The Secret of the Indigo Tribe is out!
Another late review but better late than never? Johns’ latest Green Lantern arc has teased answers to questions and mysteries about the Indigo Tribe. Will this issue deliver on these answers?
Hal escapes from the hands of the Indigo Tribe and discovers the Tribe’s Central Power Battery along with its guardian and some answers.
· Johns starts the issue well with an emotional exposition about Sinestro. We learn more about his relationship with Arin Sur, his thought processes behind his decision to take control of Korugar and his desire to keep Arin safe fatally backfiring. This experience brought about by the Indigo Tribe not only serves to progress the plot, making Sinestro into an Indigo Lantern, it allows the reader to learn more about Sinestro’s past and helps you feel for the character and the mistakes he’s made.
· For Hal fans, there’s plenty to smile about in this issue. Hal is productive and thinks cleverly on a world where he’s outnumbered, outgunned and not at full strength. Which is a trait Hal has been in sore need of in this comic. In the first arc he was overshadowed by Sinestro but now Hal is clawing his way back into the spotlight.
· Another thing I liked is that due to Hal’s siphoning energy from Black Hand, his ring’s power is now limited. Hence his constructs are far more elaborate and interesting. From Formula 1 cars to paragliders and even a quad bike construct, it’s a nice touch by Johns to vary things up for Hal in terms of his usual means of travelling.
· Although it’s only a page, we get a nice sense that the Guardians’ plan to bring about the Third Army are still looming on the horizon for Hal and Sinestro to face. Their new methodology is neatly showcased in the way they ruthlessly dispatch Starstorm from issue 6. If Johns wasn’t going to do anything with Starstorm then that’s fine by me.
· Of course the greatest thing about this issue is that Johns gives us more answers about the Indigo Tribe. And we get a new character to tell them for us: Natromo, the keeper of the Indigo Light. His appearance is reminiscent of Yoda which is Johns once again paying tribute to his Star Wars inspired take on the Green Lantern universe. At last we learn what Nok means (Compassion be with you) and Nok being the name of the Indigo Tribe’s planet. Nothing on the Indigo Tribe’s oath translation though.
· In addition to this, we learn that Nok was once ruled by invaders who enslaved Natromo’s people sending them to all parts of the galaxy until Abin Sur showed up and helped Natromo repel the invaders. The way the Indigo light was said to be found was an interesting twist as at first, the light was used to forge weapons, not rings and its compassionate effects were discovered this way.
· Another spoiler is we learn how Abin Sur is again implicated in the Tribe’s creation by bringing the worst sociopaths, psychopaths and murderers of the universe to Natromo where they would receive an Indigo ring that would quell these murderous urges. It adds a fitting twist to the most empathic Lanterns that their ranks would be filled by the worst beings in the universe. Johns skilfully makes the Tribe’s motivations for taking Black Hand at the end of Blackest Night very clear.
· Furthermore, Johns succeeds once again in creating powerful emotional connections with all the characters throughout the issue. Which is applicable to Abin Sur as well as we discover Indigo 1 was responsible for the murder of Abin’s daughter, making her connection with Abin all the more tragic.
· As for the final reveal, apparently Abin Sur knew the Guardians would end up betraying the Lanterns. Now I have this theory in my mind that Johns may expand on Abin Sur’s original demise maybe involving the Guardians? That would be such an awesome twist to the Green Lantern mythology.
· Finally the art is spectacular once again. Mankhe’s pencils skilfully capture the anguish on Sinestro’s face as he cradles the limp body of Arin Sur, the sadness in a Korugarian child’s eyes as they reveal a bomb strapped to their chest as well as making even a rain drop on Hal’s quad bike construct seem excellently rendered. Although there are a fair few inkers for this issue, the transition between them is far more subtle. This issue is full of deep purples, flashing emerald green and a harrowing orange explosion, all of which the inkers and colourists handle brilliantly.
· One problem with this issue is that it’s not really explained why Abin Sur was in the Indigo Tribe sector of space in the first place far away from his own sector. Surely there was another Lantern there already? And from the sounds of it in this issue, he was gone a while. Where were the repercussions of this action by the Guardians or questioning by Sinestro? This plothole is something Johns didn’t fill.
· Also, Natromo seems to jump the gun a bit in terms of destroying the Indigo Lantern because Abin Sur was dead. There are like thousands of other Green Lanterns who if mobilised properly could have taken the Indigo Rings to the Guardians and taken them down.
· Finally the cover doesn’t really have anything to do with the issue. Quite deceiving to see Hal and Sinestro drowning Black Hand’s madness (or black goo) only to read on and discover secrets of the Indigo Tribe. Not that fitting at all.
In conclusion, Johns marches on with another fine chapter in the Secret of the Indigo Tribe. Hopefully there will be more bombshells in the next issue!