Green Lantern Corps #37 Review
on December 12, 2014
I am always excited when Green Lantern Corps is released. I look forward to reading it every single month. The minute midnight strikes on the second Wednesday of the month, I rush off to buy the digital version and read it on my tablet. This is why I am so deflated when a bad issue is released.
There have been some issues that didn’t entertain me as much as I’d hoped, like Green Lantern Corps #30, and some that just didn’t deliver on what I expected them to, like Green Lantern Corps #25, and others that just could have been executed better, like Green Lantern Corps Annual #2. But there haven’t been too many bad comics from Van Jensen’s run on Green Lantern Corps, with the “Futures End” issue being my least favorite… Until now, that is.
Green Lantern Corps #37 is a terrible comic book. The artwork is bad, and there are things in the story that don’t make sense. It succeeds on a few levels, however, such as giving more insight into John Stewart’s family background, and giving him the awesome feat of single handedly defeating a God, and being the first one to do that, by the way. but even these moments are tainted by things that may make you scratch your head.
Highfather makes for a great villain.
There is absolutely no mention of John Stewart’s recently acquired violet ring. This is starting to get really weird. I let it go when Sinestro #7 and Green Lantern #37 made no allusion to it, because I figured it would be addressed in Green Lantern Corps. But it isn’t. At all. I don’t know if Van Jensen has something up his sleeve, or what. But as of now, it’s looking like the writers are just pretending like that climactic moment in Green Lantern Corps #36 never happened. Honestly, I’m sure Van Jensen has some plan to address it, but holding that off in this manner is sure to confuse readers.
Another plot point from the previous issue that isn’t followed up on at all is John’s conversation with Soranik Natu. John doesn’t even interact with Soranik here. Admittedly, he did say in Green Lantern Corps #36 that “there’s no time for feelings,” so maybe after “Godhead,” these plot threads, which involve “feelings,” will be revisited. Even so, I feel really unfulfilled by this issue’s utter lack of acknowledgment to what happened last issue.
Bernard Chang is so essential to this series. Whenever he is not present, the issues are usually only mediocre at best. He adds so much to Jensen’s scripts that he often turns typical moments into really special scenes. Chang is telling these stories just as much as Jensen is. Naturally, when he’s gone, Green Lantern Corps loses much of its magic. The only times I feel any fill in artists did any good was Stephen Jefferson, drawing the flashback scenes in Green Lantern Corps #25, and Igor Lima on the “Futures End” issue (and he only drew a few pages). All others have been disappointing, and this issue showcases the worst of the worst.
Chang draws about half of this issue, but even his output here lacks the polish, detail, and creativity that his better work exemplifies. By “better work,” I’m talking about the art he put out in issues #36, or 34, or 21, or 23, and others.
John and Sinestro continue their entertaining dynamic.
There have been some problems with the sequential storytelling lately. Last issue, it was kind of hard to tell exactly what happened to Penelops when he was shot. I let that slide because I thought it was a one-time thing, and the rest of the issue was so spectacular. But similar problems pop up again in this issue.
In one scene, John and company are being restrained. There is a character that looks to be Saint Walker among them, but he is singing the praises of Highfather, even while he’s being restrained by Highfather’s minions. I… couldn’t figure that scene out.
Not long after that, John and the others are still being held by New Genesis soldiers, and the next minute, those soldiers are lying down. I assume they were hit by something, but we never see that happen.
The biggest problem with the art, however, is that the other half of the issue, with art by Mirko Colak and coloring by Tony Avina, is just really, REALLY ugly. It’s done in an unappealing style and looks unfinished and rushed. There are also huge discrepancies that can’t be ignored. I get drawn out of the story when Sinestro’s hair style changes mid-issue, or when a mother box suddenly appears much larger than it should. The bad art takes a lot away from the experience.
Ghr’ll and Xylpth are now drones for Highfather.
