War of the Green Lanterns!
And so I arrive at Geoff Johns’ final Green Lantern stories before DSC’s big “New 52” relaunch! My previous reviews of Mr. Johns’ Green Lantern stories can be found by following these links: Green Lantern: Rebirth, The Sinestro Corps War, Secret Origin and the prelude to Blackest Night, and the Blackest Night event.
Green Lantern: Brightest Day — Another brilliant story-title from Mr. Johns, it seems perfect that the Blackest Night story should be followed by a story-line entitled Brightest Day. Very clever. I thought for sure this would be a letdown after the huge, epic Blackest Night, but it was anything but. Unbelievably, I found Green Lantern: Brightest Day to be even more engaging! Mr. Johns has completely exploded the Green Lantern universe, and I was thrilled to see that all of the multi-colored corps’ standard-bearers (Atrocitus, Larfleeze, Carol Ferris, Saint Walker, Indigo-1, and Sinestro) continue to be in center stage. These characters haven’t been forgotten or quickly brushed aside by Mr. Johns so he could return Green Lantern to the status quo. No, Mr. Johns has embraced the complexity of these characters and the saga he has been weaving. I loved watching these characters bounce off of one another in Green Lantern: Blackest Night, and they are all even more fun here. I love these multi-colored characters!! Mr. Johns has created a rich tapestry, and I love seeing him continue to peel back the layers of this universe. As I’d suspected from the end of Green Lantern: Blackest Night, in this story Mr. Johns has focused on the revelation that each one of the corps has an “entity” that embodies and manifests the emotions and power tied to their specific color/corps. It’s a very clever, logical idea — like so many of Mr. Johns’ Green Lantern stories, it feels like a perfect, supremely logical idea that is obvious in all the best ways. I also loved seeing Hector Hammond again. Things really go crazy in this volume (this is NOT AT ALL a lull after the events of Blackest Night), and the volume ends on a terrific cliffhanger. Spectacular story-telling, deliciously enhanced by Doug Mahnke’s incredibly detailed, evocative artwork. (I’m thrilled that, after Green Lantern: Darkest Night, Mr. Mahnke stayed on as the series’ artist!)
Green Lantern: War of the Green Lanterns — Through Blackest Night and then Brightest Day, I felt that Geoff Johns has been ratcheting the tension and the scale of his saga up and up and up. Sadly, here in War of the Green Lanterns (Mr. Johns’ final GL story-line before the “New 52” universe-wide relaunch), I felt he stumbled. With the title War of the Green Lanterns, I thought that Hal’s alliance with the other-colored Lanterns would turn the other Green Lanterns against him. That’s a great set-up, and feels like the perfectly sensible culmination to the series’ recent story-lines. But it turns out that in this volume, the reason all the Green Lanterns turn against Hal is because they’re being mind-controlled by the renegade Guardian Krona. Ugh, I hate mind-control stories. I hate fake-conflict caused by characters who aren’t in control of their actions — I just find that to be totally boring. Particularly since Mr. Johns’ previous stories had so cleverly set-up a potential schism between Hal Jordan and his fellow Green Lanterns, I’m disappointed that Mr. Johns went the mind-control route. (Though I will say it was cool to see Krona, who was such an important figure in previous epic DC stories, including Crisis on Infinite Earths, brought back into the modern GL stories.)
War of the Green Lanterns: Aftermath — Sadly, this collection was another disappointment for me. Though the super-cool color by Dave Johnson promised greatness, this turned out to be a not-that-compelling series of stories set after the War of the Green Lanterns cross-over. Rather than being a unified story, this is more like a random collection of tales from the final issues of the pre-“New 52” relaunch Green Lantern titles (Green Lantern Corps and Emerald Warriors). Some of the stories do deal with the aftermath of the War of the Green Lanterns, while others don’t. None of these were written by Geoff Johns. I’d give a pass to this one.
OK, so I was a bit bummed that these Green Lantern stories petered out with more of a whimper than a big bang, but still, over-all I have been absolutely delighted by Geoff Johns’ years-long, epic Green Lantern saga. It’s been a blast catching up with these great stories! And I am happy that the somewhat-disappointing War of the Green Lantern story isn’t actually the end of Geoff Johns’ GL stories. Mr. Johns continued writing Green Lantern after the “New 52” relaunch, and those stories picked up pretty much right where War of the Green Lantern left off. I’ll be back soon with my thoughts on those “New 52” Green Lantern adventures…!