After a momentary look into John Stewart’s past, we return to the Corps’ present as they regroup on the surface of Mogo in the wake of Relic’s crusade against the spectrum warriors and the deaths of the original Guardians. Van Jensen, with Robert Venditti, has seized the reins on the Green Lantern book that was the most in need of new direction and a fresh voice and has been given both. I’ve often heard it said that John is the most “boring, underdeveloped” of the Lanterns by some comic fans, and I think that’s a pity because he fills a very necessary, interesting role: the builder and the destroyer. This is the man who saw no recourse but to destroy a corrupted Mogo, but is now tasked with rebuilding Oa (in addition to being a marine, Stewart is an architect) and if you want more from him, look no further than Geoff Johns’ superlative Green Lantern: Rebirth. John Stewart is the rock in the raging river of the Corps, and while the river might be more dynamic or interesting to watch, ultimately the rock ultimately stands out more.
Bernard Chang is back on linework and in absolutely top form as he draws the weird and wild characters that populate this book. We get a great B-story about about the war-starved Jruk needing to return home to settle a political dispute...which means battling in an arena as might literally equals right on his planet, but an enemy from Stewart and Yrra’s recent past rear their hideous, tentacled head and Chang captures every animated, fluid moment of it wonderfully. Marcelo Maiolo’s colors are, to put it mildly, gorgeous to behold. This is a book that absolutely thrives on the visuals, you can pick it up and be instantly entranced by them and part of that are the sharp, crisp colors that Maiolo brings to each and every panel.
There’s very little to dislike about this issue. The disparate storylines are juggled very well, we get to see John’s background as an architect come to the fore, and an old storyline gets some new payoff. If there’s anything worth pointing out, it’s that a few very legitimate complaints are sidelined, as they have been in other titles, without enough discussion. There’s nothing preventing a real, meaty debate on whether or not it’s moral to continue using the spectrum powers, or what Hal’s new declaration truly means for the other Corps, but a lot of it is tossed aside even though there isn’t anything more pressing to attend to at the moment, making it an ideal time to hash out details.
This is absolutely the sleeper hit of the Lantern books. Since it’s more focused on the Corps, with Stewart as the leader, we get a lot of new and very interesting characters as well as one of the most well earned romances in the DCU. I’m incredibly happy with how the Lantern recruits have come into their own in a very short amount of time and issues like this that bring their pasts and cultures into sharp focus are welcome additions to a cosmic series that is very human focused. I’m also always a fan of seeing Hal Jordan put into his place, so this issue is especially delightful.