Green Lantern #11

"Green Lantern" #11 features the first chapter of "The Revenge of Black Hand," which is everything readers would expect and just a bit more. The comic opens with Sinestro and Hal Jordan on Nok with a dramatically shifting dynamic between them during the opening scene. Sure, Sinestro is still rather prickly and Jordan is boastful beyond his worthiness, but it's exactly the type of buddy flick drama Geoff Johns has brought to this series from the first issue.

As with a majority of the series, the focus is on the continued development of Sinestro, who is now convinced the Guardians intend to discard the Green Lantern Corps and raise what Sinestro dubs "The Third Army" -- conveniently enough, the title of the next major story arc that stretches between the rainbow of Lantern titles. Johns' focus on Sinestro no longer frustrates me and this issue offers more than a few reasons as to why Thaal Sinestro is the more interesting Green Lantern.

It isn't only the writing that augments Sinestro's appeal as Doug Mahnke and his starting lineup of inkers continue to draw up some of the most grotesquely detailed characters Green Lantern has ever fought. The gunk on Black Hand's teeth and chin is disgusting and unavoidable and his dinner with his parents is creepier than anything I've read this year. It has a quality not unlike James Robinson's classic "Talking With David" issues from "Starman," but goes in a much more decidedly disturbing direction.

Mahnke's work is strong throughout the issue. Some of the scenes are light on background, but those scenes are also heavier on emotion or dialog, so it works nicely. Other scenes, however, including a possibly hallucinatory collage image that clearly depicts future events, are so filled with detail and minutiae that the only way to properly respect the quantity of work is to study and analyze the image after reading the entire comic. Like the teaser images DC used to unleash on the internet during "Blackest Night" and "Brightest Day," there's so much more to this picture than a cursory glance would reveal.

Given that this is a Geoff Johns-written book near the end of its first year, this image might also be similar to the final page Johns would use in titles like "Booster Gold" "Justice Society of America" and "Adventure Comics." Like those stories, the final panels here are vertically oriented. However, this image doesn't appear on the final page of the issue, which is saved for a cliffhanger that reunites Black Hand and a pair of Green Lanterns.

I'm not sure why I chose to come back to the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe now, but this issue of "Green Lantern" certainly made the visit worth my while. "Blackest Night" was an enjoyable event title that I'm still rather fond of and the possible sequel teased in this issue is a welcome addition. With Mahnke's stunning visuals and Sinestro wielding the green power ring, this has the makings of yet another memorable "Green Lantern" story.

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