Johns is certainly taking his time in creating a foundation for Blackest Night. While Green Lantern Corps has focused more on exciting action based stories; Green Lantern has paid more attention to the mythos surrounding Blackest Night. The result is that Green Lantern is a much slower read that feels a bit repetitious at times. Hopefully, Johns can crank up the intensity with Green Lantern #42 and deliver a nice ending to the “Agent Orange” story arc. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Green Lantern #42.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Philip Tan and Eddie Barrows
Inks: Jonathan Glapion and Ruy Jose
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Larfleeze placing the blue power ring on his finger. Larfleeze comments how the blue power ring has taken away his eternal hunger from the orange light. Suddenly, the blue power ring disappears. We see that the blue power ring has re-grown Hal’s hand and is back on Hal’s finger. Hal then makes a bunch of Green Lantern constructs just like how Larfleeze makes Orange Lantern constructs with his orange power battery.
We cut to John Stewart and Fatality in a protective bubble created by Fatality’s star sapphire ring. Fatality says that she has always blamed Johns for the destruction of Xanshi. That Fatality killed so many Green Lanterns in John’s name. Yet, John never blamed Fatality and John never hated Fatality for it. Fatality says that John has only hated himself. Fatality then kisses John. Fatality then tells John to forgive himself for what happened to Xanshi.
Fatality says that Xanshi was not as innocent in the war of light as John might have believed. Fatality then disappears from the scene. John then joins the rest of his fellow Green Lanterns still fighting the Orange Lanterns. The Guardians then proceed to break through to Larfleeze’s inner chamber.
We cut back to Hal and Larfleeze fighting. The Guardians break through the wall. Larfleeze is distracted by the Guardians entrance. Hal takes the opportunity to grab Larfleeze’s orange power battery. Hal turns into an Orange Lantern as the hunger and greed of the orange light fills his heart. Larfleeze then yells that the orange power battery does not belong to Hal. Larfleeze slams Hal into the ground and takes the orange power battery back.
The Guardians and the other Green Lanterns arrive at Hal’s side. The Guardians state that no matter what they do that avarice will always exist in the universe. John comments that Larfleeze has possessed the orange power battery for centuries. That Larfleeze’s connection to the orange power battery is as strong as the Guardians’ connection to the green power battery.
Larfleeze then powers up a massive orange construct of himself and attacks the Green Lanterns. Larfleeze has the complete upper hand as he takes down the Green Lanterns.
The blue power ring asks Hal “What do you hope for?” over and over again. Hal comments that as soon as they get out of this situation that he hopes the blue power ring will stop asking him that question. The blue power ring responds “Sincerity registered.”
Hal then transforms into a Blue Lantern as the blue power ring hits full power. The blue power rings says “All will be well.” Hal then blasts Larfleeze with the blue power ring. The blue power ring burns away Larfleeze’s giant orange construct of himself. The blue power ring expends all of its energy.
The blue power ring then flies off of Hal’s finger and says that Hal is an invalid selection. The blue power ring zips off in search of a suitable replacement. Larfleeze screams that he wants a blue power ring.
The Guardians comment on how powerful the blue light is and how it re-charged the rings of all of the Green Lanterns. Larfleeze snarls that he has saved his power of the orange light all to himself for eons while the Guardians have given theirs away. Therefore, Larfleeze is much more powerful and cannot lose this fight.
The Guardians state that there will always be the orange light in the universe. And that they can either defeat Larfleeze and then have to deal with an Orange Lantern they don’t know in whoever then gains the orange light. On the other hand, the Guardians can deal with the Orange Lantern that they do know in Larfleeze.
The Guardians then ask Larfleeze if they can negotiate a deal. The Guardians state that they might have something Larfleeze wants. Larfleeze is open to a deal.
The Guardians then dismiss the Green Lanterns and teleport them outside of the Orange Lantern hideout. Hal comments to John how the Guardians treat them like kids sent to sit at the kid table while the adults talk. Hal then tells John then when he fired up the blue power ring that he was hoping for a better tomorrow. Hal says that he also saw something. We see a panel with Sinestro telling Hal “I can’t do this without you.”
We see the Guardians exit the Orange Lantern hideout. The Guardians tell the Green Lanterns to collect the dead Lanterns and take them back to Oa. The Guardians say that an agreement has been reached with Larfleeze. Hal asks what the Guardians promised Larfleeze this time. The Guardians snap that it does not concern Hal.
We slide over to Odym where the Blue Lanterns are meeting with each other. Suddenly, we see the Orange Lanterns streaking from the sky. Larfleeze shouts “Mine!”
We zip over to Space Sector 666 where Ash and Saarek are searching for the body of the Anti-Monitor. They arrive at a giant black power battery. Saarek says that the Anti-Monitor’s body is inside of the giant black lantern. Saarek touches the black lantern. Saarek says that he always viewed his ability to speak to the dead as a gift and not a curse. Saarek says that he was wrong.
Saarek’s ears start bleeding. Saarek says “The dead. They were unfriendly. They were lying. And our presence here…it has awoken him.” We see two arms rip through the ground. A voice says “Flesh.” End of issue.
The Good: Green Lantern #42 was an average read. Still, there were several aspects to this issue that were enjoyable. The plotting continues to be nicely done as Johns has crafted numerous interesting plotlines leading into Blackest Night. Johns possesses excellent long term vision and has always been able to juggle a myriad of complex plotlines at the same time. The dialogue is also solidly crafted. It is not anything special, but it more than gets the job done.
Johns does give the reader a fair amount of action in this issue. At least compared to what we have gotten in some of the previous issues on this title. My favorite moment out of all the fight scenes was the nice splash page where Hal fashions his own Green Lantern constructs to battle Larfleeze.
