by Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Patrick Gleason (pencils), Rebecca Buchman & Tom Nguyen (inks), Randy Mayor (colors), and Steve Wands (letters)

The Story: The black rings assault Oa, Arisia’s work on Daxam reaches its unfortunate conclusion, and Mongul finds a new base of operations.

What’s Good: Strangely, I actually enjoyed the bits divorced from Blackest Night the most in this issue.  That’s not to say the Blackest Night stuff was bad, just that I really like the ominous background threats of Mongul and the incurably xenophobic Daxamites. The Sinestro Corps’ invasion has had a particularly nasty effect on the Daxamites, making them even more violent and racist, but also super-powered.  The menace they pose is definitely palpable. Meanwhile, I loved the short Mongul bit. The reveal of his new base planet is a real gut-punch.

As far as the Blackest Night stuff goes, this issue is, more than anything, another “credibility builder.”  Much like the last issue of Green Lantern, this issue of GLC is all about putting forth just how unstoppably powerful the black light really is. Watching the rings go through a shield as if it were nothing gets that point across well. Meanwhile, while it’s a futile struggle, I’ve never seen cryptkeeper Morro look so badass.

Gleason’s art continues to be fantastic. He does a great job of detailing all of the chaos that the rings brings, but manages to keep it comprehensible. With thousands of little black rings flying all over the place, that’s no small feat. Furthermore, his work depicting Morro is awesome and a good part of the character’s badassery this month comes thanks to Gleason’s efforts. I also loved Senator Diro’s facial expression during his conversation with Arisia. If that doesn’t say “this dude is monstrously evil,” I don’t know what does; Gleason made Senator Diro reach black lantern levels of frightfulness.

What’s Not So Good: With so much going on with Mongul, Daxam, and, of course, Blackest Night, Guy’s quips about Kyle’s romance with Soranik just seemed out of place this month.  It felt a little forced, crammed into an already packed narrative, and hence a little unnatural.  I love Guy, so I did enjoy the dialogue, which is of course in his trademarked “meathead” vernacular, but it just didn’t seem like the time or the place.  Oa is being assaulted by power rings, and Guy’s really going to bring up Kyle’s relationship with Soranik?  Yeah, I don’t buy it.

While fantastic, the scenes with Mongul and Arisia also almost feel too detached and distant from the rest of the book.  Blackest Night has become such a dominating presence in the GL world that when there are simultaneous strands running through this issue that, right now, have no connection at all to it, it just feels off-putting. If anything, it dilutes the Blackest Night stuff.

Also, I’ve gotta say that if you didn’t, on page 1, predict the identity of the resurrected Black Lantern coming for Kyle at the end of the book, you need to have your head examined

Conclusion: A solid issue that feels a little scattered. Neverthless it’s still a fun issue.

Grade: B-

-Alex Evans