Green Lantern #25 Review

on November 7, 2013

Green Lantern #25

This comic is the epitome of mediocrity.

I was really looking forward to seeing what would happen directly after “Lights Out,” but it turns out to be not particularly interesting. In fact, I’d say the most interesting part of the book are the preview pages released before the issue came out. The rest is a somewhat empty story of Hal Jordan and Kilowog fighting a Star Sapphire and her mooks.

Green Lantern desperately needs to get away from focusing on ring wielding antagonists. The concept has been beaten to death, and it now seems like all the title is about is battling Lanterns of some other sort (often with powers boringly similar to Green Lantern’s), be they Yellow Lanterns, Red Lanterns, Black Lanterns, Orange Lanterns, Alpha Lanterns, First Lanterns, or Violet Lanterns. Sister title Green Lantern Corps has gracefully managed to break away from that and wonderfully blaze new and exciting trails, while Green Lantern is just the same old crap.

Hal Jordan keeps being dumb. Billy Tan delivers some pretty comedic art for the character. Fortunately for Hal, his depiction improves once he leaves planet Mogo.

I really do like certain things about Robert Venditti’s view of the franchise. I particularly appreciate him not holding back other characters for the sake of giving Hal Jordan (and Sinestro) all the best roles. It’s great that he sees value in other characters -like John Stewart- instead of just relegating them off to the deepest, darkest closet for years.

I also adore the work being done on Green Lantern Corps, where Robert Venditti is credited as co-plotter along with Van Jensen. Whatever dynamic he has with Jensen, whatever system that is set in place is working brilliantly, as that is a stellar title month after month. Because of all that, it does somewhat pain me to say that Green Lantern is deadly dull, redundant, and not worth reading.

This particular story begins on the Green Lanterns’ new base, the sentient planet Mogo. Three of the Lanterns present no longer wish to use their rings, since doing so contributes to draining the emotional reservoir as we learned in “Lights Out.” An empty emotional reservoir means the destruction of the universe.

Hal is alright with laying down the rings, but he points out that there are many ring wielders out there who aren’t good guys. The Sinestro Corps, Larfleeze, and Red Lanterns, in particular. It’s also brought out that he doesn’t particularly trust the Star Sapphires or the Indigo Tribe.

Countering Hal Jordan’s dumbness is the cool and collected John Stewart and his sound reasoning. Robert Venditti continues to showcase John Stewart well.

Without holding some kind of council, or seeking any advice from anyone, Hal Jordan makes the universe shaking decision that the Green Lanterns will begin policing the use of the Emotional Spectrum, and all unauthorized ring wielders will be hunted down and arrested. He doesn’t exactly specify what an “unauthorized ring wearer” is, but Carol Ferris, who is also present, takes it to mean anyone who isn’t a Green Lantern… which is what it sounds like he’s driving at.

Carol doesn’t feel it’s the Green Lanterns’ right to make such a decision, and decides to leave Mogo to tell the Star Sapphires of the decree Hal just passed. Hal Jordan has been shown to be quite a doofus lately, and this moment is probably his biggest fumble.

During the evening, John, Hal, and Kilowog recline around a campfire with uneasy silence between them. Hal eventually presses the others about it, and John brings out doubts he has with Hal Jordan’s new decree, claiming that it’s hypocritical to use the Emotional Spectrum to prevent others from doing the same, and that if Hal’s plan is carried out, it will be a declaration of war. Similar to Green Lantern Corps #24 and Green Lantern Annual #2, we see John Stewart trying to talk sense into Hal Jordan, and appearing as a much more sound individual to lead the Corps.

Hal brushes it aside, however, and views the new directive as enforcement, not war, bringing out that there are many out there with rings who deserve to be locked up. Kilowog alludes to nearly the entire Geoff Johns run when he mentions how the Green Lanterns ignored everything else to fight fellow ring wielders, which came across as some sort of silly infighting and contributed to the universe not trusting them.

Hal asks John what they should do, and John points out that they’re going to need new jail cells, and lots of them by the sound of it. John says he’ll get to work on it in the morning. Kilowog wants to know what he can do, and Hal decides to take him along to Space Sector 0563 to deal with Nol-Anj, a criminal Star Sapphire.

This is Hal Jordan being stupid again.
Leaving Mogo, especially without properly assessing the morale and spirit of the Corps, will probably be Hal Jordan’s downfall. With the controversial new directive, and with discontent Lanterns, and without knowing the state of the other Corps members in regards to the new decree, and with the more capable John Stewart still on-planet, who is not fully behind Hal’s plan in spirit… it’s high time to plot a mutiny!

Interestingly, the book realizes the overabundance of ring wielding adversaries, but strangely continues down that course.

When the Corps needs stability, Hal goes off and leaves the planet again. Princess Iolande complained about this very issue in Green Lantern Corps #23, but the Corps is in an even more precarious situation now.

