Is this Black Hand? Or The Rot?
This week's Green Lantern Villain's Month issue features Black Hand - wielder of the Black Power Ring - as its main focus. As with all reviews, the following review may (or may not) contain spoilers. Be warned.
New Powers, or a mischaracterization?
One thing about this issue that I've been heavily thinking about is a possible new power introduced to Black Hand. During a scene where Black Hand's zombie army meets resistance from the Coast City Police, William Hand was able to feel a virus present in one of the police officers, and then was able to amplify it, killing the police officer in the process. While this power does fit in with the overall theme of Black Hand, it's not something we've seen him do before. In fact, such an ability has really only been seen with avatars of the Rot - Anton and Abigail Arcane from the Swamp Thing series. So has Charles Soule upgraded William Hands abilities to make him a more fearsome villain, or has the writer, who is the author for quite a number of books this week, including Swamp Thing #23.1, perhaps confused the power sets of two villains associated with death? Well, whatever the case, the powers do fit in with Black Hand's overall theme.
As for the rest of the story, there are some issues with how exactly Black Hand was able to get back to Earth since his last appearance in Geoff John's Green Lantern #20. Did the Indigo tribe show famed compassion for William Hand, and allow his remains to be sent back to his native planet to rest? Surely not. Were there more Black Rings on Earth after the one used by Hal Jordan, of which was originally Black Hand's, was destroyed? Perhaps. There are several continuity questions that need to be clarified - though they shouldn't be the centre of too much attention.
I must say, however, that I wondered how the new creative teams of the Green Lantern title would handle the villains after Geoff Johns conclusion. I was happy to see that William Hand has made his vendetta against Hal a lot more personal.
Initially, I wasn't a fan of Alberto Ponticelli's pencils, but after taking it in for a little while, I soon realized that it fit in with the overall deathly feel of the book, and now have come to like it in this issue. The same can be said of Landini's inking job.
Overall, I was satisfied with this issue. I didn't really want an origin story here, and was happy to see the issue tie-in somewhat to what's going on with Forever Evil. Some setbacks with this issue, but nothing too major for now.
Solid book, but nothing too outstanding.