The first scenes are the strongest, visually. The book opens with a great picture of Highfather reveling in his power, as Indigo-1 stands discreetly in the background. In Sinestro #7, the Indigo Tribe betrayed all other Lanterns by intentionally delivering them right into the hands of the New Gods. I really like the setting here. The monitors are striking, displaying their various colors and designs on the screens, and the pale blue light throughout the room adds great atmosphere. This is Chang and colorist Marcelo Maiolo’s usual greatness. Unfortunately, things steadily deteriorate and then the book completely nosedives when the other art team takes over.
The reason the Indigos betrayed the other Lanterns is only brushed over. Indigo-1 claims that her tribe simply agrees with Highfather’s mission. She believes that if the universe is to be saved, then it must be controlled. Highfather returns the indigo ring to her and boomtubes her back to her universe.
The New God General Malhedron joins Highfather and we see more of Highfather’s power going to his head. I really enjoy this take on Highfather. I honestly wasn’t much of a fan of the character prior to the New 52, so I don’t mind seeing him as a villain. As I brought out in my review for Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead #1, I haven’t enjoyed the New Gods more than I am in this crossover.
Outside on a platform, Malhedron and Highfather meet with Uggha, who has come with the Singularity Stockade, the mobile multiversal prison of the New Gods. I’d like to stop and give Robert Venditti, or whoever came up with the Singularity Stockade, credit. It’s a great concept with a great name.
The New Gods dump some Lantern prisoners on the platform, and Highfather uses his spectrum infused scepter to transform them into drone soldiers of his, thus wiping out their personalities and desires, and replacing them with the sole aspiration to serve Highfather.
Not all the New Gods support Highfather’s tyrannical plans.
The cell containing John and his party is opened next, and John finally comes face to face with Highfather. He has brought the Weaponer’s shield with him, which has the power to hurt the Gods because it, too, is infused with White Light energy. John and Sinestro don’t waste any time going on the offensive. However, they’re quickly subdued by the former Lanterns that Highfather transformed. The one-time Lanterns are now imbued with the powers of Gods, which surpasses those of John’s party.
Highfather can sense that John is from Earth, and he begins telling the Lantern of Darkseid’s imminent attack on the planet. Highfather plans to go to Earth and convert the native heroes into his warriors as well. I imagine this is setting things up for the “Darkseid War” that Geoff Johns has mentioned in interviews. It’s looking like Green Lantern characters will be dragged into that.
Eventually, Highfather’s had enough talking and plans to convert more Lanterns, but Malhedron has seen enough. He can no longer take Highfather’s despotic propensities and shields the Lanterns from Highfather’s beam, and quickly boomtubes John, Sinestro, and Saint Walker away, but not before John can grab the Weaponer’s shield again.
Malhedron takes the Lanterns to some shady place, and this is when the fill in artist comes in, and things really plummet. Half of Malhedron’s face has been badly burned by Highfather’s beam. Sinestro wants to go back to the regular Universe and bring Hal Jordan and Black Hand to New Genesis to help with the fight. Malhedron wants no part of this conflict anymore. He doesn’t dare challenge Highfather again, which causes Sinestro to view him as a coward. The renegade Lantern gets Malhedron to send him back to the regular universe, and says that he will find his own way back to New Genesis with reinforcements. Another area where this issue does well is continuing John and Sinestro’s particular dynamic. This event has brought the duo together in an interesting way, and I’d like to see more stories that feature the relationship between them.
The art really goes south about halfway through the comic. John talks to Saint Walker about the Flood of Noah’s days.
Saint Walker wants to hide until the reinforcements arrive, but John refuses to leave the captive Lanterns to their fate of being converted. He plans to go right back into battle. Both Saint Walker and Malhedron try to talk John out of it, but Green Lantern decides to have a talk with Saint Walker about faith. He tells the former Blue about the Great Flood of Noah’s day, and how he used to go to church with his family member, Dorothy Stewart. John asks his companions to have a little faith. This is a sort of interesting scene, but I don’t see how the Great Flood correlates with the situation at hand. If there is a point Jensen is trying to make through John going on about the Flood, it’s rather obscured. Again, I appreciation some insight into John’s background, but this is one of those things that succeeds and fails at the same time, which brings us to the next moment.
