Green Lantern was a book for which I showed up late to the party. When Rebirth came out, I figured I’d just wait for the trades; no big deal. That was before I knew what a large part the Green Lantern books were going to play in the DC Universe. After reading Blackest Night and being totally confused, I have decided to play catch up, read the Green Lantern trades in order, and then read Blackest Night again. I just finished Revenge of the Green Lanterns, the second collection of the monthly series, and a lot more is starting to become clear.
Green Lantern: Revenge of the Green Lanterns TPB
Story by Geoff Johns
Art by Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver and Ivan Reis
Cover by Simone Bianchi
The trade collects issues 7-13 of the series, and breaks down into two parts. The first three chapters are essentially team-up stories where Hal Jordan meets up with his old pal Green Arrow, and then confronts Batman. In the Green Arrow story, they team up against the children on Mongul, who as most fans remember was one of the people responsible for the destruction of Coast City in the “Reign of the Supermen” storyline. The story is a bit of a letdown from a narrative standpoint. There is no really big confrontation since Mongul is dead, and Green Lantern is left to deal with his offspring and an angry plant. These issues are also Pacheco’s swan song on the series, which is a real shame since he drew a great Green Lantern.
The second team up with Batman is also a bit of a disappointment. The two take on the new and improved Tattooed Man in a standard buddy comic, and boom! They’re friends again. Like the Green Arrow story, it doesn’t really measure up to what we expect from Johns. The highlight here is seeing Batman try on a Green Lantern ring and the resulting Batman/Green Lantern combo costume as drawn by Van Sciver. I’m in the minority in that I think Van Sciver is a bit overrated as an artist. His characters look wooden and there is almost no sense of motion, but when you need someone to draw a big splash page, there is no one better.
The true meat of the trade is the “Revenge of the Green Lanterns” storyline. This is where Johns really shines as a storyteller. He brings the Manhunter plot [Ed. note - A storyline that began in the first trade, No Fear.] to a head and also gives us the return of one of my favorite villains, the Cyborg Superman. Why the Superman creative teams can’t do this character justice is beyond me. Johns writes him as the truly A-list bad guy he should be. Plus, we get the return of several past Green Lanterns and some great banter between Hal and Guy Gardner. Johns has finally moved Guy past the JLI/overgrown adolescent version and turned him into a solid character of his own, which was long overdue. A tight plot, spot on characterization, and snappy dialogue are all things Johns has become known for, and he hits all the right notes here.
The art by Reis is another high point of the trade. You can see him starting to mature and grow into the artist that drew such amazing work in Blackest Night. His slight tweaking of the Cyborg Superman’s look is outstanding, and his panels just effortlessly flow from one to the next. An artist with a solid grasp of good storytelling and he can meet a deadline? Who knew there were any of those left?
In addition to all the above, we also get a lot of clues and foreshadowing about the future of the book. We see the beginning of the Sinestro Corps, and some of the first signs about the Blackest Night to come. If you can get past the first three less than stellar chapters, this is an impressive book that rewards readers with very solid story and art. It is a worthy addition to any bookshelf and just a flat-out great read.