Or – “I’m Starting To Think We’re Just Vamping Til The Movie…”
I prepared for this review by trying to remember what I could about Hal’s adventures since Blackest Night and I came to a pretty amazing conclusion… I can’t remember much of anything. With the adventures of the Green Lanterns spread out through this book, GLC, GL: Emerald Warriors, Brightest Day and such, I don’t exactly know what the status quo is for Mr. Jordan. I do know that last issue’s cliffhanger struck me exactly the wrong way, with the concept of a possessed Flash more ludicrous than scary, and I know I want more Dex-Starr. Let’s see what the Big Green Ladykiller is up to this time around, shall we?
Previously, on Green Lantern: After the power ring zombies went away, the various factions of the Rainbow Coalition retreated to their neutral corners of the galaxy, only to find that the embodiments of their emotional spectrums (Ion, Parallax, The Predator and the rest) were being stalked by a mysterious someone in dark robes, the better to capture all their power and rule. While we’re near the subject, though, isn’t it odd that the embodiment of the “Love” energy used by the Star Sapphires is given a living embodiment called the Predator? Add to that the creepiness of the earliest embodiment of the Predator (he tried to steal Carol Ferris from Hal, only to have the hero discover that Predator was in fact POSSESSING Carol, making her try and steal her own affections for some sort of nefarious and presumably carnal purpose) and you’ve got a clear message that the Star Sapphires love may not be all that it seems. I won’t even go into the thorny issue of why they dress her like the mutated offspring of a stripper and Princess Bubbleyum, because that horse has been well and truly beaten. Aaaaaanywaaaay, I hear that Barry is now possessed by Parallax! Dun dun DAAAH!
We open with a very real example of why super-speed is such a difficult power to work with. Barry Allen, his restraint removed by the fear entity, leaps into action and beats the living bajeezus out of Green Lantern in a two-page spread, punching him dozens, maybe HUNDREDS of times in the space of a few seconds. The downside comes in the coloring, as a bright red Barry, surrounded by a halo of yellow fear-flames is SOOOO hyper-saturated (at least on my copy) as to be garish and pretty off-putting. Hal barely even managest to stay upright, only getting a moment to breathe when the entity stops to taunt him. “Admit you’re AFRAID!” hissses Parallarry in super-evil fashion, but Hal quickly takes the opening to drag his friend into the skies. It’s not a bad strategy, I have to admit, as it keeps him from running, but it doesn’t keep him from summoning a speed force lightning bolt to strike Green Lantern out of the skies. (The explanation given is that Paralarry can now command the speed force in new and exciting ways, which is a pretty cool development that no one will ever follow up on… Giving the fastst man alive lightning powers would probably be overkill, anyway.) While all of that goes on, we get a brief moment of Sinestro and Atrocitus working together, with Sinny finding out that his daugher has been captured by the Weaponer of Qward (which, I think, took place in GLC or possibly Emerald Warriors last month.)
Hal taunts Parallax to leave Flash’s body and take him over again, just as the mysterious bandaged man returns, and grabs Parallax for his collection of glow-in-the-dark-Basil-Wolverton-dinosaur-drawings emotional spectrum entities. Hal confronts him, even mentioning that he looks “like a Guardian,” but the mysterious man snarls that he is most certainly NOT that. They fight a bit, and suddenly Indigo-1, Larfleeze, St. Walker and their retinue arrive, including Adara (the woman hosting the blue entity) and Proselyte (who is hosting the indigo light of compassion.) This proves to be a bad move, as the stranger pulls all THREE of the color-beings out of their hosts and chains them with his own light, and then makes short work of the other combatants (though Larfleeze gets in a couple of fun one-liners. He’s even more fun if you imagine him speaking with the voice of Pete Puma from the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.) Green Lantern asks who he is, and he rumbles “My identity is not secret.” He reveals that his bandages are ancient restorative techniques of the Guardians of Oa, and that he was thrown out for his curiousity years ago. (Uh oh.) “The renegade Guardian has returned. I am KRONA!” And this… is… SPARTA! And also: Houston? We have a problem.
I’m glad that we’re not going to sit through more time without revealing who the villain is, but I have to say I didn’t really feel like this was a huge whodunnit for me. Honestly, I didn’t expect the space-hood to be anyone we knew in the first place, which may mean that I’m not connecting to the story, or it may mean that the implication that I might want to guess who it is wasn’t clear. Given the sheer number of characters in what is ostensibly a solo book, most all of whom are brand-new, it’s not that far of a stretch to have assumed that Krona was going to be a new character as well. Doug Mahnke’s art in this issue is particularly ugly, but in a good way, delivering a warped and unpleasant looking Parallarry as well as a disgusting, vaguely decomposed version of Krona at the end. There’s nothing really wrong with the issue but, like the last several, I find myself regarding it with a detached sort of “Oh, all right. That was okay, I suppose.” I don’t even think this is entirely related to post-crossover-fatigue so much as the feeling that we’re going to have yet another examination of the seven layer dip of emotional power, a subject that has been mined pretty extensively of late. I recently dropped Green Lantern Corps after realizing that I couldn’t remember six whole months of story (Hank Henshaw was in it, though, so I might have tuned out) and I’m wavering about this title as well. All in all, the issue wasn’t bad, just somewhat fast-paced and inconsequential, even with the big reveal at the end. Geoff Johns is a good writer, Doug Mahnke & the inkers do good work, but something fails to gel for me with this issue. Green Lantern #60 is a book that just sort of happened for me, earning a not-bad-but-not-stellar 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. It’s not on the chopping block, by any means, but I hope that I can reconnect with the story soon…
Faithful Spoilerite Question of The Day: How do you respond when something doesn’t quite work for you, but you have trouble articulating why? And what works have given you that odd sense of ennui?