Just what is the 'shocking secret' of the Indigo Tribe?
After the OK filler of last issue, hopefully Johns’ next arc will be more impressive. The enigmatic Indigo Tribe are in the spotlight now and Johns has me interested already.
Sinestro returns to recruit Hal in his latest crusade to counter the Guardian’s replacement scheme but Hal’s having none of it! Then the Indigo tribe show up! Just what is their motive?
· It’s great to see that Johns is finally dishing the dirt on the Indigo Tribe. We’ve had cryptic references to Abin Sur and the fact they show up as the antagonists in this storyline as opposed to allies demonstrate that the Indigo Tribe may not be compassionate after all. Seeing Black Hand in their ranks has given me a theory as to the true nature of the Indigo Tribe but I won’t spoil that for you. In any instance, Black Hand’s presence gives a foreshadowing for dark times ahead in Green Lantern.
· Once again, the highlight of this issue is Hal and Sinestro’s relationship. Johns handles these two characters exceptionally well. Hal’s stubborn opinionated arrogance plays off well against the cool, controlling Sinestro who does anything to get what he desires. Including pulling a construct gun on a ‘not decent’ Carol Ferris. The antagonistic history these characters have with one another makes it enjoyable to see the tense encounter between these two characters unfold. Johns also gives Sinestro a good reason for wanting to recruit Hal which is despite the enmity, Sinestro does have respect for Hal and vice versa (thought neither would say it) Thus Sinestro is willing to defy the Guardians law to recruit Hal back into the Corps.
· There’s plenty of short sweet action throughout the issue. Hal and Sinestro’s brief physical struggle highlights the tension between these two and plays out into the action brilliantly. As well as this brief scrap, the Indigo Tribe show up to provide more action. It was pretty cool seeing Sinestro managing to just about hold his own against a half dozen tribe members, demonstrating his skill with the ring. And the fact Indigo 1 turned on Hal in order to secure Sinestro was a neat twist. There wasn’t that much action but it balanced well with the rest of the story which means that the action didn’t need to be at the blockbuster level of Justice League.
· Another neat plot point was seeing Carol wielding the Star Sapphire ring again. Unlike Hal, she isn’t obsessed with the ring and only uses it as a last resort to assist Hal against the Indigo Tribe. Despite her damsel in distress status, Carol did get a quick one liner in regarding Hal’s status on “never working for anyone ever again”. Hopefully Carol will play a prominent role in future issues in this arc.
· Furthermore, the activities of the Guardians made for some interesting reading. Given the obvious Star Wars reflections in Green Lantern, it was intriguing to see the DC Comics ‘Jedi Council’ turning to the Dark Side a few issues back and deciding that it was time to replace the Green Lantern Corps. This direction actually makes sense as when the Manhunters malfunctioned, the Guardians replaced them with the Green Lantern Corps. Now that the Corps is showing problems, it’s logical for the Guardians to replace them with what they deem to be a superior peace keeping force. Although their methods are becoming more repressive and lethal. Lyssa Drak was almost their first victim. The interrogation also brings up questions of who the First Lantern is and just what the Guardians have in mind for their ‘Third Army’
· The art is excellent as always, perhaps even better than usual. There are fewer inkers so the transition is less noticeable. As such this keeps the inks and colours consistently vibrant. And Manhke’s pencils are as unique as always. The twitches in character’s faces are nailed brilliantly which makes Mankhe along with Ivan Reis one of the definitive Green Lantern artists IMO.
· Finally the main cover is clad with vivid imagery, particularly Hal and Sinestro in chains along with the looming faces of the Indigo Tribe. It acts as a great image to pull readers in to discover the secrets of the Indigo Tribe.
· If there’s one bad thing about this issue, it’s that aside from Indigo 1, Black Hand and Munk (who doesn’t appear presumably due to his presence in the New Guardians) none of the other Indigo tribe members have been characterised. Hopefully Johns gives the Tribe members a few voices like he did with the Sinestro Corps in the first arc.
· Also this issue isn’t very reader friendly. In fact this series in general. Aside from the Batman family, Green Lantern is the only franchise which the New 52 has not really affected. Johns’ first arc followed directly on from the last story’s events and hasn’t provided clarity on issues that without reading the issues prior to the reboot wouldn’t make sense to a new reader. Of course I understand these plot points but a new reader may not. Green Lantern doesn’t fit what the reboot is trying to achieve.
Still, despite this, Green Lantern is a brilliant read. Johns returns to form with the start of the Indigo Tribe storyline and hopefully this quality is maintained in future issues.