Hal and Kilowog arrive on the planet of Dekann in a desert region, where they hope to confront and capture Nol-Anj. The duo busts into a saloon and roughs up some of her criminal goons, hoping to draw her out. She appears and tries to use her power to show Kilowog the horror of what he loves being snatched from him. Considering that Kilowog already lost is homeworld, this doesn’t work so well and he bashes her with a construct. He discovers the reason Hal brought him along is that he would be immune to that technique of hers, which leaves Kilowog a little peeved.

They restrain Nol-Anj, but some more of her lackeys appear with blasters and hit Hal in the back. They’re easily dispatched and Nol-Anj is detained by Kilowog again. However, she counters with a clever move that sends out tethers to all the members of her Clann (or at least a lot of them), and instead of zooming away, she draws them to her. Suddenly, the battlefield is filled with a large number of enemies for the Lanterns, and we’re left to see how Hal Jordan and Kilowog deal with this next issue.

The enemies aren’t particularly captivating. They’re just some generic thugs with guns and a Star Sapphire.

I’ve found that comics I really enjoy don’t seem to go by very fast, comparatively speaking. I’m actually a slow reader and take in a lot of the details on my first read. Comics that have little substance seem to go by in an instant, and I’m left unsatisfied. I feel like I would if I was hungry and tried to satiate my hunger with an extremely paltry meal. That is how this issue makes me feel.

I like that the Green Lanterns are getting back to cracking down on space crime. That’s great! The rub? Now the crime is more ring wielders, as if we haven’t seen enough of that already!

I never feel like there’s any threat to the main characters. They act so self assured, which is in character for Hal Jordan, but what they’re doing comes across as a small, run of the mill job. I believe Robert Venditti said there’s much more going on in Sector 0563 than meets the eye. If that’s the case, it would be nice to give readers a bit of a glimpse of whatever it is at the end… something to make us want to know what happens next. Something we can ponder on. Something to compel us to read the next issue. All that happens is the Star Sapphire has a special trick up her sleeve, which she uses to summon even more foot soldiers.

Unforunately, Star Sapphire Nol-Anj proves to be a rather boring opponent.

Billy Tan’s art has its moments, but is more of the same unspectacular work. I prefer the way he draws women to men. I like his Carol Ferris a lot, and Nol-Anj looks good, but Hal has looked much better, as has John. Kilowog is depicted well. Billy Tan’s scenery on Mogo is really nice. He showcases the lush environment handsomely, with lots of exotic animals and wondrous sights. There are some particularly funny panels when Hal Jordan is laying down the new directive and defending against Carol Ferris. The art gets the job done and not much more. The best thing to see is probably an impressive crab construct made by Kilowog. It’s capable, but not especially pretty, and I think a high profile title like Green Lantern deserves better.

Neither the art nor writing displays much charm, character, or inventiveness.

The most charming aspect of the book is that it vaguely has the feeling of Green Lantern: The Animated Series. I’m not a huge fan of that show, but for whatever reason, there’s something kind of nice about feeling a similar vibe emitting from this title. I’m sure this is due to the relationship and interaction between Hal and Kilowog. The bad thing is it seems like a poor man’s version of GL: TAS, perhaps due to lacking the characters who, in my opinion, imparted the most character to the show; Razer and Aya. Or at least someone or something who can pick up that slack.

It seems like interesting things are on the horizon, notably seeing what will happen with the leadership position between Hal Jordan and John Stewart, but… that doesn’t seem like it will be taking place in this book, going from the solicitations. So, let’s all go read Green Lantern Corps to see the interesting stuff.

It’s really surreal to see the massive difference in quality between Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, especially since Robert Venditti is credited on both titles. Not only is John Stewart shown to be wiser and more competent than Hal, John Stewart’s comic book is a great deal superior in every way to Hal Jordan’s. There doesn’t seem to be nearly as much effort and/or talent put into Green Lantern, and at this point, I have to wonder if it’s intentionally set up to be that way, and if so, what that means. If Robert Venditti has a lot to do with the quality of Green Lantern Corps, then it seems like he’s not even trying on this title.

So, Lantern fans, it’s come to this. If you have to make some decision:
Buy John Stewart’s Green Lantern Corps. If you’re not completely guided by a bias toward one character or another, and you’re just looking for the best Lantern comics to read, GLC remains the book to get, no contest.

Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern is on a very steady and boring mediocrity streak, and though it never delves into the ‘absolutely terrible’ category (like “Wrath of the First Lantern”), its blandness leaves me with a rather empty and unsatisfied feeling, whereas Green Lantern Corps is bounteously filled with character, charm, intrigue, excitement, stunning art, and pure fun.

If I didn’t have this website, and didn’t charge myself with reviewing comic books with worthwhile John Stewart appearances, I wouldn’t buy Green Lantern. It’s just not worth it. Maybe things will change? I’m not sure, but there have been enough issues released to give the title a fair chance, and the only thing that I think is any good to come out of it is Green Lantern Annual #2.

If you want stuff like this, but better, try Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Or, you know what? Better yet, just go read Green Lantern Corps from #21 on!

2 out of 5 stars.

Read Green Lantern Annual #2 Review.
Read Green Lantern Corps #24 Review. Protection Status