queso6p4's Green Lantern #14 - Courage review

Where to next?

Green Lantern Vol 5 #14:

Green Lantern has been one of the more solid series that I’ve read since the reboot, both in terms of art and story. This issue continues to deliver on both fronts. I've changed the review format so that you can jump to whichever section you feel like reading rather than having to suffer through the usual onslaught of words. I'll also try to include more pictures to break things up a little more.

Background:

Just to help you catch up, two issues ago, we were introduced to a new Lantern, a Lebanese American named Simon Baz. Due to a combination of bad life experiences and bad choices, he eventually turns to a life of crime, car theft in particular. He steals a van, is chased by police, and in the process discovers that it is laden with explosives. In an attempt to minimize loss of life he drove it off towards an abandoned building where it detonates, harming no one. Naturally, given his ethnicity and what happened with the van, he is interrogated and about to be tortured when Sinestro’s (another favorite villain of mine) malfunctioning ring finds and springs him from jail. Given that the FBI is in charge of his investigation, they contact the Justice League for assistance.

His "pants" are officially crapped
Are they all sharing his smug look?

Plot Summary:

The meeting between Baz and the League is quite amicable at first as he obviously recognizes, fears, and respects them. He has no intention of fighting with them. After both parties feel each other out for a spell, Baz agrees to allow the League to disarm him. In a moment that hearkens back to Justice League #1 (Batman takes of Hal’s ring), Batman goes to take off the ring, but remember, it’s Sinestro’s. It reacts with defensive outrage in a moment that is beautifully rendered in the splash pages that I came to love in the 90’s.

I guess we're all entitled to our Larfleeze moments

This moment pushes their encounter considerably into the less friendly zone, and Baz decides he might as well run for it. Despite the League’s efforts, he shows a table-turning knack for creativity that allows him to escape them. After a personal moment that continues with a plot point from his introductory issue, the book continues with the overarching plot, namely the Guardians' attempt to eradicate free will from the universe.

Summary Judgement and Reasoning:

This issue is ambitious in that it tackles different angles that tie back into the aforementioned larger plot, and it does so in a way that is, for the most part, easy to follow. If you haven’t been following the series, the scenes that directly deal with Black Hand, another villain I respect, (click this for an awesome picture) or Hal and Sinestro probably aren’t going to make any sense to you, so this is not a good jumping on issue. It also reads more quickly than I’d like and I was left wanting more at the end, in a good way. This issue makes it seem that this series can only go up from here, given how things are coming together in a competent fashion here. This is especially impressive when you consider that the plot reaches into other series (e.g. Red Lanterns and Justice League) as well. If you have enough patience, and cash, I’d highly recommend picking up the previous issues but if you don’t there’s plenty on wikis that can catch you up more thoroughly. Final score: 4.25/5. Summary of score: despite solid writing, competent characterization, and gorgeous art, the plot points can be confusing. Naturally, this can considerably detract from the overall enjoyment and reading pace of the issue. Thank you all for reading!

Afterword:

On a side note, while reading this, particularly the part when the League confronts Baz, I couldn’t help but think of Green Lantern: Rebirth, and seeing Black Hand naturally brings back fond memories of Blackest Night. These nice tie-ins to older story arcs are a nice touch that those of you that have been along for the ride for a little while will appreciate. There's even a moment that I thought was pretty funny that I'm sure faithful readers will appreciate.

10 Comments
Posted by zackattack529

There is something about the way that Mahnke draws lips and mouths that bug me.

Posted by Queso6p4

@zackattack529: Uh oh. Now I'll have to go back and look at every single character's mouth. :) Thanks for that input, though. Do you know what it is that bugs you or is it that annoying general feeling thing that's hard to put into words?

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

This arc is reminding me a bit TOO much of Blackest Night, personally.

Posted by Queso6p4

@The Mighty Monarch: Fair enough. While I do like how it's tying back into that story, it could be confusing to new readers or just plain old feel tired.

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@Queso6p4: I like the direct ties back to Blackest Night; it's just that The Guardians have basically the same M.O. as Nekron did, peace in the galaxy by eliminating emotions, and the Third Army has essentially the same method as the Black Lanterns, everyone killed by them joins them.

Posted by Queso6p4

@The Mighty Monarch: *Nods* You make some good points. What would you rather have been done or in which direction would you like to see the G.L. mythos go?

Posted by The Mighty Monarch

@Queso6p4: Well I'd like to make Guy Gardner the main Green Lantern and take the ring away from Hal again.

No but seriously, overall Geoff Johns is still doing great things with the mythos, he's been crafting this huge epic for years, and it's always clear that he's not just writing to write, because there's still plenty of mysteries and connections: it's just that I wasn't expecting The Third Army to be a force meant to sweep the galaxy and turn it into a hive mind, I would've thought we'd get something that actually used the supposed lessons they learned from the Manhunters and Green Lantern Corps, and probably have them attack each Corps with small elite groups, each designed to be more effective against a specific Corps.

And that's not to say the Third Army is entirely bad, they actually take the opposite route of the Black Lanterns with eerie silence over targeted emotional taunting, and I'm curious what's up with the eyes after the latest Red Lanterns had Atrocitus point out an odd and cryptic observation. I'm sure overall this story will have a satisfying conclusion, and there's no way the end can be the same as Blackest Night; but there's a continuous underlying sense of familiarity in this arc that nudges at the back of my brain.

Posted by Queso6p4

@The Mighty Monarch: Good point with the Red Lanterns tie-in. That surprised me as Atrocitus doesn't seem all that bright most of the time, so I'm looking forward to seeing just how that little tidbit fits in with the larger story. Your point about the elite units would also be really cool to see.

Edited by ThomasElliot

@The Mighty Monarch said:

@Queso6p4: I like the direct ties back to Blackest Night; it's just that The Guardians have basically the same M.O. as Nekron did, peace in the galaxy by eliminating emotions, and the Third Army has essentially the same method as the Black Lanterns, everyone killed by them joins them.

Blackest Night couldn't have happened in the new 52 though... please believe me that I'm the first who tries to be reasonable about these things and was someone who tried to logically explain '5 years' at first, but there is NO WAY that within 5 years, Darkseid attacks not once, but twice, Batman dies, along with enough dead super-heroes to become Blackest Night zombies, only to be defeated, then Brightest Day, etc. Look at the conversation the gov't guys have in #13 where they talk as if they are still trying to figure out who Green Lanterns are. You mean there was a worldwide super-hero zombie apocalypse attack within the last 5 years and these people are still sitting around going, "these Green Lantern people... what are they again?"

Posted by Queso6p4

@ThomasElliot: I was afraid someone was gonna bring this up, but not in a bad way, if that makes sense.

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