This issue starts off with Black Lantern Pariah raising up an entire planet: the planet Xanshi. John Stewart — Green Lantern 2814.2 — is there to witness the reassembly of one of his greatest failures. The rest of the universe is almost as lucky. This issue gives us some more battles in the War of Light. Zamaron is under siege from the Sinestro Corps who are seeking to reclaim their captured comrades before the Zamarons can convert the captured Sinestro Corps members to Star Sapphires. Sinestro, himself, engages Carol Ferris in battle, which leads to some more revelations about Sinestro.
Johns puts a great deal of focus on Hal Jordan’s former allies and enemies in the battle between Star (Carol) Sapphire and Sinestro. He then spins around the rest of the universe to catch up on the other battles, leaving very little room for any substantive Green Lantern appearances. Despite that, this issue is an engaging read that offers plenty of action and excitement. Mahnke feeds off of that excitement and gives us visuals that press the boundaries of the page. Mahnke’s art has an edge of creepiness to it and when the creepy Black Lanterns appear, everything else seems “normal” in comparison. Sinestro, for example, is creepy and conniving, but next to the Black Lanterns that show up on Zamaron, he’s Brad Pitt.
Mahnke’s art is given room to shine as the dead rise on Ysmault, Qward, Okaara, and Oa in addition to the aforementioned Zamaron. The planet Odym, home of the Blue Lanterns, does not host any Black Lanterns, but the rings circle about the planet, like vultures waiting to reap the benefits of the battle between Agent Orange and the Blue Lanterns. Scar’s continuing dialog with the evil off-screen voice shines some light on the big bad’s quest to claim or shut down all of the various Lanterns. With Black Lanterns attacking (or in Oa’s case conquering) the homeworlds of the various Corps, the “Blackest Night” seems near its pinnacle.
This story has been building quite nicely and while Hal Jordan might be absent from this title this month, I certainly don’t feel as though I missed him. Without him, this issue feels almost like supplemental material to a greater story elsewhere, but the fact that “supplemental material” can be this enticing a read speaks volumes for the great story that Geoff Johns and crew have offered up to us.