I enjoyed the previous issue of Green Lantern. As usual, I felt that the last issue moved too slowly, but that is to be expected from Geoff Johns. In general, I have enjoyed the Blackest Night tie-in issues in Green Lantern more than Blackest Night itself. I have a feeling that we should be in store for a rather exciting read with Green Lantern #51. Johns needs to get everything in order for a strong finish with the final two issues of Blackest Night. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Green Lantern #51.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Doug Mahnke
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Orange Lantern Lex Luthor and Larfleeze engaged in a battle for control of the orange light. Both individuals believe themselves to be the greediest person alive. Neither is willing to share with the other. Lex calls Larfleeze an idiot and that Larfleeze does not understand how the Orange Corps works.
Lex explains that the Orange Lantern Corps is constructed like the Black Lantern Corps. That the lives that an Orange Lantern takes become his soldiers. Just like how a Black Lantern operates. Lex then says that his orange constructs will kill Black Lantern Superman and then Superman will finally be Lex’s to possess and control.
The Orange Lanterns’ fight is disrupted by the much larger brawl between Black Lantern Spectre and Parallax. Carol is worried about Hal. Ganthet says that they must trust Hal’s plan and let Parallax deal with Black Lantern Spectre while the Rainbow Raiders concentrate on the Black Lanterns attacking Coast City.
Atrocitus then states that Mera’s rage is great, but that the Red Light senses an even greater rage in the area. Atrocitus believes that this greater light is the Spirit of Vengeance: The Spectre.
Parallax begins tearing into Black Lantern Spectre. Parallax then says that Black Lantern Spectre is just a human shell. That the real Spectre is trapped inside of that decayed human shell. Parallax then enters inside of Black Lantern Spectre. Inside, we see Parallax finding where the real Spectre is trapped.
Parallax says that the black power ring is controlling the Spectre’s dead human host (Crispus). That the real Spectre is trapped inside of the Black Lantern version of his dead human host. Parallax says that he will free the Spectre. Parallax pulls out the black power ring from the Spectre. Parallax uses his green and yellow lights to destroy the black power ring.
We see Black Lantern Spectre fall to the ground in a pile of ashes. All that remains is the real Spectre. Parallax says that it is time for the Spectre and Parallax to settle their differences. Spectre says that he will kill Parallax even if it means having to kill Hal Jordan in the process.
Atrocitus tells Mera that they must wield the Light of Rage in order to save life. Atrocitus says that he will not fail the universe like he failed Ryut.
Parallax continues to fight the Spectre. Sinister then flies over and grabs Parallax. Atrocitus then lands on the Spectre’s shoulder and says that the Spectre is the Spirit of Vengeance. Atrocitus tells Spectre to join the Red Lantern Corps. The Spectre is pumped full of red light and transforms into Red Lantern Spectre.
The Spectre then returns back to his normal self. The Spectre says that he is not the entity of rage that Atrocitus is seeking. The Spectre says “I am God’s rage, not yours!” The Spectre says that he knows the crimson creature of anger that Atrocitus sensed. The Spectre warns that if Atrocitus seeks him (the entity) out then the entity will destroy Atrocitus.
The Spectre then grabs Parallax and says that he does fear Parallax and the other primitive power of emotions. The Spectre says that this fear will connect Parallax to the Spectre while love will anchor Hal Jordan with Carol. Ganthet tells Carol to grab Parallax’s arm while the Spectre holds onto Parallax’s other arm. Carol says that it is time to free Hal from Parallax.
We see Carol pull Hal out of Parallax’s human body and we see Spectre pull Parallax’s energy beat form out of Parallax’s human body. Sinister tells Parallax to come to him before the Spectre destroys him. Suddenly, we see Parallax disappear from the scene. Hal’s ring states that Parallax was pulled away by an unknown force and the location and reason is undetermined.
We cut to Belle Reve Prison where Hector Hammond is located. Hammond thinks to himself “Oh! Oh, No, No, NO! It has Parallax.”
