Green Lantern #62

Green Lantern 62

C+

“The New Guardians” arc which has been running through Green Lantern for roughly the past year concludes in today’s issue. Though I found that the overarching story had some really strong points, generally I thought that writer Geoff Johns relied too much on his usual tricks to turn in a truly satisfying narrative. The notion of making Green Lantern into a team book starring the leaders of each corps really appealed to me, but a few too many possessions at the hands of rogue entities (three or four at least?) and needless fights between superheroes damaged what could’ve been a classic run.

In Green Lantern #62, Hal and the rest of the new Guardians come face-to-face with Krona, the outcast scientist who’s been kidnapping all the lantern entities for his own twisted ends. They duke it out for awhile but prove unable to put an end to Krona’s mischief, and it takes an intervention from the Justice League of America to save Hal’s life.

Today’s issue illustrates one of my above-mentioned problems perfectly. It’s great to have Hal reconnect with the Justice League after hanging out with his space buddies so long, but within three panels they immediately turn to snapping at each other like wound-up toys. That’s kind of a hallmark of Johns’ writing; he tries to wring all the emotion he can out of every scene by having characters emote far too obviously. Sometimes it’s okay (especially in a series ostensibly about emotion, as Green Lantern is) but when you’re got a gathering of four guys — Hal, Barry, Clark and Bruce — who ought to at least respect each other, that kind of writing definitely channels the negative stereotype that superhero comics are soap operas for boys.

Art-wise, though, the last few years of Green Lantern has few peers. Penciller Doug Mahnke consistently proves himself to be a unique and incredible talent, and it’s nice to see him revisit the Justice League, whom he drew for several years during Joe Kelly‘s tenure on the title. And Mahnke’s not the only star here. In a book like Green Lantern, where color comes to the forefront, the colorist has a more important job than many probably realize, and Randy Mayor really makes this book shine. Is it too early to talk Eisner and Harvey nominations?

I wouldn’t say that the last year-and-change on Green Lantern has been bad; overall, I found it an enjoyable read that kept me buying a title I normally wouldn’t. However, I think a lot of opportunities were missed here to really develop the Green Lantern universe (typically one of Geoff Johns’ strengths). With the pending “War of the Lanterns” crossover that bleeds into Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, I will probably be dropping this book in order to not have to buy two more. When the dust settles, if Johns and Mahnke still anchor this book, I’ll come back to check it out. Right now it’s hard for me to imagine a more ideal team on Green Lantern, honestly. I think it’s the high hopes I have for them that’ve led to some disappointment in their execution.

tags: doug mahnke, geoff johns, green lantern

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