If the Lords of Chaos exist in the relaunched DC Universe, they’d be feeling immense satisfaction from the frenzied events present in “Green Lantern” #13. Opening with a scene in the White House as the President consults Amanda Waller regarding the actions of new Green Lantern (and accused terrorist) Simon Baz. Simon himself is left on the shore of Miami Beach, with a Green Lantern ring on his hand and no way of removing it or undoing his escape from Guantanamo Bay detainment camp that was made possible by that same ring.
Further deepening the chaos is the apparent disappearance (to the rest of the world) of Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Waller and the President are left to assume that Baz may have a connection not only to terrorist activities, but to the disappearance of a notable member of the Justice League. Which, naturally, prompts a call to have the League come by for a visit. Geoff Johns is writing the replacement hero story pretty much by the numbers, but he also adds in some nice character moments for Baz and his family. We continue to get little snippets of Baz’s past, and in this issue we are also introduced more formally to his sister, Sira, and her son. As the brother of an accused terrorist, Sira is subjected to some pretty harsh and surprising treatment at work, leaving her feeling just as lost and confused as her brother. Johns does a good job selling emotions in this story and I found myself empathizing with this character that simply didn’t exist in my consciousness two months ago. Johns also throws in a quick vignette to the Third Army storyline, effectively making this issue still a tie-in, but in a “Crisis on Infinite Earths” red skies kind of way.
Doug Mahnke may be the strongest pencil artist I can think of that is currently illustrating comic books. Sure, I mean that physically (the fella is ripped!) but I mean that metaphorically as his style is distinct enough regardless of which of the five inkers are handling any number of the pages. Unfortunately, my ink fu is a little murky, so I am unable to distinguish between the subtleties of the fab five, but Mahnke’s work shines through regardless. He’s able to bring the creepy and astonishing and plant it all in a world I know. Sira’s branch of the Secretary of State looks like the one I used to go to off of Schaefer. The inkers aren’t the only platooned creative force behind this comic, which includes a tag-team duo of colorists. Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina have similar enough palettes that the book doesn’t suffer unfairly.
Yes, there have been plenty of movies/books/television shows that depict the racial profiling and unfair treatment of Arab Americans since the events of September 11, 2001, but this story adds a layer of fantastic comic book science fiction that may or may not come with a “Make It All Better” button. Baz is a real man, in real trouble (some of which he brought upon himself) with a real family who is suffering due to his actions despite their love for him. “Green Lantern” #13 is an entertaining introduction to the man wearing the ring and bearing the name of one of the world’s most recognizable heroic brands. All he has to do now is earn it.