One of the things I’ve liked about Geoff Johns’ “Green Lantern” run has been that each big story has built on the previous one. So “Sinestro Corps War” eventually lead into “Blackest Night,” and now we’re moving into… well, that’s a good question. But since the conclusion of “Blackest Night,” even disregarding the “Brightest Day” mini-series, “Green Lantern” has been quietly setting up a big new storyline involving the entities that are at the core of each of the colored lanterns.
So with that in mind, the latest issue of “Green Lantern” builds on that a great deal, bringing the Blue Lantern entity Adara to Earth, even as the Red Lantern entity called the Butcher continues its rampage, and the Predator from the Star Sapphires is focused on as well. It’s a lot of set-up, in short, positioning each of the beings for the next “Green Lantern” epic. So on the one hand, it doesn’t feel like a terribly lot of plot development happens; it’s a lot of shuffling characters around and giving slow reveals.
On the other hand, though, the part of “Green Lantern” #58 that deals with the appearance of Adara is one of the most satisfying pieces of story we’ve had in the past few months. The scene leading up to Adara’s manifestation is a slight cliche (a kidnapped girl in the basement of a madman), but it’s the calmness of the prisoner and her demeanor that grabbed my attention. A lot of that has to do with Doug Mahnke’s pencils here, giving Nicole a great series of expressions that include calmness, determination, and (most importantly) hope. Her attempted escape is short but tense, and the aftermath is drawn just as beautifully. Johns and Mahnke give a lot of punch to the scenes with Nicole and Adara, and they’re what I want to see a follow-through on, more than anything else.
Mahnke has done a great job on “Green Lantern” since taking over for Ivan Reis, and this issue is no exception. One of Mahnke’s greatest strengths is that he’s able to both draw exaggerated characters as well as tight, controlled ones, depending on what the script calls for. Atrocitus is about as over the top as it gets here, with his dozens of teeth, bulging veins, and demonic expressions. Compare him to the regal unveiling of Adara, and it’s clearly still the same artist but drawn in such a way that the two end up serving as a sharp (and deliberate) contrast. And as always, Mahnke draws great action; the escape scene from the basement is only six panels long but packs in a huge amount of energy and tension. Mahnke was a great choice for “Green Lantern,” and I love seeing him draw a book I like every month.
“Green Lantern” might be a little slow right now as the story about the Lantern entities continues to gear up, but it’s still proving to be entertaining. I don’t mind a slow burn so long as each issue as a sequence as good as the one involving Adara. I’m definitely getting my money’s worth here.