I get why this, the official prologue issue to “War of the Green Lanterns,” is full of exposition. It’s the final place for Geoff Johns to lay down the groundwork for everything else that’s to come. But at the end of the day, it still makes for a slightly lackluster opening.
There’s some interesting exposition laid down here, to be fair. With Krona finally revealed as the villain in this crossover, we get a look into the early days of the Guardians of the Universe, and see just what Krona was up to even before his infamous attempt to look at the moment of creation that inadvertently broke the universe. Johns has to make Krona a bit more of a villain, after all, and at the same time we also get groundwork laid for the Red Lanterns to perhaps shift their main target of vengeance.
But once you take away that exposition, we’re left with some inter-group chatting, and an angry… book. Yes, I know. Those paper cuts can sting. But that’s unfortunately it. So while we end up a fraction wiser at the end of the issue, it’s hard to keep from also feeling a bit bored. This is supposed to drag readers in, not make them wonder what all the fuss is about.
It probably doesn’t help matters that the regular art team of Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy are replaced by a last-minute fill-in group of Ed Benes, Ardian Syaf, Rob Hunter, and Vicente Cifuentes. Benes in particular is an artist who shows it when he’s rushed, and while he can at least turn out the pages to make the deadline, it’s not showing his talent at its best. The art here ends up just being all right; a little light on the detail, even lighter on the backgrounds. But it none the less looks like a fill-in job in every sense of the word. We’ve seen a lot better from Benes, Syaf, and company.
It’s unfortunate that “War of the Green Lanterns” doesn’t have a stronger first chapter; in the past “Green Lantern” has given us stronger openings to the big storylines, and with the “Green Lantern” movie out this year a lot of attention will be on this title. Out of the gate, it’s a less-than-graceful first step.