The Alpha-Lanterns have been one of the stranger additions to the Green Lantern mythos over the past few years, so it doesn’t surprise me that Tony Bedard decided to tackle it first when taking over “Green Lantern Corps.” Tying them into Hank Henshaw (the Cyborg Superman) was certainly an odd choice, but over the past few issues, I think he’s justified his idea well enough to make it stick. Now that we’re at the conclusion, though, it’s good… but it also makes me feel like things got tied off a little too easily in some spots.
Part of what I liked about the earlier chapters of “Revolt of the Alpha-Lanterns” was how we were reminded that Henshaw’s goal isn’t quite like most other super-villains. At the end of the day, all he craves now is to finally die. A character seeking oblivion but unable to get it is one of the more interesting motivations out there, and I appreciated that Bedard didn’t lose sight of that. So on the one hand, you have a villain who just wants to be destroyed. But on the other hand, his methods are unethical at best. It’s a mixture of pity and revulsion that makes Hank Henshaw still stand out unlike so many others.
It’s a little frustrating, then, that Bedard seems to lose track of that about a third of the way through the issue. As the heroes prepare their final assault, Henshaw suddenly reverts from the monster who wants to die into a more stereotypical bad guy. It’s too bad, because I liked what Bedard was doing with Henshaw up until this point, but having him go into generic baddie mode certainly helps provide a slightly simpler conclusion.
Likewise, the Alpha-Lanterns seem wrapped up a little too neatly this issue. It’s not a perfect, all-happily-ever-after point, but at the same time it’s pretty darn close. I don’t think I’d have minded so much except it gives some characters a bit of a pass that they might not deserve. I’m not objecting to Bedard’s ultimate decision on what to do with the Alpha-Lanterns, but rather that it just felt too easy.
“Green Lantern Corps” #52 is Ardian Syaf’s last issue on the book, with him heading over to “Birds of Prey” shortly. He’s grown into the title quickly, and I’ll miss his depictions of the characters. He’s best at the strange and out of the ordinary, like the unmasked Alpha-Lantern face (such as it is) of Boodikka, or the various alien Green Lantern members. That’s not to say that his humans aren’t good too, but they seem a little more average and nothing special. Still, he’s done a good job on his short time here, and he’ll definitely be missed.
At the end of the day, I think Bedard’s proven that he was the right choice for “Green Lantern Corps.” Outer space superhero stories seem to be his forte (especially with books like “Negation” and “R.E.B.E.L.S.”), and he’s bringing enough imagination and fun into the book here that I’ll be back next month to see what else he’s got in store for us. Peter J. Tomasi’s run was a strong one, but Bedard definitely has the talent to follow him.