Writer: GEOFF JOHNS
Art and Cover: DOUG MAHNKE and CHRISTIAN ALAMY
Hal Jordans life has hit the skids since the Guardians of the Galaxy revoked his ring and left him powerless back in his ordinary mess of a life. When Sinestro, former Yellow Lantern Leader, current Green Lantern Bearer, and Jordan’s one time arch nemesis shows up offering him a shot at redemption, Jordan’s only too eager. But what’s the catch.
There’s no point denying the obvious; Geoff John’s has probably re-invented the DCU. In this issue he shows us why he’s a scribing wunderkind by delivering a tight little plot with some great characterisation and real razzle dazzle action set pieces.
To my mind Geoff Johns is to Comics what John McTiernan once was to action movies. The guy that goes in, blasts out a nice tightly cut edit with some great character interplay and snappy one liners and hence delivers you some absolutely fantastic entertainment.
The scenes between Jordan and Sinestro are like watching Alan Rickman and Bruce Willis in Die Hard. Sinestro is cool, aloof and vastly more intelligent. Jordan is short sighted, moralistic and bullheaded. Their interplay is electirc and Sinestro really gets to air his frustrations with Jordan in a fashion that gives him incredible depth and avoids writing him off all to simply as a run of the mill evil bastard.
The action is awesomeley rendered by Doug Mahnke, an old favourite of mine since his early days on the Mask and later as an action packer supremo on JLA. In fact it would be easy to give this issue too much credit on the impressive artwork alone. Manhke’s style is clean and well defined. His figures are distinct from the usual overly muscled stereotyping and every character is uniquely portrayed defying the one face fits all tendencies of some pencillers. So the art is superb, but really this is just a brilliantly written and easily accessible Green Lantern tale from a master craftsman.
The story could have picked up right after the film, never mind the pre DCnU War of the Lanterns, and the action when it happens, is visceral, potent and better establishes the characters. Nothing is wasted, the plot is nicely paced and Sinestro has a good opportunity to shine as opposed to having his thunder stolen away by the bullish overbearing Jordan.
And speaking of Jordan, good old Hal is faced with a real Devils cross-roads in dealing with Sinestros offer. He can have a ring, but at what cost? Suffering Sinestro’s lessons are a particularly bitter pill, and it’s utterly entertaining as we’re made to watch him Squirm. It’s to John’s credit that he’s left us wondering just how the Hell Hal’s going to work his way out of this one.
And while you may like Hal Jordan and feel real empathy for him, Johns has definitely crafted a layered villain in Sinestro. Because he’s not just evil, he’s a futurist come fascist. And while his methods are extreme at times your still forced to see he has a point. Sinestro is willing to cross the line to see his better world realised, while Jordan is his necessary regulator.
And in the end we’re left to ponder that it’s perhaps Jordans lack of vision that utlimately makes him more moral, his recklessness that gives him the edge. His esoteric nemesis is morally removed by his intellect, and has a dictatorial tendency from his desire to do what he believes to be right. It’s good cop/bad cop done with superhero sci-fi and it just doesn’t get any better. I can’t wait to see where this buddy up takes us next, and after the issue cliffhanger I have a feeling it’s about to get better.
In short: Easy to read, action packed, well paced and great character work.