Green Lantern #42

It's almost hard to believe that "Green Lantern" has been building up to the "Blackest Night" event for several years now. Looking back at Geoff Johns's run on "Green Lantern," though, it's easier than ever to see how each issue has moved the characters one step closer to out-and-out war. Now that we've almost arrived, though, things are happening at an almost breakneck pace. It's a great payoff for people who've been reading for a while, but it might be a tiny bit overwhelming if this is your first issue.

Still, with the conclusion of "Agent Orange," Johns has succeeded in making the power of the Orange Lantern a little more dangerous than it first seemed. Agent Orange himself still feels a little too one-note, but if one of the Lantern colors needs to be nothing more than a big slavering monster -- he's to "Green Lantern" what the crocodile is to "Peter Pan," with those ever-open jaws just waiting to take a bite -- he's a good a foe as any. If nothing else, with so many Lanterns either pro- or anti-Green, it's nice to have a new piece on the playing field that is a true rogue element, dangerous to anything that crosses its path.

I also can't help but think that we're seeing the set-up for the conclusion of "Blackest Night" over here, especially when you think about how many different colors Hal Jordan has now wielded. (I can't wait to see him in a Star Sapphire midriff baring outfit, incidentally. Hope he's been working on those crunches.) This is a good thing, though; if there is some sort of uber-Lantern power being set-up to destroy the Black Lanterns, well, it's nice for there to be some sort of history so it'll make sense when Hal Jordan becomes a White Lantern to destroy the darkness once and for all. Or something like that. (At this point I'm almost hoping it's nothing more than a red herring, and that's something I wouldn't put past Johns.) Between all of Hal's transformations, and an excellent confrontation between new Star Sapphire Fatality and Green Lantern John Stewart, well, I'm getting excited about "Blackest Night."

The pencils in this latest issue are split between Philip Tan and Eddy Barrows, and while I think both have done better in the past (Tan's other issues of "Green Lantern" have given me hope for his upcoming stint on "Batman & Robin"), it's certainly not bad. The art does seem a little muddy here, though, and surprisingly lacking in finer detail on a bunch of pages. Nei Ruffino and Rod Reis do the best they can to bring it all to life, but I can't help but think that they're looking forward to not having to use their orange color palette again for a while. There sure is a lot of orange going on here.

With the Red and Yellow Lantern powers running around in "Green Lantern Corps," and Orange and Blue and Violet here, well, is it any small surprise that "Blackest Night" is almost here? This is a fun way to lead into an "event" book, and it feels much more natural than a lot of other prequel attempts we've seen over the past few years. Here's to the dead returning!

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