The last moments of the war with the Durlans became extremely personal for John Stewart and gave us quite the twist: they’d replaced his love Fatality at some point and been spying on the Corps from within. After its plans of becoming an unstoppable Daxamite succeeded, she was still brought low by a last-ditch gamble of the Corps and imprisoned on Mogo. Now Stewart tries to find out where the real Fatality is, but in finding her, he may have found more than he bargained for. This was actually an incredibly shocking issue, even moreso than when the initial twist was revealed, and it goes in a completely different direction than I expected it to. I give Va(aaaaaaa)n Jensen all the credit in the world for giving us a turn on the “damsel in distress” trope, particularly when she encounters her rescuer. It’s truly heart-wrenching, particularly for a character I’ve become so fond of over the last year (in both their cases, actually).
Bernard Chang’s visual style is exaggerated and filled with wild bombast, and it’s perfect for a hyper-emotional story like the one this issue tells. Anger, agony, determination all rampage across every panel, making a relatively short and compact story still have emotional resonance. The action is rare in this issue, a great deal of it occurring off or between-panels, but the issue never feels disjointed or disconnected, even if it doesn’t have a particularly smooth flow. Marcelo Maiolo’s colors are as deep, rich and dark as ever, perfectly establishing and setting the tone for this dour issue. The red-and-white panels also return at moments of drama and violence, but this time they’re intercut with white-and-pink panels that completely redress and recast previous moments in Stewart and Yssa’s life together over the last several issues, and even further back, making the tragedy even greater and the emotions ring fuller.
As happy as I am to see an issue focus primarily on John Stewart, I have a hard time getting too excited as we’re about to enter into still ANOTHER Green Lantern crossover battle in two months, meaning that he can’t get too far away nor begin any significant stories without interruption and, frankly, I miss the Green Lantern recruits. It looked like they might have been replaced by a cast of sciencell prisoners who were conscripted when the Lanterns’ numbers were running low, and they needed some specialists, but most of them have left as well. It’s not a trend I’m happy with: characters are introduced, they’re developed amazingly well and economically, and then they either leave or are relegated to the background. As much as I enjoy this book, I feel like it’s full of untapped potential.
Jensen, Chang and Maiolo are all talented enough to keep me reading this book to see what happens next, even if I’m not thrilled about the direction that it’s going, and this issue stands as a great one-shot and a decent jumping-on point. There are still unanswered threads, Von Daggle aims to tie at least one of them up, and while another crossover may be the last thing I want to see at this point from the GL Universe, I can’t deny that this creative team will make it interesting and enthralling to read. And until then, it’s great to see some development and intimacy with Stewart’s character.