“Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors” has been a slightly problematic title since it began; its mix of characters and plots hasn’t felt terribly interesting, a surprise after Peter J. Tomasi’s great run on “Green Lantern Corps.” With this issue, it’s in a curious quandary. I feel like this is one of the better issues of the series to date, but overall it’s still disappointing.
The continuing problem with “War of the Green Lanterns” is a lack of anything of substance happening. We’re six chapters into the story now, and once again we get a couple pages of action (a quick and unsatisfying resolution to last issue’s cliffhanger) followed by a lot of talking. We’re still in set-up mode at this point (oh look, a new mysterious weapon!), despite the fact that we should be entering the big climax shortly.
Part of the problem is a lack of any sort of spark between Earth’s four Green Lanterns in this comic. Conflicts don’t seem to have much energy (positive or negative), and we get more “I think I’m going to do this” moments out of the blue than any strong progression of motive and strategy. These are four seasoned heroes who have at various times commanded other Green Lanterns and superheroes, so why when they all get together are they feeling like a group of chickens with their heads cut off?
The strange thing is that I am starting to feel like if you sliced out the middle portions of each chapter, we’d end up with a more engaging overall story. “Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors” #9 has a couple of exciting opening pages, and a promising final two pages. If these were somehow the first seven pages of another comic (we’ll leave out the abrupt transition that would result), with the remaining thirteen pages being just as high-energy, this would be a lot of fun. Instead we keep getting visits from the exposition fairy, and the sneaking suspicion that a lot of this should’ve been established much earlier.
Fernando Pasarin and Cam Smith are definitely turning in their best art on the series to date. The opening splash of the Green Lantern Corps attacking our heroes is fun, and the interior of Oa’s hidden lair looks sufficiently big and cool. And while I suspect they were designed by Doug Mahnke (based on their earlier appearance), Pasarin keeps the villains popping up on the final page looking sufficiently creepy and startling. He’s not quite as good with the sitting around talking scenes, and John Stewart’s Indigo Tribe outfit manages to somehow look even more ludicrous here than it has in past issues (no small feat). Still, overall it’s a step in the right direction.
“War of the Green Lanterns” continues to disappoint, a phrase I’d have found unthinkable a year ago. A strong third act could help matters, but all in all this is not the storyline that seems like a strong lead-up to the “Green Lantern” film this year. Wherever all of these books’ energy has gone, someone needs to find it and quickly.