Green Lantern #56


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Green Lantern #56


  • Words: Geoff Johns
  • Art: Doug Mahnke, Art Germ (variant cover)
  • Inks: Christian Alamy, Tom Nguyen, Keith Champagne, & Doug Mahnke
  • Colors: Randy Mayor, Gabe ElTaeb, & Carrie Strachan
  • Story Title: "The New Guardians Chapter Four"
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jul 28, 2010

Although Geoff Johns' latest Green Lantern #56 is another well-written and superbly executed narrative, some may wonder if the continuation of characters and themes first introduced over two years ago has run its course with some audiences.   Judging by sales, readers obviously still want to see the various Lantern spectrums even in this post-Blackest Night universe.   Yet, the threat of Lantern burnout still lingers.  Johns has successfully provided fans with intriguing and insightful two or three issue arcs that explore either the Red energy (Atrocitus and Dex Starr) or the Orange light within Green Lantern #56.  Some fans may even champion the reemergence of Hector Hammond as a focal point in this latest installment; however, others may ask if linking every aspect of the Green Lantern's character history into this larger theme of the light spectrum is absolutely necessary.

The return of Hector Hammond is a welcome one as Johns' expansion and redefinition of the character has definitely been neglected and only sporadically dealt with since the series' relaunch in 2005.  While Johns has provided hints and brief instances of the character over the course of the series, these have primarily been teases within the larger wars of light concepts.  Green Lantern #56 still has the trademark Johns humor and wit expressed through Hal Jordan in his interactions with a local police officer and later Larfleeze.  And, Larfleeze's insatiable greed as a platform for Johns to critique and lampoon modern consumerism is also enjoyable.  Yet, has this, in addition to the continued Orange light constructs, played itself out?

Johns achieves a delicate balance in Green Lantern #56 that honestly could go either way.  On one hand, pardon the cliché, introducing a new villain and new threat beyond the light spectrum theme may be a gamble with some readers, but it’s a move that seasoned Johns readers would likely follow and endorse.  Of course, such an abrupt shift at this point would be disastrous.  And, that is not to say that the current story arc within the Brightest Day fold isn't strong or compelling; but, there is a risk involved in revisiting these characters and concepts once again.  On the other hand, by interweaving and slowly revealing the spectrum avatars, Johns is expanding upon the story foundations he has established over fifty issues and five years.  By reintroducing Hammond and tying him into the ongoing war of light, Johns may be pursuing a path that combines both. 

There is evidence that Johns is doing just that.  First, in one sequence Johns revisits Saint Walker who is conversing with the Question.  In another, audiences see glimpses of the other avatars of light.  If there is one criticism of the issue, it is minor and in the depiction of Hammond.  Both he and Sinestro (although they do not share any scenes) resemble each other too much, particularly within the opening fantasy sequence on the first page.  Moving away from the David Niven-inspired imagery of both characters, at least for Hammond, would be something artist Doug Mahnke is very capable of producing. 

Where Johns is going remains to be seen, but as he has proven time and again, it will be an adventure worth following. 

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