Last month we saw Simon Baz face off against Black Hand. This resulted in Baz being sent to the Dead Zone. What we get is the first meeting between Baz and Hal Jordan and Sinestro. Baz continues to be the guy from the outside looking in. It's so refreshing to see a new character possessing an enormous amount of power and not immediately become an expert with it. Baz is still a major rookie. Despite some of the incredible things he's been able to do, he's still at the mercy of his inexperience. When he meets up with Hal and Sinestro, he has to rely on his instincts. That just further shows what he's made of and why he's a cool character. Seeing Simon use a certain accessory was great.
The verdict is still out on this Wrath of the First Lantern story. It does feel it's come too soon as its spawned directly out of Rise of the Third Army. This issue is different from last month's crossovers in all the GREEN LANTERN titles. The main reason is we have more of a focus on the characters we care about -- Hal, Simon and Sinestro. The First Lantern doesn't have a major presence here as he's busy with Kyle and Guy in their titles.
As the story progresses, you get an idea where things have to go. That doesn't mean the story is predictable but more so about the fact that we've seen premonitions from time to time in this series from the Book of the Black. You'll be on the edge of your seat as you wait for the possibilities.
The art in this issue is by Szymon Kudranski. We've grown accustomed and expect to see Doug Mahnke's art but because the issue is centered in the Dead Zone, Kudranski's art fits nicely. You can get a sense of the dreariness of where they're at. You feel as if you want to see the world explored further yet part of you doesn't want to see what might lie beyond the shadows. The way Hal and Sinestro looks is pretty cool. Issues with fill in artists can be discouraging but this is a situation where it works out just right.
As the excitement builds in the story, there is also a sense that not a whole lot of action is taking place. It makes sense that we'd need to see some serious conversation as Simon Baz gets up to speed with what's going on in his new surrounding and his first meeting with Hal and Sinestro. I can understand and appreciate the grave nature and threat of the First Lantern but I'm not too interested in him. We're going from the major threat of the Guardians to the major threat of the First Lantern. Rise of the Third Army felt it went on too long but abruptly ended as this arc began. Knowing that Geoff Johns' run is near its end makes me not want to see an issue where the characters have to stand around talking to catch up on recent events.
We finally get the first meeting of Simon Baz and Hal Jordan (and Sinestro). Unfortunately it means he's 'dead.' You can feel we're on the precipice for Simon and Hal's future as its unknown how they can move forward in their given situation. Looking back at Geoff Johns' recent issues and the seeds and hints he's planted, the anticipation continues to build as you turn each page. As a Wrath of the First Lantern story, because it focuses more on Hal, Simon and Sinestro, we don't get the elements that I personally didn't care for in last month's GREEN LANTERN titles. The art is by Szymon Kudranski, which is a nice fit since the characters are in the Dead Zone. Kudranski does a great job depicting the mood and setting for the issue. Because we have the first meeting between Baz and the others, there is a bit more talking and less action. It could just be we've been getting spoiled lately. There is a cliffhanger at the end (no pun intended). Next issue is going to be spectacular.