SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for “Green Lanterns” #9, on sale now.
In “Green Lanterns” #9, Sam Humphries, Robson Rocha, Jay Leisten and Blond build on threads that began way back in “Green Lanterns: Rebirth” #1, mostly having to do with the mysterious Phantom Ring that’s factored (in some way) into each arc of the series thus far. The unconventional Power Ring is about to play a big role in the ongoing saga, while new developments in this issue indicate that a classic Green Lantern villain, and a (very sad) new face, want to get in on the action.
The Phantom Ring Is One Hot Commodity
So far, we know that the Phantom Ring is a more lenient version of the Green Lantern ring that doesn’t require a user to be pre-selected in order to harness its power. Thus, any Joe Schmo off the street can wear the ring and use its incredible abilities, the precise nature of which have yet to be pinned down in the series.
From the sounds of it, the Phantom Ring can harness multiple channels from the emotional spectrum, thus its status as an incredibly powerful and sought after device. We’ve previously seen the alien race known as the Dominators come after the ring, but after this week’s issue, it looks like there’s an even greater force that wants to get its hands on it.
Meet Frank Laminski, The Saddest Man On Earth
The issue establishes a new character named Frank Laminski, who’s basically a sadder, far more mediocre version of Hal Jordan who never got the chance to don a Green Lantern ring. Throughout the issue, Humphries and the art team delve into Laminski’s lifelong obsession with the Green Lanterns, and his unending desire to possess a ring for himself.
The story mostly chronicles the progression of Earth’s Green Lanterns — Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz — showcasing Frank’s increasing confusion as to why he’s not chosen, and his envy of the other Green Lanterns as he becomes lonelier, more obsessive and disregards every other aspect of his life. After we see Frank take to the streets as a powerless vigilante and get brutally beaten up, the poor soul stumbles back to his apartment and cries out to the universe, begging for his very own Power Ring. His calls are surprisingly answered by a mysterious figure who turns out to be someone longtime Green Lantern readers are quite familiar with…
Return of the First Lantern, Volthoom
The hooded figure greeting Frank at his saddest moment turns out to be none other than Volthoom, A.K.A. The First Lantern. Volthoom factored heavily in the last couple of story arcs of Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke’s run on “Green Lantern,” where he was introduced as an ancient force that pre-dated the Manhunters as the first being to serve as a space cop for the mischievous Guardians of the Universe. Deemed too powerful, Volthoom was eventually imprisoned, only to be brought back years later to help power the Guardians’ “ideal” replacement for the Green Lanterns, the Third Army. Escaping from the Guardians’ control, Volthoom sought to destroy Earth, until he was stopped by Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Sinestro and co. by severing his connection to the emotional spectrum with the help of the lord of the dead himself, Nekron.
Well, Volthoom is back — in his first appearance since “Rebirth.” It seems he really wants his hands on the Phantom Ring, and for whatever reason, is using Frank Laminski to get there. We don’t know how, exactly, Volthoom is going to go about his plan — whether he’ll possess Frank, or use him to get to the Phantom Ring through some devious scheme — but we imagine he has something nefarious up his sleeve. He’s definitely out to get the Guardians, but the question is, what damage will he cause along the way? And what can Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz do to stop him?
Humphries, Rocha, Leisten and Blond’s next issue, “Green Lanterns” #10, hits stands November 2.
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