I have enjoyed the Blackest Night tie-in issues on Green Lantern. This title has actually been more interesting than Blackest Night itself since Johns has given us more of the cosmic storyline on this title and less of the Zombie Attacks story that dominated much of the first half of Blackest Night. Green Lantern #52 should be a good read since it features White Lantern Sinestro. I am fascinated with this plot twist and I look forward to seeing White Lantern Sinestro in action in this issue. I am curious to see how Johns handles Sinestro’s new direction. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Green Lantern #52.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke Rebecca Buchman, and Keith Champagne
Colors: Randy Mayor, Gabe Elteab and Carrie Strachan
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with John Stewart and Kilowog fighting alongside the Lanterns of the other colored Corps against the onslaught of Black Lanterns. We hear a white voice say “I am the greatest Lantern of them all.” John Stewart then radios Hal and informs Hal that every single Black Lantern in the universe is converging on Coast City. John asks if the Black Lanterns are after Hal. Hal responds that the Black Lanterns are all after Sinestro. We see White Lantern Sinestro all powered up. Sinestro says that this is his destiny.
Sinestro exclaims how he is one with every living thing. That Sinestro is in the center of it all. Sinestro witnesses the white light’s birth into the darkness. How the white light created the planets and the stars. That the white light created the Earth to act as its shelter. That the Earth was the very spot that the white light was thrust into the universe.
We learn that the first sentient creatures in the universe came from the primordial waters on Earth. The first sentient creature in the universe to ever will itself to move. That creature ignited the emerald light and transformed into Ion.
Thousands of years later, when creatures moved from the water to the land and air, another creature transforms into the emotional power it emits. Fear was next born in the form of Parallax. Then a creature was transformed into Love in the form of the Predator. Then the orange light came into the universe as Avarice. Then the red light entered as Rage. Hope then came from prayer. And the last color from the emotional spectrum to appear into the universe was Compassion.
We then see White Lantern Sinestro surrounded by the avatars of each of the colored Corps. Sinestro says “We live.” Nekron screams “No.” We see Nekron attack Sinestro from behind and slice Sinestro in half with his scythe. Nekron rants that the white light cannot hide from him. That Nekron will dig the white light out of Sinestro. Nekron says that whoever or whatever sent the white light into the universe will regret that action.
We cut to John Stewart radioing Hal that Black Lantern Xanshi just fired a colossal black energy blast toward Earth. We then see the blast hit the water next to Coast City. This causes a massive tidal wave that rushes into Coast City. Hal forms a giant green wall to keep the flood waters out of Coast City. Hal radios Johns and tells John to take Xanshi out of the fight.
We see Hal getting overwhelmed with all of the Black Lanterns pouring from Xanshi. Hal says that the skies are going dark. John tells Hal that he will take out Xanshi. Fatality is among the colored Lanterns who go with John to infiltrate Xanshi.
Johns tells Fatality how when he was a Marine that he killed as many people has he had to in order to save his own life and the lives of his fellow marines. Johns says that he does the same thing as a Green Lantern. However Johns has tried to dedicate the other side of his life to building things up instead of tearing them down.
Suddenly, Black Lantern Katma Tui attacks John. John blasts Zombie Katma stating that she is not Katma Tui and that this is not Xanshi. John states that he refuses to let the black rings pervert their memories of them. John tells Fatality that he accepts that he cannot replace his wife or Xanshi. However, he will not let that destroy him any more than he already has.
John’s ring then informs John that it has scanned Xanshi and found a weakness buried deep within.
We cut back to the Indigo Lantern and Saint Walker unable to heal Sinestro’s wounds. That their rings sense no wounds or trauma. We see Hal Jordan being overwhelmed with Black Lanterns.
We zip back to John and his squad arriving at the center of Xanshi. There they see a giant mass that is a fusion of thousands of black rings that commands the planet. The Lanterns all combine their lights and blast the mass of rings to pieces. The team of Lanterns then race back out of Xanshi. We hear a voice say “Connection severed.” We then see Black Lantern Xanshi explode.
We shift back to Coast City and see Nekron screaming out in pain. Black Hand also grimaces in pain. The Black Lanterns from Xanshi, that were overwhelming Hal and the other heroes, suddenly turn to dust now that their rings on Xanshi have been destroyed. We see Sinestro shine brightly with white light.
We cut back to John and Fatality. Fatality points out that it is not over yet. That large chunks of Xanshi are now fall toward Earth. John, Fatality and the other Lanterns on their team combine their lights to form a giant shield that protects Coast City from the remnants of Xanshi. John says “Xanshi. Rest in Peace.”
We then slide back to Sinestro’s body reforming itself. The white light tells Sinestro “LIVE.” White Lantern Sinestro tells all of the assembled Lanterns Corps to stand aside. Sinestro says that he has been reborn.
We see a full shot of Sinestro with the white light avatar behind him. White Lantern Sinestro states that he is now the true Guardian of the universe. Hal is stunned and says “The white light…He’s alive.” End of issue.