Johns continues to give the reader the whirlwind tour of Hal trying on the power rings of each of the various colored Lanterns. In Green Lantern #42, Hal fires up the Orange Lantern power battery and feels the power of uncontrollable greed and the insatiable hunger that accompanies it.
The fact that Johns has had Hal try on the rings of so many of the other Lantern Corps fuels my suspicions that during Blackest Night we are going to see Hal end up as a White Lantern who encompasses the full emotional spectrum. And in the process, Hal will be able to come to terms with his own hate, anger and regrets from his life.
I loved the moment when Hal finally powers up the blue power ring. This was well done. The best part is that it was Hal’s sincere and genuine hope that the ring would stop asking him the question “What do you hope for?” that triggered the blue power ring. This was a nice bit of humor that was well played within the context of the story. And it helped to bring at least a moment of levity into what has otherwise been an extremely violent, grim and dark story.
Johns also teases the reader with what Hal saw when he used the blue power ring and hoped for a better future. We got one panel with Sinestro stating “I can’t do this without you.” My suspicion that Johns is going to end up forcing Hal to work with his greatest enemy in Sinestro in order to defeat the Black Lanterns appears to be coming true. I like this direction and am interested to see how Johns handles that moment when it arrives.
Johns continues to do his best to write the Guardians as untrustworthy pricks. At this point, the reader does not trust the Guardians in the least bit. And that is a smart move by Johns. This move helps to create plenty of tension within the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps as we head into Blackest Night. It is tough for soldiers to fight hard in a terrible war when they do not have confidence or trust in their leaders. Blackest Night will surely test the resolve of the Green Lantern Corps.
I liked the fact that the Guardians gave up the Blue Lantern’s location in their deal with Larfleeze. This move by Johns helps to kick-start the war between the different colored Corps. We will now see the Orange Lanterns and Blue Lanterns battle. And the result of this attack could serve to cause friction between the Blue Lantern Corps and the Green Lantern Corps who had appeared to be obvious and inevitable allies. However, since the Guardians have sold out the Blue Lanterns to Larfleeze we might actually see a conflict between the Blue Lanterns and the Green Lanterns. This plotline was a nice lead-in to Blackest Night.
The artwork by committee was acceptable. I like both Philip Tan and Eddy Barrows individually. They are both talented artists. And I like Glapion and Jose. However, the problem with the art in this issue is that the various artists’ styles of art are different and do not blend well together. Therefore, Green Lantern #42 has an inconsistent look to it.
The Bad: Green Lantern #42 suffered from poor pacing. The story is crawling along at such an irritatingly slow pace. Johns has always been guilty of shunning the monthly format in favor of writing with the trade format in mind instead. And that has been glaringly obvious with this lead-in to Blackest Night. Not much happens at all in this issue.
The “Agent Orange” story arc lacked the depth and substance to mandate the four issues that Johns allowed it. “Agent Orange” should have only been a two issues story arc. And it would have been much more effective and entertaining in a two issue format. After all, two issues are all that “Agent Orange” really warranted.
Instead, Johns drags this story out for four issues and gives the reader the distinct impression that he is wasting time until Blackest Night is scheduled to begin. At this point, I am inclined to believe that Johns over-estimated just how much of a lead-in Blackest Night truly required.
The scene with John and Fatality was a bit anti-climactic and did not really seem to serve much of a purpose. Fatality kisses John and tells him not to hate himself for what happened with Xanshi. I will admit that it was certainly a “shocking” moment to see Fatality playing tonsil hockey with John. But, the scene lacked any real substance and fell flat for me.
Having said that, Johns did give the reader a little teaser with Fatality saying that Xanshi was not as innocent as John might have thought. I still think that this plotline has some potential and I do have faith in Johns to do something interesting with John Stewart’s character.
I found the “big” fight between Hal and Larfleeze to be pretty anti-climactic. The Guardians and the Green Lanterns fight Larfleeze to an effective draw until the Guardians decide to negotiate a new deal with Larfleeze. That was a bit of a boring resolution to this big fight that Johns had been hyping up during this story arc.
The ending to Green Lantern #42 was a standard issue “hook” ending that was nothing all that special. The quest for the Anti-Monitor’s corpse has taken forever and has largely been ignored by Johns except for a few panels here and there. I am not a fan of zombies so the Black Lanterns driving desire for flesh is not all that of a riveting concept for me.
Overall: Green Lantern #42 was a pedestrian read. Johns has milked the lead-in to Blackest Night a bit too much for my taste. And “Agent Orange” was proof of Johns stretching out a story in order to burn time until Blackest Night begins. Green Lantern Corps has been a much more exciting lead-in to Blackest Night compared to the more plodding and cumbersome lead-in that we are getting on Green Lantern. Regular Green Lantern readers will probably enjoy this issue. However, new readers who are jumping aboard for Blackest Night do not need to waste their money on Green Lantern #42.
2 thoughts on “Green Lantern #42 Review”
I saw a scan of that page for the first time just a few hours before going to a baseball game where two-for-one burgers was going to be one of the promotions. The rest of the day I just kept saying "Two hambugers!" while the co-workers stared.
(It was also $1 beer night. I hurt myself.)
It is nice to see Hal treated with humor since we know he is going to become pretty much the God King of Lanterns later on when he saves everyone from Blackest Night. Humility might not suit him, but there's other ways to humanize a hero.
Rayner goes through all that trouble to bring the Guardians back, and this is how they act? Sheesh!
When Larfleeze hit Odym I distinctly heard The Monarch's voice shouting "Aw! DICK!" ^_^
As for the White Lantern…I actually hope they go that route. His chest symbol would be a big "H" and his surekill would be "rage of inferno"!
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