If you’d asked me yesterday what “Green Lantern” #53 would be like, I’d have come up with a pretty good guess. I’d have said that as the first issue post-“Blackest Night” that we’d see bits of aftermath from the crossover, but at the same time we’d see Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke start to stake out a new storyline or two. And while that’s right, there’s one thing I wouldn’t have seen coming. But to find out, you’ll have to read three other reviews next month to get the full answer.
All right, I kid. I’d never do that to you. Unfortunately, that is what we get here, with editorial notes to follow different characters and stories into “Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors” #1, “Green Lantern Corps” #48 and “Brightest Day” #1. It’s hard to not feel a little perturbed when this shows up. It’s probably too much to hope for a complete story in “Green Lantern” #53, but I certainly wasn’t expecting one to branch off into three other titles the issue after the big crossover finally concluded. This feels like a bad tease, a “gotcha!” moment played on you by the creators.
On the bright side, if you strip out the parts that aren’t to be continued in a different comic, it’s a fun issue. Hal and Carol hanging out without killer zombies gives the two of them a nice flirty rapport, as well as seeing them up in the air. The opening sequence, which looks to be setting up storylines to come, is ominous as well. Part of me feels like we’ve had enough of prophecies and the lore of multi-colored lanterns, but to give credit where it’s due, Johns is someone who makes it work. I found myself nodding in anticipation in a matter of panels.
The best part of the issue, though, is Mahnke’s art. There’s something about his beefy, robust style that I’ve found instantly appealing for many years now. When Hal’s eyes open wide at the bottom of page 9, for instance, there’s such a wonderfully dumbfounded look and feel to the image that it’s hard to not get a chuckle, just like the script wanted. And oh, the expressions for both human and alien alike on the scenes set in Metropolis. Well, if you can’t fall in love with those pages, you’re probably a little dead inside. (And really, for the first time ever, you’ll feel sorry for a Guardian after seeing how Mahnke draws the scene set in Metropolis. Trust me.)
Hopefully next month will see a stronger focus on keeping “Green Lantern” about “Green Lantern” and not all of the various spin-off titles. Still, even with that big mark against it, there’s entertainment to be had here, and I certainly got a kick out of it all. While “Blackest Night” was fun in places, it’s nice to see the dead staying buried in the pages of “Green Lantern” now.