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.
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.
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.
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!
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.