Green Lantern Corps #24 Review
on October 9, 2013
Oh. My. Soul!
Green Lantern Corps #24 is… immense. It just might be the best Green Lantern comic I’ve ever read. Those who read my Green Lantern #24 review will likely remember me having several problems with that issue. On every point Green Lantern #24 fails, Green Lantern Corps #24 excels with flying colors. This issue is how Green Lantern #24 should have been.
I know there are going to be people out there who will accuse me of scoring a “Hal Jordan comic” low, while I heap praises upon a “John Stewart comic,” because of personal bias regarding the characters. That’s not what it’s about. While John Stewart is a spectacular character, I’ve read many a bland issue featuring him. Who really deserves credit for this awe-inspiring cosmic outing, naturally, is the creative team. They are writer Van Jensen, artist Bernard Chang, and colorist Marcelo Maiolo.
I am stunned at what Van Jensen is able to pack into a twenty page comic. All the happenings, all the emotions, all the great character moments, all the action… It is mind blowing. Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo take his script and really go to town! There are all kinds of brilliant things to see in this issue.
This story is part two of the “Lights Out” crossover, and picks right up where Green Lantern #24 left off. Jensen throws us right into the action and succinctly tells readers what they need to know to understand what is happening in this comic, whether they’ve read Green Lantern #24, or not. No long recaps, no memories, Jensen gets right to the point, right to what we paid to see.
The gargantuan villain Relic basically says to the Green Lanterns, “I blew up your Central Power Battery, but since your rings still hold a charge, I’m going to kill you unless you surrender them.”
Afterward, Salaak more or less says that the Lanterns need to leave Oa, because without the Battery, the planet is doomed.
That’s it! That’s all we need to know, then we get into it! Jensen uses one panel to do that! It is not rushed, nor is it awkward. It is concise and to the point! It is tight!
Van Jensen has John Stewart doing all kinds of awesome things this issue, and Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo step up to the plate to deliver stunning visuals.
Hal Jordan continues to act impulsive and stupid. He refuses to heed Salaak and leaps into battle against Relic again. John doesn’t agree with Hal’s strategy, but decides to back Hal up so the idiot doesn’t have to go in alone, because John is a bro.
Van Jensen’s take on John Stewart is possibly the best. John Stewart has great feats and awesome constructs all throughout this issue, but is far from seeming “infallibly awesome.” In his initial attack, he forms a helicopter armed with many missiles. Despite the construct being cool, it’s met with defeat, and Relic sends John and Hal flying into a building.
Suddenly, a terrible earthquake rattles Oa, splitting the ground asunder, signaling that the planet is giving way.
This is another moment where John shines strongly. Hal continues being a blockhead, going on about how Green Lanterns don’t run and they’re going to stay and fight, I suppose relying on his “awesomeness” to win the day. John points out that if they commit to that tactic they’re going to lose all the Green Lanterns on Oa, or most of them. John, thinking back to military history and tactics, brings up the Nez Perce War and how the Tribe Chief Joseph led his people on a retreat to Canada and attempted to keep the U.S. Army at bay with small strikes instead of direct confrontations, in an effort to allow his people time to escape.
John volunteers to take some of the recruits to occupy Relic, thus giving the rest of the Corps an opportunity to flee Oa. Hal Jordan reluctantly agrees.
I’m so impressed at how Van Jensen incorporates the best of John Stewart. He is thoughtful, looking for solutions to problems, like his Mosaic self. He is a strong field commander, employing his knowledge of military tactics and strategy, like his Justice League self. And we’ve seen him use his architectural skills in issue #22, when he was repairing the dam at Nellewel 3. Van Jensen unleashes the full potential of John Stewart in a way no one else has.
Hal Jordan is concerned for the wounded, and Salaak proposes to take them to safety. He tells Jordan to send them to the Citadel and he’ll take care of the rest. Salaak knows about a secret escape plan within the Citadel that the old Guardians had installed in case the planet was ever compromised.
John Stewart displays his strong leadership ability.
