Or – “This Just In…  Former Honor Guard Lantern Kyle Rayner is STILL Dead*.”

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Heh…  No good joke will ever die, not on my watch!

Green Lantern Corps #43

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Written by Peter J. Tomasi
Art and cover by Pat Gleason and Rebecca Buchman
Variant cover by Ladrönn

Previously, on Green Lantern Corps:  The prophecy of the Blackest Night tells of a War of Light, that bearers of the various colors of the emotional spectrum will war across the galaxy, bringing on an era of darkness and death.  This prophecy has been brought to life through the machinations of Nekron and Black Hand (as well as rogue Guardian of the Universe Scar) and millions of black rings have swarmed out from Sector 666 to possess and animate the bodies of lost heroes, dead friends, and missing family.  While the Green Lanterns on Oa try to fight off their ebony counterparts, they’ve also been forced to deal with attack from Sinestro’s yellow lanterns, a riot in their Sciencells involving Red Lanterns, and the sudden appearance of the Indigo Lanterns in their midst.  In defending the Oan central power battery from Black Lanterns, Honor Guard Lantern Kyle Rayner made a last ditch attempt to save the day, giving his own life to defeat a horde of zombie children.  The effect this will have on the other Gl’s present is as yet unclear, but based on the cover, there’s a pretty good chance that Guy Gardner ain’t takin’ the whole thing too well…

As Kyle’s mortal remains settle into the dust of Oa, his ring takes to the skies, intoning “Green Lantern 2814 Honor Guard deceased.”  Guy Gardner grasps at the ring (which is, unlike Hal’s, my preferred lantern-shape) and puts his entire willpower into keeping the bauble Oa-bound.  “Proceed to Space Sector 2261,” the ring repeats over and over, as Guy strains to hold it in place.  With his willpower fully devoted, Guy is unprepared to fight off the arrival of ANOTHER ring.  “Guy Gardner of Space Sector 2814.  You have great rage in your heart,” says a crimson ring that zips down out of the sky.  “Welcome to the Red Lantern Corps.”  Suddenly vomiting gouts of blood, Guy leaps into action, his red and green rings spewing (literally) destruction at the monstrous Black Lanterns that surround him.  He screams Kyle’s name in a blind fury, while, on the ground, Soranik Natu works feverishly on the body of Kyle Rayner, trying every trick in her surgeon’s manual to bring her lover back, to no avail.  Soranik’s day, like Guy Gardner’s, is bound to be ruined by a ring, as a BLACK band lights on Kyle’s finger, and commands him to rise!

Quick action by Munk, second in command of the Indigo Lanterns, keeps Kyle from rising as a Black Lantern Corpse, and he warns that they have a limited amount of time before the BLC tries again to get Kyle in their ranks.  Kilowog, Arisia, and the rest of the GLC leap into action to stave off the attacking black rings, while nearby another battle rages:  Sinestro Corpsman Kryb and Star Sapphire Miri fight over Kryb’s lost children, kidnapped babies now turned into Black Lanterns.  The pain of love lost calls to Miri, and she quickly teleports away, leaving Kryb to fight an enraged Guy Gardner.  In an sequence both awful and impressive, the possessed Guy RIPS OFF HER ARM, and begins forcing it down her own throat, the kind of thing that you don’t really see in comics anymore.  (At least, not since Lobo went dark…)  Miri’s call finds Soranik working desperately on Kyle’s corpse, and adds her power to the mix, declaring that Soranik and Kyle’s hearts will now be one!  A sudden cry of pain rings out, and Kyle’s fleeing power ring suddenly turns tail back to Oa, alighting on his finger, and speaking the magic words…  “Kyle Rayner of Planet Earth…  You have the ability to overcome great fear.  Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps!”  Patrick Gleason delivers a nicely iconic shot of Kyle, costume repaired, crab mask and all, smiling as his ring lights up, remarking, “Feels like I never left.  Kyle quickly rallies his comrades to stave of the black and retrieve Guy from the red, but all the Lanterns are a bit stunned to find the sky lighting up with emerald energy, as another Lantern comes to join the fight.  “I guess Mogog DOES socialize, after all,” says Kyle as the sky fills up.

The quick return of last issue’s lost soul doesn’t bother me a bit, actually, and the vehicle for that return (the power of the Star Sapphires) works to strengthen both Kyle and new kid Soranik’s character.  Guy’s turn to the red power is no surprise to anyone who has followed the character since his return from his coma 30-odd years ago, but it does illustrate one of the minor weaknesses of this issue.  From Guy’s fight with Kyle’s ring, to his possession by a red one, to Munk and Soranik barely fighting off a black ring, this issue more than any other of the Blackest Night crossover makes me feel like the weapons, the rings are more powerful than the characters who wield them.  I do like what the ring interactions reveal about the protagonists, but I’m bothered by the undertone that they’re just pawns in a battle between Colors of the Wind.  Mogo’s appearance at the end also raises questions for me, mostly regarding gravitational fields and the disruption therof, as well as how/why nobody noticed a planetary mass leaving Sector 2261 and traveling to Sector 0, a process that  presumably wasn’t instantaneous.  Still, the issue works as a whole for me, mostly on the strength of Guy and Kyle, as well as the efforts of Kryb, Miri and Soranik Natu.  Patrick Gleason busts out a fine twenty-odd pages of art here, with some gorgeous panels throughout (notably the arrival of the Red Lantern ring, and Mojo’s reveal) and Pete Tomasi does good work with a big canvas and a lot of players on the field.  Green Lantern Corps #43 adds texture and versimilitude to the Blackest Night as a whole, earning a not-unimpressive 3 out of 5 stars overall…  Even though last issue’s death scare didn’t take, the reasons and mechanisms why work for me in the long run.

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*Technically, that statement was true at the top of the review page…  As always, your mileage may vary. 

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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2 Comments

  1. December 21, 2009 at 9:29 am — Reply

    I really enjoyed this issue, mostly b/c of my awesome cameo at the end. Hey, did you know I’m twittering now? Yeah, baby, time to socialize! http://www.twitter.com/planetmogo

  2. ~wyntermute~
    December 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm — Reply

    Mogo, you are my 2nd favorite Lantern. (Nobody outranks THE Guy.) I just wanted to let you know that if you want to socialize, the Major Spoilers Faithful are here to hang with you! :D

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