By: Geoff Johns (writer), Mike Choi (artist), Alex Sinclair (colorist)
The Story: In which Sinestro finds prophecies to be heavy reading.
The Review: At some point in every superhero’s life there comes a time when they have to face the prospect of hanging up the cape/putting away the spandex outfit for a while, even for good. You can understand why this is such a popular plotline in comics. There’s a certain fascination in figuring out the person beneath the costume, and having our hero take out of it for a while is a huge opportunity to see exactly who we’ve been idolizing all this time.
And if any of you saw the Green Lantern movie, I think you understand for Hal especially it’s important to find out what the deal with this guy is. Basically, when he’s not ruining planes left and right, he’s slinging energy blasts while in colorful wardrobe. Clark writes, Bruce invests money, Diana’s royalty, Barry gets his CSI on, and all of them have non-vigilante people around to do it with. Even Hal’s love interest slips into a hot pink number and exacts justice now and then. If the life of Green Lantern isn’t available to him, how would Hal fare?
Actually, it seems like Hal takes to civilian life pretty well, despite being essentially homeless, unemployed, and broke. Even more interesting, he doesn’t seem all that enamored with his piloting life either. In fact, he’s so well-adjusted to being grounded that you might very well share Carol’s sentiment that “I’m not sure I can get used to this.” Going from intergalactic cop/flying ace to house husband—or, more accurately, house live-in partner—seems too major a switch for him to act like everything’s fine and dandy.
That brings me to a complaint I’ve voiced before since this series relaunched with Hal kicked out the Corps: we still have yet to see him tackle a personal life in earnest (beyond the confines of his relationship with Carol, of course). Having him fortuitously take down a bunch of adult bullies ganging up on an elderly mechanic may be fun, but it also underlines the fact that he can’t give up the hero business entirely, even if he has no ring anymore.
Meanwhile, Sinestro remains the mover and shaker of the book. For all the work he puts in this issue, he gets rewarded not only by retrieving the Book of the Black, but getting a glimpse of a fairly grim future to come, one which involves the death of pretty much everyone he knows and their mother, apparently. That the Guardians are at the root of all this is no surprise, and the vision of him as part of the Indigo Corps may fill veteran readers with weariness; we’ve grappled with color-switching among the various corps to really be thrilled by that concept anymore.
Ultimately, the issue serves only to remind Sinestro, much to his distaste, that while he may hold his former subordinate in contempt, Hal Jordan is the only man he has anything resembling faith in. Certainly, he can’t expect any help from the largely useless Starstorm, who never once reveals the kind of grit and guts everyone else claims he used to have. So we’re soon back to the adventures of Sinestro and sidekick Hal—whether Hal wants to or not.
Choi is a fine artist, but I’m not so sure he’s entirely suited for a pure action-adventure title. There’s a highly poised, stiff quality to his work that doesn’t lend itself well to conveying movement. Hal’s fight with the hangar thugs, for all their lively choreography, looks very static, almost frozen. Choi doesn’t help things by being a little lax with the backgrounds either, often leaving them empty, except for Sinclair’s color washes.
Conclusion: I suppose you should be happy that Hal’s happy, but you can’t help feeling like there’s something not quite right with him settling down to a quiet life of domesticity.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: – Really, guys? It’s not enough you’re being indicted for fraud/embezzlement, now you want to get battery charges, too? Lawyered!