Thursday, January 16, 2003

Green Lantern #158: A Review

Those who haven’t read Green Lantern in a while might pick up this issue and have one question: What the Holy Hannah happened while I was away?

There have been a lot of changes in the status quo lately. There’s the resurrection of the planet Oa, for one. And John Stewart became a Green Lantern again while Kyle Rayner flew off into space to protect alien worlds, with girlfriend Jenny-Lynn Hayden in tow.

Thankfully Judd Winick explains all this and more within the first few pages, making this a good issue for first-time readers or old fans who haven’t picked up Green Lantern in a while. In fact, old time Green Lantern fans will probably enjoy this story more than most, since it addresses many of the complaints some have had with Green Lantern since the death of Hal Jordan.

More than any other DC Series, Green Lantern has always been a space opera. Many, if not most, of the Hal Jordan GL stories involved Hal flying off to exotic worlds to fight horrible monsters or alien despots. This month’s Green Lantern is a story very much in that tradition, with Green Lantern and Jade journeying to another world to fight a vague menace threatening an amazing civilization.

This story may also remind some of the Green Lantern/Green Arrow stories of the early 70′s. Without giving too much away, a moral conundrum does arise and our heroes find themselves arguing moral logistics, though not quite as heavily as ex-hippie Ollie Queen.

Winick’s dialogue shines, with even the most minor of characters sparkling with distinct personality. If only Eaglesham’s artwork were as proficient. While the art is distinct, and Eaglesham does provide great detail to the aliens, but with backgrounds and (even more importantly) the ring projections, he does lack something as a visual storyteller.

There are some occasions, mostly during the fight scenes, where he does not show the character that is speaking in the panel. This causes some confusion, and while Winnick does usually make each character’s speech distinct, some lines can be confusing to match up. I’m still unclear who delivers the line "Damn, they’re a lot stronger than I thought," on page 11.

Still, despite the flow of the artwork being a bit rocky, I enjoyed this story. As one of the few who seems to enjoy old-school Green Lantern along with the entirety of the Ron Marz run, I’d like to deliver a message to everyone who has been avoiding the title for one reason or another.

Come back. It’s okay. Kyle is fighting aliens and the crab mask is gone. There’s not a bit of angst or coffee drinking at all! Just big alien monsters and butt kicking.

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