All of the DC Universe titles should be written by Peter J. Tomasi. Seriously. I read (and reviewed) three of his books this week and it is a true testament to his skills as a writer that he is able to deliver such enjoyable stories in titles as divergent as “Batman and the Outsiders,” “Nightwing,” and “Green Lantern Corps.” Of the three, Tomasi has the most familiarity with the Corps, having been connected to the book editorially before his foray as a full-time freelance writer. I don’t know that that necessarily equates to improved writing, but this book is well crafted.
Dealing with the fallout from the battle with Kryb, members of the Corps have returned to Oa to replenish their batteries and recharge their weary souls. At the same time, Mongul — self proclaimed leader of the Sinestro Corps — has conquered Daxam, which is certain to draw the attention of at least one emerald ringbearer. Soranik Natu and Kyle Rayner test the boundaries of the Guardians’ new laws and Rayner accepts a new challenge. Green Lantern Saarek has an encounter with Star Sapphire Miri Riam.
Gleason delivers the absolute goods on art. This man is a machine and his efforts on “Green Lantern Corps” should be lauded and held high. Maybe there could be a Patrick Gleason Corps whose color is awesome. To get a sample of what I mean, simply look at the first page: pain and suffering, violence and gore without being overly gory. Plus Mongul uses the Daxam flag to wipe the remnants off his boots. This might be a lost action with many other artists, but it is standard fare for Gleason. Like his old pal Doug Mahnke, Patrick Gleason makes the worlds he draws seem lived in and used. Any artist needing a lesson in detail, grit, and making things looked real and tangible should check in with Patrick Gleason.
As an extra bonus, this issue begins to pave the asphalt path to “Blackest Night.” As the first part of a storyline titled “Emerald Eclipse,” small clues, bits of foreshadowing and battle lines are all placed on exhibition. There is infighting — from Rayner and Natu testing the limits of the new law, to Gardner once more speaking his mind to Arkillo, squaring up for the a battle to the death against Mongul for the right to rule the Sinestro Corps. There is hope — as Sodam Yat’s mother finds him. There is fear — as all of Daxam cowers under the might of Mongul and his Corps, called to operate from Daxam.
This issue steps a little further into the Blackest Night with the most natural feeling “Origins & Omens” segment in the DC line this week. The segment follows Kyle Rayner’s task of memorializing the history of the Lanterns in a mural. Originally side-by-side with Guy Gardner, Rayner soon finds most of the GLC want to at least help this task get started. How the mural will finish out is yet to be seen, as the Omens segment did not portray the finished mural, but rather the continued trials awaiting the Lanterns — from a juvenalian Sinestro Corps to the possible return of Jade and the treatment of Lanterns are lepers. I just hope the black footprints left by a member of the Honor Guard turns out to be a red herring.
This is a dense issue, fraught with space operatics and imagery aplenty, seemingly impassable to new readers. If those readers have a modicum of knowledge about the DC Universe, they should be able to jump in at this point, but they should be warned, this is not the shallow side of the DC Universe pool. At no point are any of the Lanterns addressed by their complete name, nor are we given the summarized history of events to this point. That said, with a title like this, it is presume that readers have an idea of what they are getting into. The water, for now, is calm and should allow readers to get their bearings, but soon, the waters are going to get very choppy and I don’t think “Blackest Night” will be new reader accessible at all.
Completely serendipitously, this issue hit the stands during Valentine’s week. The feelings and emotions in the book struck me as quite cleverly placed in relationship to Hallmark’s calendar and almost inspired me enough to draw up multi-colored Valentines for those around me. Unfortunately, I’m not sure which color is supposed to represent patience, as that’s the Valentine I’d send to my esteemed editor here.