By: Geoff Johns (writer), Doug Mahnke (penciller), Christian Alamy & Tom Nguyen (inkers), David Baron (colorist)

The Story: Sinestro, to the rescue!  For once, I’m actually not kidding you.

The Review: One of the few titles sticking to its guns and continuity post-relaunch is Green Lantern, so we can safely start by talking about what happened last time.  The reincorporation of Sinestro into the fold of the Green Lanterns definitely left you with a superb cliffhanger, one with all kinds of intriguing possibilities.  But after the initial burst of excitement dies down, you have to ask yourself: what now?  How does Johns plan to get himself out of this predicament?

Yet Sinestro’s new status counts as only one of many running plotlines in the series, and Johns manages them all masterfully.  While he’s written some series where you never get a sense of direction at all, even well into the course of the story (see The Flash for further reference—or, better yet, see Flashpoint), for Johns’ pet title, we can have absolute confidence that we can trust him to guide us faithfully to wherever these sub-plots end up.

Take the whole mess with Sinestro.  Despite his protests at returning to his original corps, he does resign himself to its mantle and lantern for the time being.  Certainly he may not feel all that much attachment to his former, self-named corps, now they’ve enslaved his home world and view him as a traitor.  Yet we all know Sinestro answers to no one but himself, so whatever plan he wants to pitch to Hal, it’ll only further his own interests, not those of either corps.

You heard right; the title may have Sinestro’s doe-eyed face splashed across the cover, and he gets a significant chunk of the issue, but this is still clearly Hal’s book.  Like any superhero who finds himself out of the biz, he suddenly gets confronted with all the real-world stuff he’s ever ignored, all at once.  There’s a lot of fun in seeing him exchange his once cosmic life for one filled with car leases, eviction notices, and failed proposals.

By now Carol and Hal’s “will they or won’t they” romantic tension has gotten tiresomely obvious, but Johns manages to inject some fresh humor into their relationship by preventing Hal from flying off when things get serious.  After all her efforts of bailing him out of prison (it’s a long story) and providing him a desk job, Carol getting sucker-punched by Hal’s own misleading offer, leaving her steaming and Hal washed up—and with the dinner check.

Johns has cleverly given us a rebooted title without actually rebooting anything.  We have all the characters at their original status quos (Sinestro in green, Hal in trouble, Carol in sexual frustration), giving a delightful sense that anything can happen now, but we’re also very familiar with the series’ mythos and how it works.  We can just lean back and watch the fun without having to figure any of the logistics or continuity.  In that regard, this series sells very well to both the new readers and the longtime fans.

Mahnke delivers his usual high standard of work, supporting and enhancing the already solid qualities of Johns’ script at every turn, especially in punching up the gags of the issue.  Love the cut from a panel of Hal socking an apparent lady-choker, to a panel of Hal in mid-punch, lit by the klieg lights of a film crew, who stare at him nonplussed.

Conclusion: By all accounts, the issue doesn’t get very far, but it sets some very substantial storylines in motion and generates a great momentum.  Unscathed from the relaunch, it just goes to show: if it ain’t broke…

Grade: B+

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – It’s worth noting that the Guardians are up to their old, underhanded tricks again.  This makes, what—the umpteenth time?  If I was a Green Lantern: “I’m only giving you Guardians nine more chances!”