In theory, Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and the legion of inkers that put together "Green Lantern" #14 should have had it easy. With two storylines to cut between -- the Guardians' new Third Army intended to replace the Green Lanterns, and new Green Lantern Simon Baz on the run from just about everyone -- there shouldn't have been time for either piece to feel slow. So why is it, then, that this book is lacking in energy?
Part of the problem may be new character Baz, who gets the bulk of the focus this month. At first, the book looks like it's going down a sensible route. Baz offers to be bound by Wonder Woman's truth-forcing lasso, and says he doesn't want to fight the Justice League. It's a realistic, logical path for the book to take, and promises a welcome change from "new hero meets older heroes, promptly fights them over a misunderstanding" cliche. And then, just when your guard is down, Johns promptly jumps back over to that cliche.
Ultimately, that's the problem with "Green Lantern" #14. It's nothing we haven't seen before. Even a little more frustratingly, it's stuff we've seen fairly recently. "Rise of the Third Army" has a certain similarity to storylines like "Sinestro Corps War," "Blackest Night" and " War of the Green Lanterns." That story was fun the first time and not bad the second time. With iteration number four, it feels like there's nothing special about this go-round.
Mahnke's pencils at least look nice, and considering there are four different inkers, they're fairly consistent. Moments like the Black Hand reaching for Reegal are dramatically composed, and the final page is a nice collaboration between Mahnke and colorists Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina to provide a stripped down, bleak world of grey. Mahnke is definitely putting his best effort into the script, but there's only so much he can do.
"Green Lantern" used to be a must-read each month, but right now it feels like the book is starting to spin in circles. Sinestro becoming a Green Lantern again at least held some promise of a different route, but even that seems to have faded into the background. I want to love "Green Lantern" again, but for that to happen we need something new and soon.