A Beautiful Indigo Phoenix Doesn't Fully Soar
This issue, is a split bag for me. This arc was definitely rushed at the end here. It begins with the destruction of the Ingdigo Lantern, and ends with the reconstruction of it. It felt very pointless for the most part. But there's three big things it facilitated.
The first, is an INTENSELY unique sense of questionable morality. As a freshly freed Sinestro declares he'll murder the Indigo Lanterns for brainwashing him. The Indigo Lanterns who were previously as brainwashed as they tried to make him. Yet the freed Indigo Lanterns are all heinous criminals. Who is truly in the right or the wrong in this situation? I honestly sat back and had to stop and think about whether or not it was justified for Sinestro. And even as the issue went on, it left me wondering whether the spirit of the Indigo Tribe was just.
The second thing, is that Iroque, and the Indigo Tribe as a concept, undergo some nice character development. Last time we saw Iroque without her ring, she was a raving madwoman seething with anger towards Abin Sur. But now she's been Indigo long enough that she's actually SEEN compassion, it wasn't completely forced on her, she was shown the light and found her own redemption. But there is a problem in here. I've talked a lot about the Phoenix Effect that has been transforming several of the Lantern Corps, and it seems odd that Geoff Johns, the main architect behind the Emotional Specturm, is the one handling this idea the poorest thus far. Natromo's concerned about the difficulty reforging the Central Indigo Battery because they lost the pure source of Compassion, and they only managed to restart it with the spark Iroque provided. The spark that she wouldn't have had in the first place had it not been for the ring. It's almost a step BACKWARDS. Not to mention that just because she was shown compassion doesn't mean it isn't still brainwashing to an extent. Why is the representation of pure compassion in the universe a bunch of brainwashed psychos? Sure they NEED compassion more, but should it be the truly compassionate to show them the way? And what about the Star Sapphires? Are they any better or worse they way brainwash Sinestro Corpsmen?
But finally, even though if you've been reading the solicits this will come as no surprise, the whole scene was still super tense and epic and a tad bit unexpected in execution; Black Hand is BACK. For longtime readers, this will come as an intriguing delight, or a groan in fear of potential rehashing. It's a little too soon to call it, but my first instinct was a positive one. Though this also demonstrates another point, this series is NOT for new readers. It's hard for me to REALLY criticize it on this point, since I was terrified we'd lose what Johns has spent over half a decade building, but it does kind of linger there. New readers are going to be completely lost, at least for now, on why that whole scene with Black Hand went down the way it did.
Other than these three main points, there's some excellent duality between Hal and Sinestro, and also the idea of living in Abin Sur's shadow. Abin Sur is a fallen hero, and it always feels hard to live up to someone who you only know as a figure respected on a pedestal. But that doesn't mean you don't try, that NOBODY else can be as good, a great enough fallen hero has this extra spark of respect tagged on by their lack of presence. And as I was saying before, Hal and Sinestro, thick headed egos fighting to be the worthy replacement for 'big brother Abin Sur,' both finally begin to admit how similar they are, and how much they really have to learn from each other. It was super heartwarming to see Sinestro admit he was wrong and begin to fight the Hal Jordan way. Though the beginning of that scene was a bit rushed.
In Conclusion: 4/5
This issue's kind of a shame. The plot elements and emotional moments are EXTREMELY excellent, almost worthy of a 5/5, completely blowing me away... but the pacing was very rushed, this arc could've used another issue or two to really work right, provide a genuine sense of tension about the destruction of the Indigo Battery rather than being able to fix it almost as soon as it was broken.