Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Mark Irwin, and Tom Nguyen
Colourist: Tony Avina and Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Previously, in Green Lantern: The Guardians of the Universe have enacted their plan to eliminate the different coloured Lantern Corps; creatures made of Guardian flesh who have no free will, and can assimilate other beings into their ranks. This Third Army now marches across the universe unimpeded. Hal Jordan and Sinestro discovered the Guardians’ plan, but were sent into a dark dimension by Black Hand before they could do anything about it.
As a result of their apparent deaths, Jordan and Sinestro’s Green Lantern rings combined into one, and found a new bearer in the form of Simon Baz, a man on the run, falsely accused of terrorism. Baz is able to escape his government with the ring’s aid, but soon finds himself confronted by the Justice League who are investigating Jordan’s disappearance.
I opened this issue expecting a throwdown with the Justice League, like most people would, given the cover and the developments from last issue. Well, colour me surprised, since this issue goes in a completely different direction, covering a lot of plot in a single issue and keeping me hooked on both Simon Baz and the Third Army’s storylines at the same time, whilst mixing in a third for even greater effect.
There’ve only been a few times in recent memory that both Marvel and DC’s decision to drop to 20 story pages per issue have been noticeable. This issue is the total opposite of this, feeling as if there are in fact extra pages given the amount of story squeezed in here. The issue begins with the Guardians conversing over their current plan, as we see the Third Army progressing across the universe and the First Lantern causing problems for them, and ends with a look back at Black Hand in the Chamber of Shadows, before checking in with Hal Jordan and Sinestro in the dark dimension that they were trapped in way back in the Green Lantern Annual. These two scenes further both of the over-arching plotlines, introducing some new elements whilst not neglecting others that Johns has sown so far; I was fully expecting Black Hand to be forgotten whilst the Third Army crossover was going on, but this isn’t the case at all.
In between these two scenes, we follow our new protagonist Simon as he confronts the Justice League. This scene almost lulls you into a false sense of security as it looks like things might actually turn out for the best for a change. Of course, this doesn’t last long, and we end up with our superhero throwdown (almost). It’s a nice change of pace for things not to go the traditional misunderstanding/fight/team-up scenario, whilst still making sure that Baz’s presence is a part of the DC Universe despite being confined to this book for now. There’s also a healthy helping of humour in this scene which doesn’t feel out of place as the team try to deal with Baz’s situation (and he does too).
There’s also another smaller scene in this issue as Simon and his sister confront each other again and take the next logical step in their relationship given Simon’s new status as Green Lantern. There’s a bit of a flip in Sira’s approach to Simon, but given the time she’s had to process his predicament, it seems fair that she would now be a bit warmer towards him. Sira is the lead character in Simon’s supporting cast so far, and she’s definitely one that I hope sticks around for a while.
It’s still safe to say that the Third Army’s presence in this book feels like an add-on rather than the main plot line, but as I’ve said on previous installments of this storyline, Simon’s plot is definitely interesting enough that I’d be checking this book out even if it wasn’t for the Third Army banner. Taking your main protagonists out of the picture for a totally new character is a risky move, but Johns has handled it very well so far, and I expect he will only get better as Simon’s character reveals itself further over the next few issues. This series is hurtling forward with a lot of intertwining plots at the moment, and doesn’t look to be letting up any time soon.
GO Rating: 4/5