By: Geoff Johns (story), Doug Mahnke (pencils), Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Mark Irwin, Tom Nguyen (inks), Alex Sinclair (colors)

The Story: Considering the success of rehab on Hollywood celebrities, this isn’t surprising in the least.

The Review: While I generally like Johns as a writer, and there are quite a few of his works I greatly enjoy, I still stand by my position that he doesn’t bring all that much depth to what he writes.  He has a great love of symbolism, of trying to mine the moral out of every tale he tells, but whatever meaning he puts into his stories, they’re always right there, just underneath the surface of the plot, and quite easy to grasp.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in his portrayal of the various color corps in this series.  We all know what Johns means when he has the Red Lanterns spitting up blood uncontrollably with rage.  It’s pretty obvious why Larfleeze is completely alone as wielder of avarice.  Same with the Star Sapphires’ semi-obsessive pursuit of love throughout the universe.  And let’s not even get started with the whole fear-versus-will conflict between the Yellow and Green Lantern Corps.

If there’s to be at least one instance where we see Johns going for a less simplistic, more nuanced statement, it must be with the Indigo Tribe.  While the connection between their ability to use the power of every corps and their focus on compassion makes perfect sense, you’ve never really been able to pin down their overarching motives, nor what makes someone worthy of the tribe.  They’re an enigma in the Johnsonian vision, which sets them apart from all his other concepts.

Even with a thorough exploration of the tribe’s origins (via one Natromo, the late Abin Sur’s ally and co-founder of the tribe—although he wears no ring himself since “I’m not a sociopath”), you have to question what Johns might be trying to say through the Indigos.  Since each member of the tribe to the man was formerly one “of the worst killers and sadists the universe has ever seen,” and it grows apparent their rings merely repress, not cure, their violent tendencies, what does that say about such troubled individuals?  Yes, their criminal behavior springs from an inability to feel compassion, but is that impossible to rectify sans a brainwashing ring?

If that’s the position Johns means to take with the way he plays out events in this issue, it’s a difficult one to swallow.  We get some insight into the exact nature of the ritual the tribe uses to indoctrinate its new members, including Sinestro.  The process seems straightforward at first glance, making him relive heartfelt moments of tragedy and regret, but it’s not totally clear if these experiences are memories or induced visions.  If it’s the former, the obvious question would be: what do tribesmen experience if they have no regrets, supposing they’re not quite as multidimensional as Sinestro?

Some final notes: Natromo mentions the Indigo Tribe will prove critical to preventing the forthcoming “End of the Corps,” but there’s no indication whether this affects the Green Lanterns only, or all color corps.  Knowing who’s behind this, though, I can’t imagine they’d finish the Green Lanterns only to let the others go free.

Mahnke knows how to draw a magnificent space opera.  We’ve seen him draw the central batteries of pretty much every corps to date, yet he always manages to make each one imposing and awe-inspiring in its own way.  While each central battery has a bearing of an altar of some kind, the Indigo Tribe’s is the most overtly spiritual we’ve seen thus far, seemingly crafted from the very stone of its surroundings, set within a chamber that has the air and solemnity of a temple.  It’s this kind of stuff that makes you see Green Lantern as an epic.

Conclusion: Plenty of answers which lead to—you guessed it—even more questions.  Johns tones down the action in favor of some mythos-building, but it’s all set-up for a fairly spectacular battle next time.

Grade: B

– Minhquan Nguyen

Some Musings: – I might have spoken too soon about the possibility of Ganthet not being quite as murdersome as his peers.

– At what point will we finally drop this pretense of the Guardians being a force for good?  More like a farce for good.