Monday, March 31, 2003

Green Lantern #161 - A Review

Written by: Judd Winick
Penciled by: Dale Eaglesham
Inked by: Rodney Ramos
Colored by: Moose Baumann
Lettered by: Kurt Hathaway
Assistant Editor: Morgan Dontanville
Editor: Bob Schreck
Publisher: DC Comics

I wanted to like this story, really I did. And I did like parts of it. I’ve liked most of Judd Winick’s run on Green Lantern and I really liked the way he expanded the characters. That said this entire issue (the last one of Winick’s run on the title that will not be part of the Green Arrow/Green Lantern crossover slated to begin next month) feels rushed… like a bartender with a hot date waiting for him at closing time.

There is a lot of plot that is not given much story-time to develop. In fact, there is one major revelation that was brought up in the previous issue is just as quickly dismissed. I presume this revelation, which involved Jade, has been dropped so that the status quo can be maintained for the new creative as well as the new Outsiders title that Jade will be part of and Winnick will be writing.

That still doesn’t excuse the “and with the turn of a page” major change in the status quo that happens at the end of the book where the Zamorans (the amazonian mates of the Guardians) return to aid Ganthet in raising the new Guardian children. Now, I’ll admit to not being as well versed in Silver Age Green Lantern history as many, but the Zamoran and Guardian races have a long and angry history between each other. And while I think the desire to see the first generation of children in an eternity would probably do much to ease the strife between the two, the discussion of the problems between them is a story in of itself. A story that cannot be dismissed as quickly as it is in Kyle and Ganthet’s conversation. Sadly, the story of how that would have come about is much more interesting than the main plot of the crisis Kyle and Jade face and the “no-surprise” behind the origins of the villain involved.

About Eaglesham’s artwork, I can say little. It doesn’t really stand out, but neither does it distract from the writing. The usual test of measure for a Green Lantern artist, the drawing of ring projections, is not shown much in this issue with Kyle and Jade on the sidelines for most of the story. Like the story itself, the art is just there: not bad by any means, but not eye-poppingly good either.

In the final analysis, this issue is merely okay. It does prove that Winick’s greatest strengths as a writer do occur in the quieter character scenes than in shaping epic space plots or writing fight scenes. All the good parts of this issue, and indeed the entirity of Winick’s run, have occurred in the moments when the characters are just talking about life and not worrying about the next big crisis. Not that Winnick cannot write such scenes; the “While Rome Burned…” arc proved that much. But his strength lies in his strong characters, not strong-armed action. I think he will flourish with Green Arrow, which lives and breathes off of such drama and that he had a good run… but as for right now, I’m glad he’s leaving the title before he gets completely burned out.

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