Thursday, March 4, 2004

Green Lantern #174 - A Review

Written by: Benjamin Raab
Penciled by: Jamal Igle
Inked by: John Dell
Colored by: Moose Baumann
Lettered by: Jared K. Fletcher
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics

This book is filled with something of a sense of futility. After one more issue, Ben Raab will end his run on this title and Ron Marz, who created Kyle Rayner, will return to do a brief run on the book which will bring Kyle back from Deep Space and return him to Earth to find how things have changed in his absence. This news has been greeted with much joy by Marz’s fans who have argued that the book has suffered in his absence and by Marz detractors (including the inafamous HEAT) who will be glad to have him to kick around once more.

This all distracts from the fact that as everyone waits for the return of the Marz, Raab has done quite a lot to restore that which HEAT complained of the absence of. There is now a Corps, of sorts, though they lack rings at the moment. Kilowog, a fan favorite GL, who gave his life trying to stop Hal Jordan during his time of madness, has been restored to life. And in these last few issues, he has restored the epic “space-opera” storylines for which Green Lantern was famous, which were for the most part neglected during the Marz run on the book. More, he has restored a classic Green Lantern enemy, bringing The Qwardians race back into active duty alongside his own creation: The criminal syndicate known as The Black Circle.

Raab develops all these plots of his own even as he expands and even closes off those plots that were left for him to solve in the wake of Judd Winick’s departure from the title. This issue, for instance, lets us see Kyle’s assistant Terry attempting to make peace with his family before moving to California with his boyfriend. I don’t know if Raab is working Terry out of the title or not, but it is nice to see SOMETHING being done with the character, who lay by the wayside in the wake of the “Hate Crime special.” We also get an update on Jade and how things are going with the man whom she started seeing after her boyfriend went into deep cover in order to destroy the Black Circle.

Still, the issue proper does center upon Kyle, the new Corps, and their storming the Black Circle’s main base in an effort to stop an attack on the planet Oa itself. Fans of the old Hal Jordan Corps stories will love these scenes, including Kilowog and company blowing a blast door down and his line: Knock Knock, Poozers.

The book has lacked a steady art team in the last year while Raab has written the title. Still, this issue’s team of Ingle and Dell do the title proud. Indeed, I didn’t notice the change in the artists until looking at the title page to write this review! While Kyle doesn’t get much chance to use his ring this issue and doesn’t use it much in the way of creating projections (the usual measure of an artist on this title), we are treated to some wonderful images in the form of a sun going to pieces as well as a bevy of exotic alien foot soldiers.

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