Patrick Gleason’s a fine artist of the Doug Mahnke school, but sometimes his characters can look a bit too deranged. Luckily, that’s not a problem in this comic at all, and his slightly askew layouts and demonic visages are the perfect complement to a story about weirdo Lanterns of Many Colors and the green-clad guardsmen who must keep the interstellar peace. There’s one really oddly composed panel with Sodam Yat and his father, their faces overlapping into a single, Picasso-eque profile, but other than that bit off visual strangeness, the rest of this issue looks like the Gleason that makes this series such an off-beat artistic treat.
And Rebecca Buchman is the best inker Gleason has had on “Green Lantern Corps,” with her thick brushwork providing the hearty holding lines that give weight to Gleason’s human and alien figures.
So we’ve got the art firing on all of the intergalactic cylinders, but what about the story? It’s billed as a “Prelude to ‘Blackest Night,'” and it’s part three of a presumably five-part “Green Lantern Corps” arc (although the DC website unhelpfully claims both issues #36 and #37 to be the “penultimate chapter,” so they either don’t know what “penultimate” means, or the latter issue is just identified incorrectly), but how does it work as a single unit of narrative?
The answer is that it works pretty well. Sure, as part of the larger buildup to this summer’s Geoff Johns-helmed event, “Green Lantern Corps” #35 is fantastic — escalating the conflict and showing the little struggles within the overarching, growing badness — but as a single issue it’s got enough stuff going on to make it a compelling chapter. Nothing is resolved in this issue, of course, but it’s the middle of something much larger, and resolutions would fail to keep the plot momentum that this series has built up in recent months. Like the best serialized comics, “Green Lantern Corps” #35 moves briskly and satisfyingly toward even greater perils, and the character moments give us enough of an emotional core to latch on to.
While there’s nothing particularly remarkable about this issue, Peter Tomasi gives us enough cross-cutting (from the Sciencells on Oa, where a rampaging Red Lantern slaughters Green and Yellow Lanterns alike, to Daxam, where a Sinestro Corps siege has Sodam Yat in ultra-savior mode, to Korugar, where Soranik tries to keep the populace from cowering in fear) and enough physical and psychological action to keep things whisking toward future calamity.
Sinestro’s Hitler haircut might be a bit much, but “Green Lantern Corps” #35 is a salvo in a cosmic war, and it’s suitably epic. And we’re not even close to “Blackest Night” yet. That bodes, and it bodes well.