Hal uses his ring to issue the command for retreat to all Lanterns. This scene illustrates that the battle is going on all over the Oan city. A problem I had with Green Lantern #24 is that the battle seemed like it was not a huge confrontation, but was concentrated in only one spot, because the rest of the Corps seemed left out of it. Van Jensen gets across the idea that all Lanterns are occupied and fighting Relic’s energy collecting drones all throughout Oa.
Van Jensen is sure to address spots that some may not even readily wonder about, like the infirm, the non-Lantern support staff, and the prisoners within the Science Cells.
Within the Citadel, Salaak encounters the Templar Guardians, who seem to be collecting data. They say they are there to learn what they can of their old brethren so that they don’t make the same mistakes. They tell Salaak to save the Citadel if possible before departing to find Kyle Rayner, the White Lantern, saying they must ensure his safety. Perhaps Kyle Rayner will somehow be the key to the continuance of the Green Lantern Corps now that the Central Power Battery is gone.
Going along with conveying all the Lanterns are occupied in a desperate struggle, Jensen employs the technique of using small side panels to show various Lanterns (and Relic) locked in battle. This delivery continues for pages and pages, but never gets in the way of the core focus. Van Jensen does an incredible job of engrossing readers in a believably dire situation.
It turns out the Citadel doubles as a rocket ship and Salaak blasts into space with Soranik Natu, her support staff, and the wounded, which includes Fatality.
The issue kicks butt from beginning to end, but it swings into high gear when John Stewart and the recruits make huge constructs that they pilot from within, which they use to take the fight to Relic.
Jruk and Feska share an interesting exchange when Feska asks him why they are chosen for this task, seeing as how they barely know how to use their rings. Jruk brings out that they are fighting to distract, not to win, realizing that they are expendable.
Bernard Chang stuns with a beautiful page showing all the Lanterns in their constructs, tall and proud, with Relic across from them, standing defiantly to face them in the battleground of the Oan city.
John Stewart and the Lantern recruits gear up to take an offensive against Relic.
Employing more tactics, John Stewart intentionally tries to get Relic’s goat by saying he’s going to use as much light as he can and that he doesn’t care if he destroys the universe doing so. And then the battle’s on!
This scene gives me the impression of watching the best Zord battle from the best Power Rangers in history (for those who don’t know, Zords are their giant robots). I say that in the most complimentary way possible. There are so many clever and gripping moments during the battle; from the detail of all the giant constructs, to the way Relic lines up his disk shaped energy collectors in formation. Relic proves to be an extremely tough opponent, but the Green Lanterns get their first good shot in on him when they…
Do exactly what I suggested in the previous review for Green Lantern #24, and HIT RELIC WITH A BUILDING!
Bashing Relic with a tower gains the Lanterns his full attention. He assembles all his small energy collecting drones to battle John Stewart and the recruits, thus freeing up all other Lanterns on Oa, giving them a clear path to escape.
Meanwhile, Voz, the Green Lantern warden, has stayed behind on Oa, not sure what to do with all his prisoners in the Science Cells. Hal Jordan, via ring, orders Voz to let them go and take all the space ships in Oa’s impound yard to get to safety, and for Voz to leave as well. I won’t be surprised if we see repercussions from having the prisoners released into space again. Also, Kanjar-Ro pops up as one of the recently freed criminals. Perhaps we’ll see him causing trouble in future issues!
Once Hal and the rest of the Corps are clear of Oa, he communicates with John, telling Stewart to disengage Relic and retreat. Relic doesn’t make it easy, however, when he involves his space ship in the fight, and sends grappling tendrils to fasten onto the Lanterns’ constructs and drain their ring power. John continues to competently command the battle, but it’s clear the Lanterns are losing desperately.
There is a truly surprising moment when fan favorite Lantern Jruk…
Loses an arm in the battle!
Furthermore, Ergann, the old nomad from Rojira, tells John to take the others away while he occupies Relic. John is not having it, believing that all the rookies are his responsibility. Ergann reasons with John, telling the senior Lantern that he’s lived a blessed life, and now he’s old and sick. Before the ring found him, he had already made his peace. He just asks that John do one thing for him, which is perform a customary rite…
Ergann takes on Relic as his power drains, allowing the other Lanterns an opportunity to retreat, and… Oa explodes.
