Apparently, Earth really needs protecting. So much so, that the ultimate form of galactic patrol, the Green Lantern Corps, has bestowed on us five Green Lanterns. Hal Jordan, Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and now Simon Baz, the latest human being to be given a ring. Well, sort of. Baz received Hal Jordan’s ring, though Jordan isn’t dead. It’s complicated, way too complicated for a Green Lantern story. I’m not sure where Geoff Johns is going with this, but I sure wish he’d get there.
First, let’s sort something out. Though the banner on the cover of Green Lantern #13 reads “Rise Of The Third Army,” this comic has almost nothing about the Third Army. The army appears in two pages, kills two innocent people for no reason and then heads off to kill the Green Lanterns of Earth. The rest of Green Lantern #13 is about Simon Baz dealing with his new powers. He gets a cool uniform, a mask, learns some tricks and decides to find out who put the bomb in the van in order to clear his name. However, before he can do that he comes face to face with the Justice League.
The Simon Baz idea is an interesting one. A man, thought of as a criminal through both circumstance and prejudice, is chosen to become part of the greatest galactic police force. As of right now, it seems bizarre that, with so many other Green Lanterns dedicated to Earth, the half broken ring of Hal Jordan would choose some random replacement. I’m hoping that writer Geoff Johns is digging deeper into the power of the green itself.
If that omnipotent power has become self-aware enough to try to defend itself against the Guardians’ attack by recruiting those it feels are worthy, then the actions of Hal’s polluted ring make sense. Imagine if, at the end of all this, the Green was sentient and it was the driving force behind the Green Lanterns instead of the Guardians. A storyline that powerful, with Simon Baz in the middle, would really launch a new era of Green Lantern in the New 52. Something like that has to happen for Baz in order to give his character some weight and reason for existing.
Speaking of the Third Army. That section continues to drag on and on. I don’t know if the idea of where to go with all of this isn’t set in Johns’ mind, or if the editorial hell in DC is causing constant changes, but they need to seriously get on with this. We all understand how devious the Guardians are being, we all get how powerful the new army is, and we know it’s another back-to-the-wall time for the Green Lanterns. Your set up is done, time for some pay off.
Another disappointing thing in Green Lantern #13 is the art. Doug Mahnke completely phones this one in. Every panel here is really basic, backgrounds are rushed, characters drawn in broad and uninteresting ways. Mahnke’s art usually bursts off the page, here it sits on it and does nothing. Obviously, Mahnke’s art isn’t bad but in issue #13 it is really, really boring.
Green Lantern sits at a crossroads. The series can either come back from it’s lackluster year swinging or it can start becoming a bloated, convoluted mess of lame plots and too many characters. In other words, Green Lantern is dangerously close to becoming DC’s X-Men.
(3 Story, 3 Art)