Overview

Green Lantern #51

Review

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Green Lantern #51

Credits

  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Doug Mahnke
  • Colors: Randy Mayor
  • Story Title: Parallax Rebirth: Part 2
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Feb 14, 2010

 

When we last left Hal Jordan and his New Guardians, the spectrum of Lanterns both new and veteran, they were protecting Coast City from a lumbering Black Lantern Spectre, God’s spirit of vengeance. Practically unstoppable, Hal sacrificed himself by absorbing the only thing the Spectre seems to fear: Parallax. A risky move, considering the last time he was possessed by Parallax he almost killed the entire Green Lantern Corps (save a few) and tried to destroy the DC Universe. It’s a dark time in Jordan’s life that we just don’t like to talk about.

In typical Geoff Johns fashion, he takes ideas and concepts that have been forcefully forgotten or considered failures and weaves them into the grander story, like a necessary puzzle piece. His true talent seems to lie in an uncanny ability to see a good idea in everything. We saw glimpses of it years ago during Green Lantern: Rebirth. He wiped the dust off a disgraced and thought to be power crazy Hal Jordan and made him a compelling, tragic character. These seeds, planted so long ago, give weight to Hal’s decision and credence to the palpable fear of everyone else involved. The decision also carries contextual gravitas due to all the entities involved.  

Hal was once the Spectre’s host, after Parallax (that Jordan gets around). A spiritual and physical tug of war between the Spectre, Parallax, and Jordan was something I didn’t realize I needed to see until I was reading it. In a way, Johns seems to be clearing out the toy box and making Hal revisit and experience all his failures, successes, and demons. It’s a testament to him as a character and reinforces his strength and deserving the role of Guardian. Hal is quickly turning into the DCU’s Spider-Man. Conflicted, beat on, impulsive but still manages to do the right thing and be a moral beacon. Superman is a bright boy scout and Batman’s the dark detective. Green Lantern is the everyman, fully relatable against such an operatic background. At its core, that’s why this whole event and series work. 

There are so many small things hidden in this issue, throwbacks to previous points in the Green Lantern series as well as moments and dialogue that feel like stepping stones in the story’s forward motion. The first page opens with Black Hand looking upon the carnage, holding out his palm to the black sludge everywhere and menacingly grinning. What’s with that? Character beat? Does he know something we don’t? No matter what, it can’t be good. It really is the smaller moments that make the big ones ring true. 

Doug Mahnke’s art is detailed, opulent, and appropriately creepy. He has a fine line that lends well to the macabre and sinister. Not to be pigeon holed, Mahnke’s heroics and action don’t miss a beat with compelling and insanely choreographed layouts. Some of the smaller panels seem rushed, but his overall style is still consistent. 

We were told that we can read Blackest Night proper and still follow the story, which is true. But, some of the ancillary titles have touched on or even fully explained some major plot points. Big things are happening in a good number of these books and the breadth of scope is felt when reading them in tandem.

If you’re just reading Blackest Night, then I’d strongly suggest giving Green Lantern a shot. Ideally, GL and Green Lantern Corps should be on your pull list if you like BN at all. As far as the other titles are concerned, Blackest Night: The Flash (which also came out this week) and The Atom & Hawkman #47 deal with some major developments for the conclusion of this event as well as the DCU will on the other side. Not coincidently, all but one of these connecting titles is written by Johns, who apparently doesn’t sleep.

There is a shared excitement in these pages, as if this story is breaking out of Mr. Johns and company, unwilling to be contained. You can tell he’s just as giddy about getting it to us as we are to see it conclude. It’s this sense of community that endears Johns and his stories to the industry. He writes what he would want to read. Considering Geoff is one of us… it’s practically tailor made.

 

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