I haven't heard what the general consensus on Simon Baz is but Geoff Johns has managed to immediately make me care about this new character. After seeing so many different Green Lanterns, including four others from Earth, Baz has a different story. By not being chosen through the regular conventional means, he is at a disadvantage and we get to see a new take on someone becoming a Lantern. Baz has been thrown into the fire. Not only has he been accused of being a terrorist, he'll also have the Guardians' Third Army to deal with. Not knowing how exactly the power ring works reminds me a little of the old TV show, The Greatest American Hero. Baz has an incredibly powerful weapon but doesn't know the full knowledge or instructions in how to use it.
Doug Mahnke's art is stellar as usual. He can convey so much even in scenes where Simon Baz isn't powered up. There is the potential for big action in these pages but Johns and Mahnke are also telling an important story. Seeing the fate of Baz unfold will keep you in suspense and each panel reminds you that this is not Hal Jordan. Simon Baz is well underway in being a completely separate character with his own identity. It's remarkable how each Earth Green Lantern can all have their own identities despite having the same abilities. The challenge is in making them each feel like an individual and Johns is clearly showing writing Baz's persona will not be a problem. I also really dig the cover. The close up shot is simple but it's such a great image.
There are other aspects to the issue as well. We do get more on the fate of Hal and Sinestro. They are both 'dead' and are now confronting a mysterious person with a connection to Sinestro. The Guardians of the Universe are still assembling their Third Army. This is actually an issue where I actually care about what's happening with them. For example, in last week's GREEN LANTERN CORPS, the parts with the Third Army felt forced. It might be a combination of their direct actions or perhaps Mahnke's art but they looked really creepy and left me wanting more.
Another great thing is the colors. Alex Sinclair always impresses. He has a distinct way of making the greens pop off the page as well as helps give Baz's costume a more unique look. As long as Johns, Mahnke and Sinclair are on an issue, we know it's going to be a treat.
Without a doubt, GREEN LANTERN remains my favorite Lantern title. I may be getting burnt out waiting for the Rise of the Third Army story to fully hit but this issue was great all around.
Simon Baz is quickly moving up in the ranks as being a great new addition to the Green Lantern universe. Geoff Johns has given us a new Lantern unlike the ones we've seen before. Seeing his story unfold is captivating enough that even the biggest Hal Jordan fans won't mind his taking over the spotlight. Hal and Sinestro haven't been forgotten and their fate is touched on here as well. Doug Mahnke and Alex Sinclair bring the pages to life with their art and colors. GREEN LANTERN remains at the top of my reading list each month.