By Geoff Johns (writer), Ed Benes & Marcos Marz (artists), Ed Benes & Luciana Del Negro (inkers

The Story: John Stewart guest stars in Hal’s book this month to single handedly take on the Black Lantern planet Xanshi.

The Good: Wow. I love, love, love it when a comic can get me to re-examine characters I thought I knew. It’s not that I never liked John Stewart, but I will admit it was always hard to view him as being anything other than Hal’s wingman. With this issue, my respect for Stewart and his abilities has gone through the roof, and if DC ever wises up and gives Stewart his own monthly series, I’ll be the first in line to pick it up, this issue was that damn good. Under Johns’ guidance, Stewart is the eternal soldier: stoic, taciturn, and utterly dedicated to achieving the mission at hand. When that mission turns out to be taking on an entire Black Lantern planet, conventional wisdom would tell most people to wait for some back up. But not John Stewart, oh no. In the greatest and best-drawn moment of the comic, Stewart…well, let’s just say he calls on a different Corps to help him kick ass and take names. I was initially disappointed when I saw that Doug Mahnke wouldn’t be drawing this issue, but after reading it I have to say Benes was the perfect choice to bring Stewart’s tale to life.

The Not So Good: Despite being a great stand alone issue that expands Stewart’s character, the plot amounted to little more than filler that does next to nothing to advance the “Blackest Night” storyline, so don’t go into this one expecting startling revelations or anything. Also, I thought the flashback sequence of Stewart’s time in Somalia was unnecessary. Not bad, mind you, but I would have preferred to see more of Stewart using his ring to take on the undead inhabitants of Xanshi.

Conclusion: Ladies and gentlemen, if you thought you knew John Stewart up until now, think again, because Green Lantern #49 will prove once and for all why Stewart is a bad ass and one of the greatest Green Lanterns ever. I was quite impressed with this issue.

Totally Random Sidenote: Has anybody been buying the Blackest Night action figures? If so, drop me a line and let me know if they really look as cool as they do in the advertisements. I keep thinking about starting a collection of the various Lantern Corps, but I’m not quite sold on them yet, so let me know what you think!

Grade: B+

-Tony Rakittke