By: Tony Bedard (writer), Ardian Syaf (artist), Vicente Cifuentes (inker), Randy Mayor w/ Carrie Strachan (colorists)
The Story: Revolt of the Alpha-Lanterns, Part 3: Green Lanterns Kyle Rayner, Soranik Natu and Ganthet are fighting an entire planet full of Alpha-Lanterns. In the meantime, Cyborg Superman is doing some body work on John Stewart, which gives Cyborg-Superman a chance to talk for nine pages.
What’s Good: Syaf, Cifuentes, Mayor and Strachan dropped some amazing art into the pages of this book. The pictures and colors are textured, dynamic, bright, moody, and fly the action through the story. Check out the fine line work on Kyle on the first splash page and the color work around the ring. Look at Ganthet’s expression on page two, or Stewart’s on page three or four. These fine artistic moments were taken to another level when Cyborg-Superman opened up his chest. That was a brilliant shot with some great color work.
Bedard has also built a pulse-pounding plot for the art team to play in. Think about it: three green lanterns against a planet of Alpha-Lanterns and a diabolical plan by a half-dead, insane supervillain! What’s at stake? Well, for starters, John Stewart’s insides, but maybe something much bigger that Cyborg-Superman hasn’t revealed. All in all, a compelling story is on offer.
What’s Not So Good: While the art was excellent and the plot was great, the execution of the writing chores followed the path of least resistance, which means following the path of maximum mediocrity. I wasn’t kidding that almost 50% of this issue was devoted to drama-free monologue. Was Cyborg-Superman giving us important information for understanding the story? Yes. Cyborg-Superman’s motivations make things clearer. Does he sound like Ming the Merciless explaining his fiendish past to a captive Flash Gordon? Absolutely. There are many other ways to get background information to the reader. A series of brief flash-backs showing us the action instead of telling us the action would have been a good start to getting this issue to where it could have been. I get the sense that even Bedard was aware of the substandard writing choice he’d made when he had John Stewart ask Cyborg-Superman “Why are you telling me all this?”
Conclusion: Great story, great art, fumbled writing. Worth picking up, but the craftsmanship was needlessly reduced.