Green Lantern #54

With "Blackest Night" out of the way, I was ready to walk away from this title. After all, "Green Lantern" had served its purpose as the companion piece to the "Blackest Night" story. Now, however, it seems as though this book is set to be a companion for "Brightest Day."

The issue opens with a reminder that Red Lanterns really are not the nicest of the color guard. Dex-Starr -- the anti-G'nort -- paws his way onto a subway train, and has brought Atrocitus with him. Conveniently enough, the duo arrive (or are drawn in) by a hold-up. With plenty of rage to fuel their fire, the Red Lanterns make short work of the thugs.

Meanwhile, Star Sapphire and Green Lantern attempt to dislodge the White Lantern (haven't they been working on this for months, or does it just seem that way because the story has been repeated from "Brightest Day" to here?) with the assistance of Sinestro. As the three touch the Lantern at the same time, visions are presented to drive the plot forward and to finally give us the names of the entities who power the various rings. We knew of the Predator powering the Star Sapphires, but Larfleeze's Orange Lantern is fueled by the serpent-like Ophidian. A combination between King Ghidorah and Rhodan, named Adara, is the source of the Blue Lanterns while Proselyte shares the hue of the Indigo Tribe. The Butcher mirrors the visage of Atrocitus himself.

During these visions, Mahnke brings each of these entities to life, but the vision of the twelve returned characters is simply brilliant. Mahnke has been a very strong addition to Team Green, and he brings a strong level detail to his work here. As solid as Doug Mahnke has been drawing this book, this issue would not have been anywhere near as gorgeous without the coloring prowess of Randy Mayor, who gives the illuminated characters a glow that is radiant without being heavy-handed. The characters glow when they use their power rings, as they should. Visually, this title is in very capable hands. If Ivan Reis hadn't preceded Mahnke on this title, I would not hesitate to say this is the best this book has ever looked.

Johns continues to drop little mysteries on "Green Lantern" readers, as seen in previous issues, the quest of a diminutive individual seeking the emotional entities for his/her own agenda continues here. Having already secured (with chains!) the Parallax, the mysterious entity collector pays a visit to Sodam Yat to claim Ion. This, of course produces disastrous results for Daxam.

Sinestro, Star Sapphire, and Green Lantern head to New York to have words with Atrocitus. Just when it seems to be degenerating into a tussle between the various rings, the issue ends, not with a standard-issue Geoff Johns cliffhanger, but with the return of comic fandom's favorite (to love or to hate) characters.

I didn't catch it on my first read of this issue, but on the second pass, when Atrocitus makes his dramatic entrance, it appears as though the Red Lantern symbol on his chest is actually an emblem emblazoned with the word "mom," not unlike a stereotypical prisoner's tattoo.

While the edges (and plots) between "Green Lantern" and "Brightest Day" seem to be blurring and overlapping a bit, the story remains entertaining. This isn't going to be the must-read ultimate classic of the century, but it is unhindered widescreen comic book goodness. I've mentioned "summer comics" in my reviews before. "Green Lantern" is definitely among the best on the racks for the pure entertainment factor of "summer comics." I'm not letting this go anytime soon.

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