Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencillers: Renato Guedes and Jim Calafiore
Colourists: Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Previously, in Green Lantern: After an escapade across the planet of the Indigo Tribe, Hal Jordan and Sinestro accidentally released the murderous Black Hand from the control of the Tribe. Hand killed himself and was resurrected by the power of the Black Lanterns once again, as he had been in the past as a precursor to the Blackest Night, a time of universal calamity.
Sinestro and Hal turned to the Book of the Black, the magical book full of prophecies that the Black Lanterns used during their last invasion. It transported them across the universe to Earth, where Black Hand had resurrected his family for his own twisted desires. Now Hal and Sinestro find themselves at the mercy of Black Hand, and he is out for revenge.
Wow. When did this buddy cop adventure series become a horror book? Oh yeah, back when the dead were rising the last time. Geoff Johns knows how to go from one extreme to another, and this issue definitely illustrates that as Hal and Sinestro battle Black Hand and his hordes of zombie minions, whilst revelations galore appear across the universe, from the Guardians to the Book of the Black itself, all the while seeding some more mysteries to be answered (who wrote the Books of Light?) and making me want the next issue right away. So business as usual then.
Continuing his adept characterization of Sinestro, Johns uses this issue to continue his development in the hero direction, with Sinestro sacrificing something that ties him to his old life as the head of the Sinestro Corps, as well as overcompensating for having to rely on Hal in the previous arc more than he would have liked. Sinestro is obviously a favourite character of Johns’, and the journey he has gone on from moustache twiddling villain to almost-hero again is still great fun to behold and continually surprising.
Speaking of surprising, there are some great, fun pages in this issue, such as a double page spread that made my jaw drop, and some evil little hints from the Guardians as to the fate of the Green Lantern Corps once the Third Army makes itself known. Johns continues to keep the reader on their toes whilst delivering high octane action, teasers for future issues, and moments that will just make you go “Huh?!” as you read. It’s a great balancing act, and whilst he may have failed to do so in other books such as Justice League (at least for me), Green Lantern continues to be Johns’ baby at DC, and he continues to nail every note in the way you’d hope.
Doug Mahnke and friends take a breather this issue, instead allowing Renato Guedes and Jim Calafiore to step in for a fill-in. Their styles do not mesh very well together, there’s no avoiding this, but the effect that the pair have is undeniable. Guedes’ almost insubstantial style gives the zombies and Black Hand an even eerier quality than they would usually have, whilst Calafiore’s more solid style works fantastically for the grounded-in-reality part of the issue when Hal and Sinestro do their best to defeat them. The change from one style to the next is jarring, especially since it changes backwards and forwards twice, but the two artists work wonderfully on the book; it’s just a shame that one or the other couldn’t have done all 20 pages instead of having to share.
Green Lantern’s story continues into the Green Lantern Annual in 2 weeks time, thankfully, because the cliffhanger in this issue is enough to make anyone want to pick up their jaw from the floor. Where we go from here remains to be seen, but I’ll be following the series with baited breath, as usual. As I’ve said a few times, the first arc of the New 52 Green Lantern wasn’t very invigorating for me personally, but from the Indigo Tribe arc to this Black Hand arc, Green Lantern is soaring high once again. Well done Johns and team.
GO Rating: 4.5/5