By: Peter J. Tomasi (writer), Fernando Pasarin (artist), Scott Hana (inker), Gabe Eltaeb (colorist)
The Story: Admit it, Guy—you’ve always dreamed of a Rambo moment like this.
The Review: I’m no historian, so I don’t know when comic book writers started doing this kind of thing, but nowadays, it’s common practice for them to have a long-term plot in place for their series. While each arc stands on its own to some degree, they tend to serve some other plot down the line. You often get that feeling on Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern; no matter how major the outcome of one story, you always feel like it’s setup for the next.
Of course, that’s not really a bad thing, although it does kind of steal the savor of satisfaction you get at the end of an arc. Not so here; while Tomasi may very well have big plans to use this issue’s aftermath for some purpose in the future, he doesn’t make it obvious. By the time you reach the last page, you can close the book, sit back, and happily mull over the resolution. It’s the feeling you get when you can finally close the door and shut out the draft of loose ends.
But I’m getting ahead of myself, talking about the ending when this review has only just started. Let’s talk about John Stewart, instead. Since his frequent companion Guy comes off so frenetic and boisterous, you sometimes get misled into thinking John’s somehow less of a warrior. Here, John’s will proves the equal of Guy’s, only whereas Guy seems to practically leak his will all over the place, John’s feels more contained and centered—to a degree (in response to a Keeper saying he’ll break sooner or later, John screams, “I’d say later you son of a bitch!”).
Left behind as a hostage in enemy territory, John must rely on that will to make some fairly sticky decisions. As veteran Lantern, he has a duty to look out for the greenhorns under his wing, but he also has to think of the big picture and do what’s necessary to keep that picture from spoiling. In this case, it means John takes a leaf out of Wonder Woman’s past-universe book and chooses the lesser of two evils. Despite Vandor’s reassurances that he did the right thing, his actions will undoubtedly haunt John very personally in the near future.
Meanwhile, John’s cavalry get up to all kinds of crazy action, since their rings are no longer an effective option against the resistant Keepers. The Lanterns prove, however, that they don’t need no stinkin’ rings to unleash hell upon their enemies (although they do use their constructs very creatively as backup). Even so, the Keepers won’t go down that easily, leaving Guy no choice but to make use of the Yellow Lanterns they brought along as a “fear bomb,” crippling their foes, while sparing the lives of the innocent.
These innocents actually include quite a lot of Keepers as well. Spoiler alert—as it turns out, these translucent soldiers have less nobility than they tried to project. It’s true they have a rightful bone to pick with the Guardians, but their vengeance requires them to feed off the very lives of their fellow peoples. It’s a disappointing twist in a way; it makes it too easy for you to despise the Keepers, where before you could at least have some sympathy for them.
Pasarin continues to be Tomasi’s faithful right-hand man in delivering the goods of the script. He has just enough realism in his art to make you feel the pain and pressure of the most complicated battles, and the expressions on the characters are always spot on. Most of all, you have to love the grand scope he gives to the settings. One look at the central power core of Urak or the desolated landscape of Nerro and you think wistfully of how the Green Lantern film should have looked like.
Conclusion: While the story takes a few logistics for granted, that does nothing to undermine its overall integrity. You can’t really beat solid plotting, character work, and art.
– Minhquan Nguyen
Some Musings: - Call this my law school nerdery rearing its head, but I couldn’t help starting a little at the idea that John and Guy prosecuted the Keepers at a tribunal without any opposing counsel. Rather shady, but at least it speeded up the process quite a bit.
– Kudos to Sheriff Mardin. Back in #2 she made a cold suggestion for the fate of the Keepers, and here Tomasi makes it come true. Well done.