as we’ve come to expect. Both artists on very on point with this issue, and both do a superb job supporting the script with how they visually tell their part of the story. I really think this is the strongest art team we’ve seen on the lantern books in quite some time, with the exception of Liam Sharp’s brilliant work during the Morrison run.

Green Lantern #3 is all about setting events up for big things to happen while providing some strong character building, sprinkled with just a pinch of superhero fun. Coupled with some great visual storytelling and this issue is another winner. Eight out of ten lanterns.

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