With just three issues remaining in the series it was time for Tom Taylor to up his game and deliver on the initial promise that this title held. He obviously tried to do that with the use of some much needed twists and substantial character development but it was at the cost of other plot elements. The question is, could he do enough to overcome the negatives?
At the end of last month’s issue, Guy Gardener and several other Lanterns were attacked by the walking corpse that is Marniel and stripped of their rings. In this issue you get to see the aftermath of that encounter and whilst it does make for some enjoyable reading it is hard not to notice that Taylor missed a trick by not showing us exactly how Marniel overcame all of the Lanterns so easily. It is a small grumble but one that many fans will agree with.
The story begins with a very one sided reconciliation between Kilowog and Guy. It is one sided because, as the cover promised, Marniel has gagged Guy and finally cut off his steady stream of hot headed arrogance. It’s a short moment that finally gives Kilowog a shred of relatability and likability in this series. Up until now he hasn’t displayed enough personality, again falling victim to the bloated cast, and as such his contributions to the story have all felt overly hamstrung so it was with a sigh of relief that fans saw him be paid the proper attention.
Kilowog’s growth didn’t stop at a brief monologue either as he got to go toe to toe with Marniel in the scene below. What this showdown did was quite brilliant in that it didn’t highlight Kilowog’s much talked about strength but rather opted to give him a little humanity as he spoke to his foe and quickly realised that he and Marniel weren’t so different after all. These similarities also fed very nicely into the big reveal regarding Marniel which created a nice fluidity to the script that has been lacking in previous instalments.
With regards to Marniel, she was finally shown to be a deeply misunderstood character as the most telegraphed reveal of all time took place. You know Ausras and Dismas, the two overly creepy giants who definitely weren’t secretly villains? Turns out they’re villains. Here, have a minute to pick your jaws up off the floor. All joking aside this was handled in the best possible way as Xrill-Vrek uses her empathetic powers to see the true Marniel and then relay her life story to the other Lanterns. It is the perfect example of powers being used to their fullest effect within a narrative and bolstering a story rather than serving as a shiny distraction, hats off to Taylor for that one.
The twist also set up something far more interesting as the two separated factions of Lanterns now look set to do battle due to the giants insidious control over John Stewart’s group. Combine that with the impending death of the universe in which they currently find themselves and you have the makings for something explosive. Though Taylor cannot afford to ignore the search for a way home any longer.
On the subject of Taylor ignoring things that seemed fairly integral to the series, what happened to those other Lanterns that were making their way to Mogo last month? They were nowhere to be seen this time around. It’s almost as if someone realised they had too much going on for a six-part series, but that just couldn’t be. More than that thought was the previously mentioned fact that there was no progress on the search for a route home. You’d have thought that, since he was still free, John would have been looking for a viable option. For reasons best known to Taylor he not only wasn’t doing that but he also made zero attempt to rescue his friends who had been kidnapped. Not such a great leader after all. And that problem really is endemic in this book, ideas get picked up and dropped with no regard for common sense or continuity which makes it hard to become invested in this series.
It was disappointing to hear that Ethan Van Sciver would not be working on the internal art of this book but thankfully Aaron Kuder and Ardian Syaf did an admirable job of keeping the general look and feel of the comic the same. Nobody’s world will be set alight by their efforts but it does help for a series to retain that level of artistic continuity even with the departure of Ethan. Speaking of whom, his Rebirth title ‘Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps’ should be something to behold when it finally launches and it is the reason he was forced to move away from this series halfway through its run.
So yes, this a perfectly decent offering in a series that can best be described as middling. It is not going to go down in history as must read material, nor is it going to be remembered as the worst story either, it is simply going to be forgotten. That’s a shame considering what could have been done with a premise such as this but not everything can be ‘The Killing Joke’ and this certainly wasn’t.
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