We hop back to Coast City where Hal asks the Spectre for his help in dealing with Nekron. The Spectre then teleports himself in front of Nekron. The Spectre says that Nekron will be judged. Spectre sticks his hand out and nothing happens. The Spectre has a stunned look on his face and says that he cannot strike Nekron down.
Nekron responds that it is because Nekron has no soul to judge. That Nekron is not alive. That Nekron is darkness and the Spectre has no power over him. Nekron says “Begone” and the Spectre screams and disappears.
We see Nekron with Black Lanterns Superman, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Firestorm, Hawkman and Hawkgirl standing behind him. They are holding the bodies of several Guardians. End of issue.
The Good: Green Lantern #51 was a great read. Geoff Johns delivered an excellent lead-in to Blackest Night #7. Green Lantern #51 was a well-balanced read. There was plenty of substance for readers who love plot heavy stories. There were also some quality action scenes as well. The fight between Parallax and Spectre was solid. Johns did a nice job establishing the parallel between these two characters and their human hosts. Johns gave the reader a good explanation of how Spectre became a Black Lantern. Parallax’s method of freeing Spectre was logical.
Green Lantern #51 was a strongly plotted issue. Johns worked on two fronts. Johns moved along the more immediate plotlines concerning Blackest Night. At the same time, Johns also kept an eye to the future by shaping up a couple of long-term plotlines for Green Lantern itself and possibly Brightest Day. It was brilliant the way that Johns deftly handled the plotting for this issue.
Johns possess an incredible eye for the future, as his long-term plotting skills are certainly some of the best in the industry. Johns is a master at juggling numerous plotlines and running short term, medium range and long-term plotlines all at the same time.
Johns knows how to naturally evolve new plotlines in a pleasant and seamless fashion while dealing with the main story at hand. This is why, for my money, no other writer can match Johns when it comes to orchestrating a big event. Johns does not shy away from a large cast of characters nor does he get uncomfortable dealing with multiple complex plotlines.
Johns introduced two long range plotlines that we should see play out in Green Lantern once Blackest Night concludes. I was glad to see Johns already planting the seeds for the story on Green Lantern after Blackest Night concludes. The way that Johns was able to organically grow these new plotlines out of the events of Blackest Night will help to give a seamless transition between the end of Blackest Night and whatever Johns has in store for us next.
Both of these new plotlines have plenty of potential to be rather exciting. The first one deals with the mysterious entity of red rage that the Red Light is seeking out. Johns makes this plotline even more intriguing with the Spectre’s cryptic warning that he has met this entity and that the entity would kill Atrocitus. I am interested to learn more about the identity of this entity of great rage.
Johns also planted the seeds for a plotline surrounding the mysterious disappearance of Parallax. Johns also pulls Hector Hammond back into the mix as Hammond bemoans that “it” now has Parallax. Hammond is a good Green Lantern villain so I like his insertion into the story. Johns definitely hooked my interest with this mysterious “it” who has captured Parallax. This should prove for an interesting story once Blackest Night has concluded.
Now, yes, Johns did rush freeing Hal from Parallax. However, I am willing to forgive it since Johns is working on a tight deadline and needed to get Hal back to normal as Johns moves into the final two issues of Blackest Night. Plus, given how ridiculously decompressed Johns usually writes, I actually appreciated a more condensed story with Green Lantern #51. Since this issue had a nice flow and everything was logically explained; a more compressed and faster paced read was perfectly acceptable. Johns did not deliver a fast read that was sloppy or suffered from gross lapses in continuity or logic.
I particularly enjoyed the scene where the Spectre and Ganthet devised a way to save Hal Jordan from Parallax. Johns had already established the Spectre’s fear of Parallax a while back. Obviously, Carol’s love for Hal is a long-standing emotion. Johns uses both in order to deliver a satisfying plan to save Hal from Parallax. Johns effectively employed the theme of the emotional spectrum with this scene. This was a climactic scene that logically built off of how the emotional spectrum operates. This scene was a fine example of how Johns is able to properly plot stories that evolve in a consistent manner. Whenever Johns introduces a certain theme the reader can be sure that Johns will evolve that theme to its logical conclusion.
