There is a bit of a gap between what one’s brain inevitably imagined when they saw Ethan Van Sciver’s two page spread of “The Color War” during “The Sinestro Corps War” and what has been unfolding monthly over the course of Johns’ continuing run on “Green Lantern” that’s set to lead into this summer’s “Blackest Night.” (To a lesser extent, it has also been unfolding in the well-coordinated but slightly less critical-feeling “Green Lantern Corps”.) The recent Red Lantern storyline, for example, had fine moments but felt a bit scattershot.
In the introduction of the Orange Lanterns, “Green Lantern” once again hits its stride with a strange and enormous new threat to the Green Lanterns. What’s interesting about the Orange Lanterns is that at this point, it’s almost unclear if there is a true Orange Lantern Corps, of if they are all just constructs of the ravenously greedy Larfleeze. There is a single mindedness to every “member” that makes it a bit unclear, and all the more disarming because of it.
The most remarkable aspect of the book, though, is the complete reinvention of Philip Tan as an artist. In every way that his style was dense and difficult to get a handle on in “Final Crisis: Revelations,” it is here fluid and engaging. A combination of Ethan Van Sciver’s subtle sense of exaggeration and Phil Jimenez’s eye for detail, it looks like the work of a completely different artist, one whose style has evolved a decade’s worth in a few short months. I can’t recall a more startling shift in quality in a comic book artist’s work in such a short period of time, possibly ever. He also draws a pretty wicked-looking Stel.
Along with the introduction of the Orange Lantern(s), the connection between Hal Jordan and the Blue Lanterns continues to be explored, and pieces continue to fall into place to facilitate the upcoming inevitable conflict. The storyline is finally starting pick up that sense of scope and scale that “The Sinestro Corps War” seemed to retain almost instantly when it began. Perhaps because it is a bit more difficult to give all these new Lantern Corps the proper amount of attention, it’s easier for things to get a bit more muddled. But with the introduction of such a compelling and weird threat, the ramp up to Blackest Night has regained its intensity.