Klaatu Barada Nicto: Green Lantern #11 Reviewon July 28, 2012 at 8:08 pm
On one hand, Green Lantern #11 is an encouraging sign that the book might be returning to its glory days of the spectacular Blackest Night crossover from a couple years ago… almost literally. We’ve got the return of that crossover’s villain Black Hand, he’s got his Black Lantern ring back and he’s bringing the dead back, getting ready to take over the world again. It’s exciting, even though it’s a story that maybe we’ve seen before.
On the other hand, Green Lantern is a sign that the book might be returning to another story from the past. That story is Army of Darkness.
This issue is very much a transition story, wrapping up the recent origin of the Indigo Tribe while laying the groundwork for the upcoming Third Army event, of which it appears that the returning Black Hand will be a big part of. Sinestro has been released from the thrall of the Indigo Lanterns, which is a shame, since on an infinite timeline we’d have see a lettering mistake having Indigo Sinestro muttering, “Nok. Kok. Nok kok. Kok nok. Kok.” Yes, I am emotionally twelve years old, why do you ask?
In that story, the Indigos removed the throttle from Hal’s Sinestro-provided ring that prevented Hal from taking direct action against Sinestro. Meaning that after eleven issues of the rebooted Green Lantern, we might finally see Green Lantern in a position to actually, you know, fight his fucking arch nemesis. While I get that writer Geoff Johns has been going for some kind of a buddy cop movie vibe by forcing Hal to work with Sinestro, after eleven months of it, I’m ready to see the arrogant douchebag eventually take a green fist to the plums like in the old days. To be clear, by “arrogant douchebag,” I mean Sinestro. When it comes to Hal Jordan, it’s sometimes best to be clear about these things.
However, that eventual satisfying dickpunch will need to wait, because Black Hand has also escaped the Indigos’ influence, has recovered his Black Lantern ring, and returned to Earth, resurrecting his long-dead family for a little domestic argument because apparently his Black Lantern power comes at the cost of not being able to understand that the big bonus of your family being dead is that you can finally stop bickering with them over your career choices. Black Hand makes his villain plan speech, while Hal and Sinestro go on the hunt for him, and things start to get interesting… just as the issue ends.
On one hand, this issue is a good jumping-on point for new readers, bridging into a new storyline as it does. On the other hand, it’s not a particularly great issue because as a bridge, not a whole hell of a lot happens, It’s all resolution from the Indigo Tribe story and setup for the Black Hand / Third Army stories. It’s a lot of talking, and setting up plot points – if Sinestro’s whole, “Once the ring selects you, you are forever a Green Lantern. Until the day you die,” thing doesn’t wind up being key to what happens with Black Hand, I’ll shit my pants – and seeing the Sinestro Cave, which shows that either crime really does pay, or that Hal needs to fire his financial adviser.
But the main thing that stuck out to me about this issue was that there were elements of the story that were extremely reminiscent of a classic story: Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness. The main thing being the Book of The Black, which, once Sinestro opens it, sucks both Hal and Sinestro into it against their wills. Which seems kinda familiar…
…and considering the book drops them into an abandoned house filled with the walking dead, the whole thing screamed, “Listen up, you primitive screwheads!” to me. Throw on top of that that, while they are being sucked into the book. they see a vision of the first official appearance of the new Green Lantern – you know, the one that carries a fucking gun – and I give it two months before we see in some Green Lantern books, “This is my boomstick!”
None of these Raimi homage moments are bad, per se, but if Johns was hoping for subtlety in his references, it didn’t work. And it means that I’m going to be watching the rest of The Third Army (of Darkness! Ha!) looking for other Evil Dead references… although if that means seeing Alpha Lantern Boodikka getting fucked by a tree, I’m okay with that (I smell Swamp Thing crossover!).
The pencils by Doug Mahnke are effective in this issue at running the gamut from heavy science fiction elements to zombie horror bits by doing what he does best: generally physically realistic figures, with expressive faces and good camera movement to accentuate mood. The realism gives creedence to the sci-fi elements, and adds unease to the horror. I am of a mixed mind as to how effective inker Christian Alamy serves the book; I still feel that he has too heavy a hand on the main players, adding thick lines where not needed, and a bunch of thin detail lines that make characters faces look a little overly fussy. His work on Black Hand, however, is excellent. The million detail lines and heavy boundaries make him just look disturbing, which is what you want for that kind of dark, morbid character – don’t believe me? Just go back to the top and check out that cover, which is spectacular. Across the whole of the book, everything works… but there have been elements of the art on Green Lantern since the reboot that still don’t work for me, and it’s no different here.
Green Lantern #11 isn’t a particularly bad book, but it is what is is: a placeholder. In wrapping up old story elements and merely laying groundwork for future stories, there’s not a lot of action bang for your buck here. There are some interesting concepts and visuals here, but once you make the connection with Army of Darkness, you’ll start to see winks and nods here and there. And considering none of those winds or nods include lines like, “Hail to the king, baby,” it’s only okay. If you’re looking to jump onto Green Lantern, it’s not a challenging book with which to do it… but personallly? I’d wait until the next issue.
If things go as they have, that’ll be when Jordan makes himself a green chainsaw hand.