This scene also furthered the eventual reunion of Hal and Carol. Johns has been gently pushing both characters into this direction. Personally, I am glad to see Johns moving in this direction. Hal and Carol are a good pairing and they almost always lead to some rather explosive and entertaining situations. Their relationship is not like Lois and Clark, Ralph and Sue Dibny or Barry and Iris Allen. There has always been a bit more fire and tension in Hal and Carol’s relationship. I am looking forward to Johns rekindling this old flame.
I enjoyed the scene between Lex Luthor and Larfleeze. Johns does a good job pitting these two incredibly greedy beings against each other. The reader immediately noticed one striking difference between the two Orange Lanterns. Larfleeze is an instinctual driven beast while Lex, even while imbued with the orange light, is still incredibly intelligent and calculating. Lex certainly seemed to be the more dangerous of the two Orange Lanterns.
I also liked that Johns drew the parallel between how the Black Lanterns and the Orange Lanterns are constructed compared to how the other Corps are constructed. This helped to further Johns’ effort in making each colored Corps as unique from the others as possible while still sharing some common basic themes.
Johns delivers some solid dialogue. It is not anything spectacular, but it gets the job done. Each character has a nicely developed external voice. The character work was also nicely done. Johns has a good feel for the various members of the Rainbow Raiders. The chemistry between the Rainbow Raiders continues to be top notch.
I particularly enjoyed how Johns wrote Atrocitus in this issue. Up until now, I have viewed Atrocitus as a fairly one-dimensional bad guy. However, Johns actually gives Atrocitus a bit texture to his personality. Johns also reminds readers like me that Atrocitus is a hero in the sense that he does want to fight to protect life. It was nice seeing Atrocitus swearing to protect life and not to fail the universe.
Johns ended Green Lantern #51 with a great ending. The short scene with Spectre versus Nekron was short and to the point. Johns gave the reader a bit more information about Nekron. We learned that Nekron is dead and has no soul at all. That Nekron is the darkness. Also, Nekron being able to easily dispatch of the Spectre helped to pump Nekron up as a serious heavy hitter.
Nekron is a virtual unknown to the overwhelming majority of readers following Blackest Night. Therefore, Johns had to do something in order to increase Nekron’s credibility and standing with those readers. Having Nekron easily dismiss someone in the power class of the Spectre is certainly a good route to take in order to achieve that goal.
The final page of Green Lantern #51 was a nice ending to this issue. The splash shot of Nekron and the Black Lantern JLA standing behind him was a great lead-in to Blackest Night #7. It certainly got me excited for the next installment of Blackest Night. We should be in store for an exciting final two issues of this big event.
Doug Mahnke supplies plenty of beautiful artwork in this issue. I am a huge fan of Mahnke’s detailed style of art. Mahnke is able to pack so much emotion and intensity into a comic book. Green Lantern #51 was full of dramatic splash shots. However, Mahnke is also an effective storyteller who does not need to overly rely on splash shots. Mahnke’s art immediately grabs the reader’s attention and does not let up until the end.
The Bad: Green Lantern #51 was a fast paced story. It was certainly faster paced than what I have come to expect from a Johns’ penned story. The fast pace does give the reader the impression that Johns stomped on the gas pedal and rushed the story a bit. Part of that reason was that Johns had wasted too much time in the previous issue moving the story along at too slow of a pace. Therefore, Johns was forced to rush the story in this issue to set everything in place for Blackest Night #7. It would have been nice if Johns could have delivered the previous issues at a bit more of a lively pace so he would not have had to rush the story so much with Green Lantern #51.
Overall: Green Lantern #51 was an incredibly exciting read. Johns serves up an issue that delivers a well-plotted story, plenty of substance as well as a fair amount of action. I would imagine that most readers who are following Blackest Night will enjoy Green Lantern #51. I would certainly recommend getting Green Lantern #51.