John Stewart salutes Ergann, and says the words:
“May death come on swift feet. May your spirit ever wander.”
Those are the words Ergann’s people told him when he settled down to die right before the ring found him in Green Lantern Corps #21.
With the Central Power Battery destroyed, as well as Oa, Relic is quite satisfied with himself, and takes to the stars in his ship, saying that he’s collected enough energy to do what he must.
Instead of rendezvousing with the rest of the Green Lantern Corps, John Stewart and the recruits set off to meet with the Indigo Tribe…
Van Jensen is proving to be one of the best Green Lantern writers of all time. I’ll just get it out there and say that if he keeps up this level of quality -and I have no reason to think that he can’t after consistently knocking it out the park- he will be my favorite! All of his issues have been exemplary. Well above average. Surprisingly great! And this one here takes the cake!
No, Van Jensen is not paying me. No, I’m not a family member of his. No, I’m not just saying this because this is John Stewart’s comic book. And no, I’m not secretly Van Jensen. I’m just giving credit where credit is due, and this man is seriously consistently writing the best Green Lantern comics I’ve read.
There is never a slow moment, each issue is chalk full of excellent character development, excellent character growth, awesome battles, and important things happen every issue. From Green Lantern Corps #21 on, the creative team has never left me thinking, “Man, this would be better if they did this, that, and this.”
I don’t have many suggestions for this book. The only suggestion I have is very, very small, and that’s to make John’s eyes glow green more. Make his eye color a brighter green, like perhaps what is seen on his uniform. That’s all… There are some things I would like to see happen, but that’s just appeasing my inner fan wishes and is in no way indicative of the quality of the story being told here.
Marcelo Maiolo’s imaginative and dazzling coloring makes this book way easy on the eyes.
Speaking of giving credit where it’s due, Bernard Chang and Marcelo Maiolo continue to do marvelous work together. Green Lantern Corps has a very fresh, cartoon-like style that suits the book perfectly. It is vibrant, alive, and… very welcoming. Though the art looks like a really well done cartoon show, it never sacrifices detail. There is a lot of energy and vigor, which is something I feel Billy Tan and Alex Sinclair’s work on Green Lantern lacks some. Sinclair’s colors are often sleepy in Green Lantern. There is an odd blue tint over much of his work. Open up Green Lantern #24 and it should be plain as day. In GLC, the colors are bright, but not garish. The comic has a sparkling, vivacious look that I find extremely alluring.
There are many, many high spots in this particular issue. An example being a beautiful splash of Hal Jordan leading the Green Lanterns off Oa while John’s battle with Relic rages in the far background. Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring is so superb here.
Bernard Chang draws many of the characters we don’t see him draw in this book regularly, including Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, and Kyle Rayner. Hal and Carol look great. Kyle Rayner proves to be a difficult character for many artists to get right. The only artist I’ve seen draw this character in his White Lantern uniform to where it looked okay is Brad Walker, the regular penciller on New Guardians.
Not only is Green Lantern Corps the best written Green Lantern title on the market today, it’s the best looking one as well!
This issue is exciting, triumphant, thrilling, beautiful, sad, and… overall very gripping.
I am extremely excited for the future, as that I’m confident the team can do even better than what they’re displaying here. The only time I believe there was any kind of dip was issue #22. It was miles and miles from being bad, but I felt the previous issue was better. However, I thought #23 was the best, and then this one is even better than that!
Green Lantern Corps is shaping up to be the highest quality Green Lantern book I’ve seen. As I mentioned in my review for issue #21, the only people I would expect not to care for it at all, are those with a very strong bias against John Stewart for whatever reason (and yes, those people exist).
John Stewart fans, however, should be in hog heaven with Van Jensen’s Green Lantern Corps! His run is a MUST READ for any fan of John Stewart, and the quality is so high that any comic book fan, or sci-fi fan, or super hero fan should greatly enjoy this, too.
If you’re not reading Green Lantern Corps, get your butt out there and get it from #21 on. You do not have to read any other Green Lantern title to enjoy this series, so don’t feel obliged to get all of them. But this… this just has to be seen!
5 out of 5 stars.