Mann About the Racks: Green Lantern #24
As I have often described, it is quite difficult to recommend comic books to the new reader that are so entrenched in history. Green Lantern is one of those books but this may be the best time to see what our emerald heroes are all about. Up till this year there was one leading voice to the Green Lantern books, a man named Geoff Johns who finished years worth of stories. It left us with some irreversible changes but brought refreshing change and a brand new set of creators ready for action. The simplest definition of a Green Lantern is an intergalactic police officer, who has the ability to overcome evil with great willpower. This determination allows them to wield green rings of power that can form any construct. There are also other forms of power rings that take their energy from the user’s ability to use anger, hope, avarice (greed), compassion, love and fear. We join our heroes in the first issue of the Lights Out arc.
There is a new bad guy in town; well it’s more like a new bad guy in the universe! His name is Relic and we have spent the last few issues of the book building his story, as well as watching Hal Hordan take over a the new leader of the Green Lantern Corp. Given he is a cavalier risk taker, it is a role he is not accustomed to and he is met by close friends with ominous warnings. Hal has no fear when it comes to facing omnipotent foe but when he has to take charge of other recruits and organise his army, he struggles to think outside of himself. With the herald of a new adversary we watch as he learns to put the well being of the corps before himself.
Robert Venditti writes a great issue, as not only does he cover the personal insecurities of Hal Jordan, but also relates it to his friendships and ex-lover. It is almost a coming of age moment for Hal, who is slowly learning the consequences of great responsibility. The dialogue is suitability nervous and panic stricken as the plot develops rapidly and emphatically. I am really impressed at how his writing is not engrossed in history but he respects the rapports that have been built over the years. The Green Lantern Corps are aliens of all varieties and fight aliens of equal bizarreness, which means the artists have to be able to draw them as such. Billy Tan draws heroic central characters but suffers with making them over muscly, including our antagonist. Billy brings an excellent sense of perspective and the size of Relic really adds to his intimidation value. He brings intensity to his work with emphasis on the impact of the weapons employed in battle and the devastation from the explosions. Rob Hunter makes the book very colourful and bright, which is a basic staple of the Green Lanterns. His use of green shading incorporating yellow explosions is incredibly impressive and adds to the destruction seen in the issue.
Geoff Johns brought universe shattering arc after universe shattering arc to the Green Lanterns, and in his wake we have new teams wanting to leave their mark. It is an incredibly difficult challenge and often writers resort to more powerful bad guys and pointless deaths, but this arc is different. Venditti and his fellow writers have managed to develop a new villain who is surprisingly fresh. It is not so much the background of the villain but the reactions of our lanterns that keep it interesting. Even though the issue ends with a shocking twist, it feels important and I am intrigued as to how Hal will manage to save his corps. There is a lovely simplicity to the story, which makes it easy to read and empathise with. This is why I think this is a good jumping in point to the new reader, it is rare to find solid comic story telling especially with complex histories.
If you wish to read more about the Green Lanterns then just ask for Geoff Johns’ work, and start at the very beginning. I promise you, it will not disappoint.