The Good: Green Lantern #52 was an enjoyable read. First, I have to address the cover. I almost never discuss an issue’s cover in my reviews. However, I found the cover to Green Lantern #52 to be absolutely hilarious. The smug look of Sinestro’s face with the line “You were expecting someone else?” made for a fantastic cover that immediately made me want to find out what was inside this issue.
Johns delivers an entertaining read with this issue. The reader is treated with plenty of action from start to finish. Green Lantern #52 certainly is not a slow or dull read. Johns moves the story along at a pleasant pace as he slows down the story for the proper dramatic moments and then speeds it up for the furious action scenes.
Johns actually utilizes Green Lantern #52 very effectively as a Blackest Night tie-in issue. This issue addresses and resolves a couple of dangling plotlines from Blackest Night so that they are out of the way in time for Blackest Night #8. This enables Johns to focus solely on the climactic finish to Blackest Night in the final issue and not have to waste panel time resolving a couple of more minor plotlines. This is exactly the type of role that a tie-in issue is supposed to serve in support of the main title of a big event.
Johns finally gives the reader an explanation of the creation of the DCU. We all knew that Johns had been charged with the creation of the new DCU spinning out of Infinite Crisis. What we did not know was that Johns was literally going to show us the very creation of the universe. Johns did a nice job showing the reader how the white light entered the universe and created the stars and planets. Johns has the Earth as the white light’s point of entry into the universe. The Earth is also the source of the first life in the universe. The Earth is also the source of the avatars of each color of the emotional spectrum.
Johns’ story of creation firmly establishes the Earth as the keystone of the DCU. This explanation also helps to shed light onto why the Earth always plays the central role in every single big event or Crisis that takes place in the DCU. There is now a firm reason in place as to why the Earth always seems to be the most important planet in the universe. Johns’ story of creation worked for me and helped to give me a better feel for the cosmic aspect of the DCU.
The other plotline that Johns addresses in Green Lantern #52 was the one involving John Stewart and Xanshi. I found this part of the issue to be by far and away the most interesting aspect of this story. I was pleasantly satisfied with how Johns resolved this plotline. John Stewart has been largely kept on the sidelines up until now with Hal, Kyle and Guy all getting more panel time during Blackest Night. John finally receives his chance to shine with this issue.
Personally, I was glad that Johns finally moved John Stewart past his guilt and grief over the destruction of Xanshi. John Stewart’s character had felt a bit stagnant and it was time for him to grow and evolve a bit. Johns reserves all the character work in this issue for John Stewart as Johns does a fine job progression John’s character to the next stage in his life.
Johns displays a nice feel for John’s character as he peels back John’s psyche to reveal the conflict that rages inside of John’s soul. The parallel between John’s role as a marine with his current role as a Green Lantern effectively establishes Johns’ purpose in life as a soldier. This purpose in life comes with the unfortunate consequence of having to have killed and destroy when protecting his unit or carrying out his mission.
Johns juxtaposes this destructive aspect of John’s character with the side of his character that wishes to preserve life and build. The duality of Johns’ character makes him more interesting. It also explains why John, despite his calling as a soldier, also chose the career as an architect. Johns’ urge to try and build more than he destroys exemplifies the internal struggle that has been raging inside his spirit since the destruction of Xanshi.
Johns pulls these different aspects of Johns’ character together as he finally realizes that he has to stop destroying himself more than he already has. I enjoyed the symmetry of John’s resolution arriving while fighting side-by-side with his old arch nemesis in Fatality. This moment provided for a new chapter in both John and Fatality’s lives.
Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Doug Mahnke Rebecca Buchman, and Keith Champagne combine to deliver an attractive looking issue. Mahnke whips up several dramatic scenes in this issue. Without a doubt, Mahnke has been able to make Blackest Night seem grand in scope. Mahnke also injects plenty of emotion into Johns’ story. Of course, as always, Mahnke is able to pack plenty of beautiful detail into each and every panel.
The Bad: Green Lantern #52 suffers from what I always find to be an unforgiveable sin. The story in this issue ends exactly where it began. We start this issue with White Lantern Sinestro powering up and getting ready to attack Nekron. We end this issue with White Lantern Sinestro powering up and getting ready to attack Nekron.
Yes, Johns does address a few dangling plotlines in between the opening and closing scenes, but the effect of ending the issue with the same scene as we began gives the reader the strong impression that Johns simply was treading water with Green Lantern #52. The plotline involving Xanshi and John Stewart was trotted out to distract the reader from the fact that the main storyline of Blackest Night did not progress at all.
Also, by plastering White Lantern Sinestro on the cover of this issue created a false promise to the reader that Sinestro would actually play an active role in this issue.
Overall: Green Lantern #52 was entertaining and provided for some nice character growth for John Stewart and a good resolution with the plotline involving Black Lantern Xanshi. While the reader does get the story of the creation of the universe, it is not a terribly complex story nor is it anything that different from what Johns had already hinted at in previous Blackest Night related issues. Therefore, readers do not have to read Green Lantern #52 at all in order to enjoy Blackest Night #8.
I would recommend Green Lantern #52 to fans of John Stewart and to readers who are fascinated with every detail of Blackest Night. For the rest of the readers following Blackest Night, they can save their $4.00 and simply get Blackest Night #8 next week.