John returns to New Genesis just as Highfather is preparing to convert more Lanterns. John openly challenges the God and Highfather sends Uggha to deal with him. The art remains extremely shoddy, which greatly damages this scene that is supposed to be climactic. John goes to the battle with the Weaponer’s shield, but in one panel he seems to have lost it, only to have it again in the next panel he’s in. It’s very strange, and I don’t like being taken out of the story to try to make sense of things.
John manages to beat Uggha by getting the God’s hammer away from him, taking it for himself, and bashing Uggha’s face in with it. As awesome as it is to have John be the first one to defeat any of the New Gods alone, this sequence comes across as very implausible, based upon what we’ve seen from a previous encounter with Uggha.
The artwork is so ugly.
First of all, I know this is comics and everything, but I highly doubt John would be able to lift Uggha’s hammer with one hand, and use it effectively. The thing is just so big, and seems to be made out of a heavy form of metal. It is a hammer, after all. What bothers me even more, though, is that in Green Lantern Corps #35, we saw Uggha throw his hammer like he does in this issue. Yet, in the earlier issue, he’s able to make the hammer return to his hand without any difficulty, as though he’s using the force or some kind of magnetism. Why didn’t he do that here? Why did he let John take his hammer when he can easily summon it back to him? I just… don’t understand that.
Believe me, I’m okay with stretching believability for the sake of superhero stories, but some things make so little sense that it causes the story not to work even with itself. Again, it doesn’t help that the art is hideous.
Anyway, John leaves Uggha a broken mess. And he plans to conduct a guerilla insurgency in New Genesis. He warns Highfather that he’s the greatest assassin in his universe, and that he’ll use his sniping ability to threaten the citizens of the city. This seems to be when John will start down the path we saw him on in the “Futures End” issue. I’m really hoping that Soranik, or someone, can take him away from that, and I think that’s where Jensen might be headed with his storytelling.
John Stewart defeats Uggha by himself, but the battle isn’t very convincing.
This issue is an overall terrible effort. There are just not enough redeeming qualities to counter the ugly artwork, scenes that are hard to figure out, scenes that don’t make sense, the plot points that are not picked up at all from last issue, and again, the horrible artwork.
Even if Van Jensen does have something up his sleeve and plans on addressing the violet ring and Soranik later, I don’t think leaving readers hanging like he has was really the best course to take. Anybody who may have decided to take a look at Green Lantern Corps because they heard John Stewart got turned into a Star Sapphire are sure to feel very unfulfilled when the next three times they see him, in three different comic books, there is absolutely no reference whatsoever to it happening.
I, personally, feel cheated. I feel like I’m going to have to be patient until we get to the stuff I want to see. In my review for Green Lantern Corps #36, I praised Jensen for not letting mandated crossovers get in the way of the journey he was taking his characters on. This issue makes me feel like a crossover actually has gotten in the way of the story.
Had the art not been so bad, I think I would have digested some of this a bit better, but when the art is as bad as it is here, and when fascinating plot points from last issue that I was looking forward to being continued are dropped cold turkey, and when stuff is just not making a lot of sense, there’s just not much for me here to celebrate. The advancements Jensen does make are bitter sweet. Yes, we get more insight into John’s background, but it’s through him rambling about events that don’t have much to do with what’s going on, even as examples or anecdotes. Yes, John single-handedly defeats a New God, but it is unconvincing and doesn’t make sense.
I do hope other fans enjoyed this more than I did, and if they did, I’m completely open to people posting in the comments section about why they enjoyed this issue. It’s not for the sake of argument, but to see what they may see that I do not. I actually did try to like this issue. I read it more than once in an effort to make better sense of things, and generally appreciate it more, but I still remain confused and disappointed. The issue receives 2 stars, due to the John and Sinestro dynamic, insight into John’s family, and having John defeat a New God. Everything else in the comic, as well as other things left out of it, keep it from scoring higher.
2.0 out of 5 stars.
Read Green Lantern Corps #36 Review.
Read Green Lantern Corps #35 Review.