Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Tom Nguyen, Mark Irwin and Doug Mahnke
Colourist: Tony Avina and Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Previously, in Green Lantern: After being kidnapped by the Indigo Tribe, Hal Jordan and Sinestro found themselves trapped on their homeworld of Nok. They discovered the origins behind the enigmatic compassion-fueled Lanterns—they were all murderers that had been given the Indigo ring to teach them how to feel compassion for those they had wronged. Despite being freed from the ring’s influence after a misunderstanding with the creator of the rings, Natromo, those who had been part of the Tribe volunteered to re-don the rings since the rehabilitation process had been partially successful.
Meanwhile, Black Hand, who had been taken captive by the Indigo Tribe after the Blackest Night, was also freed from his Indigo ring and did not want to take it back. Diving off a cliff, Hand killed himself once again and was resurrected by a Black Lantern ring, as he had been once before.
After the craziness of the Secrets of the Indigo Tribe storyline, this issue dials the action back in favour of wrapping up the plotlines from that story. It’s setting up a springboard for this Revenge of Black Hand storyline, rather than being a full-on Part One of the storyline. I’d be worried, but given that this storyline runs into issue #12 and the Annual which is released at the end of next month, there’s ample time for lots of exciting developments to occur. That’s not to say that nothing happens in this issue; it’s just not quite as high octane as the last few issues have been. We spend some time on Nok as Sinestro returns to normal before taking a trip down memory lane as Hal and Sinestro attempt to track down the newly escaped Black Hand, who has his own segments seeded throughout the issue back on Earth.
I’m sure that if I were a younger reader of comics, I’d be having nightmares at this point—Geoff Johns has taken a character that was basically a one-note daft villain, and transformed him into Hal Jordan’s arch nemesis (since Sinestro no longer really fills this role). To completely revitalize a character takes a lot of work, and Johns has certainly put it in here to change Black Hand into the creepy, cringe-inducing fiend that he is now. Given the impact of Blackest Night on the Green Lantern mythos, having the death-dealing Black Lantern back on the table is sure to evoke horrible memories for Hal and Sinestro, and it will almost certainly create an enjoyable storyline as the three characters face a head on collision next issue.
Speaking of the Green Lantern mythos, Johns continues to build it into an even richer tapestry than it has already become with this issue. By reintroducing Black Hand, the prophetic Book of the Black also makes a reappearance too, promising the next year or so of storylines as it has done in the past. It’s only one page, but there are a lot of images to take in, and likely some hidden meanings that will only come to light once the events depicted have taken place. This in-story teaser page is something Johns has used before to great effect, and I’m a big fan of it, and it only makes me look forward to the next storylines even more.
Doug Mahnke, who was the artist the last time we had a Black Hand centric storyline in this title, reminds us why that was so this issue. Black Hand looks slimy, decaying, and utterly repulsive, but still human enough to not appear like a zombie, or some other less powerful imagery. The army of inkers and colourists on his work still doesn’t seem to be a bother, with great synergy between the pages of the book so that you’d never notice who did what.
This is a slower issue than the past few, but that doesn’t detract from the ongoing storyline here. As we move from one arc to the next, we’re bound to lose just a little momentum as Johns moves his players across his chessboard, but there’s still enough in this issue to keep the reader’s interest. With promises of yet another great arc (and even glimpses of future storylines too), the Revenge of Black Hand is off to a disturbing start—in a good way, of course.
GO Rating: 3/5