Green Lantern Corps #29

I don't usually read comics just for the characters. I don't necessarily feel an obsessive need to collect continuous runs if the creators aren't doing a good job. But I did stick with "Green Lantern Corps" longer than I should have, just because I like all things Green and Lanterny, and I'm glad I did. The early issues of this series were fine, but nothing that made me eager to read more, and except for the Dave Gibbons-drawn Guy Gardner spotlight story, I didn't enjoy this series all that much. I liked the "Sinestro Corps" crossover issues, though, and ever since Peter Tomasi has settled into the writer's seat I've been reading this comic more eagerly each and every month. Tomasi has turned "Green Lantern Corps" into one of DC's best superhero comics, and I'm glad I stuck around to see it happen.

In "Green Lantern Corps" #29, Tomasi and regular artist Patrick Gleason -- who has done fine work on this series for years -- build toward next summer's "Blackest Night" event, but they do so in a way that takes advantage of the new Green Lantern mythology built by Geoff Johns. It doesn't feel like a cynical bid for higher sales. It feels like Tomasi has a story to tell about the fractures within the Corps, and with his focus on characterization over rudimentary plot progress, he's able to make the inevitable seem powerful, fascinating.

The theme of issue #29 is love, with the two main plot threads weaving thematically together, even if the characters never meet. The GL-centric thread explores the relationship between Guy Gardner and Tora, a.k.a. Ice, his former Justice League colleague and love interest. Ice has come to Oa to visit Gardner, and their romantic meal turns into a squabble as the practical Ice -- who has recently returned from the dead -- declines Gardner's offer to move in together. Tomasi's dialogue captures Gardner's pain and frustration perfectly, and Gleason -- though not subtle -- does a nice job with the body language of a lover's quarrel.

Contrasting with that, we get the longer sequence in which a couple of space-honeymooners are attacked by a rampaging Mongul, and after the man is killed and the woman left for dead, only the power of love -- the power of the Violet Lantern Corps -- can save her and lead her toward justice.

Out off all the new lantern corps, the Violet Lanterns, the Star Sapphires, seems the most potentially silly. How can a formidable threat be made out of the power of love? Tomasi does it, in a single issue, as we see how love can be the most potent force of all.

In recent months, Tomasi has given us one memorable scene after another, with a killer who targets Green Lantern families, eyeballs literally falling from the sky, a Lantern who speaks with the dead, and now this: the brutality of love, in all of its manifestations. If you haven't been reading "Green Lantern Corps," now's the time. It's never been better than it is today.

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