I’m just fine with a briskly paced story. Sure, there are good stories out there that take their time and slowly let things spin out over time (“S.H.I.E.L.D.” and the manga “Aria” are two that leap to mind, despite being radically different in all other ways) but I’m just as happy to see the story be compressed as I am decompressed, instead of picking sides. That said, the latest issue of “Green Lantern” appears to have a peculiar problem. Most of the individual issue feels immensely slow, and then just as quickly it feels like things are moving too quickly. Now that’s no easy feat.
After last month’s issue of “Green Lantern” introduced the young girl that became possessed by Adara, the Blue Lantern hope entity, things had come to a head with the Flash showing up to try and stop it and Green Lantern. This month? The big confrontation turns into ten pages of people chatting back and forth. Never mind that there are still crowds (including the parents of the girl who’s now possessed) clustered around the house, along with the police. Nope, it’s time to stop and spill out a lot of exposition, both about the entities as well as the personal histories of Flash and Green Lantern.
This sequence manages to stop the book’s momentum dead in its tracks; for a creator who’s normally much better about this sort of thing, Geoff Johns manages to make a lot of this issue of “Green Lantern” a tiny bit boring. This is all material that you can’t help but think would normally come out over time, rather than just getting dumped on the reader. And then, in the second half of the issue, everything goes into overdrive. Suddenly we’ve got three of the entities on the scene, Lanterns of four different colors, and even a few bad guys. It’s overload.
The more you look at this issue, the more it looks like the big problem is that it’s starting to try and push through everything a bit too quickly. At an overall slower pace, we’d have had more room for the exposition to show up in time. The entities wouldn’t be popping up faster than heads in a Whack-a-Mole game. After the gradual build-up we got that led up to “Blackest Night” in the pages of “Green Lantern,” this feels like it’s moving a bit too quickly, racing towards the conclusion.
The frustrating thing is, there’s some good material in here. I think most “Green Lantern” readers (myself included) have been interested in learning more about the Indigo Tribe ever since their enigmatic first appearance, and “Green Lantern” #59 is finally unleashing some information on how their powers work. What started out as a savior group for the Green Lanterns has turned into something that appears to be far less trustworthy and more nasty than we’d thought. It’s a great story hook, but it’s crammed into an issue with another half-dozen things in those same final few pages.
One thing that does work from start to finish is, unsurprisingly, Doug Mahnke’s pencils. His big muscular pencils continue to tread a fine line between eerie and beautiful, and that is exactly as it should be. The Indigo Tribe in particular come across as unearthly in this issue, especially with their member recruited in the first few pages. And then, once a third entity shows up this issue, well, it’s an art extravaganza. It’s never looked quite so terrifying and dangerous before, and for a book that deals so much with alien life forms, Mahnke is the perfect choice.
“Green Lantern” #59 isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a bad comic, but it is unfortunately an uneven one. There’s a lot of good ideas in here, and some parts that will definitely be on the minds of readers until the next issue. But with such an erratic pace, it makes me wish that those issues had been smoothed out first.