STORY: Geoff Johns
ART: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, and Tom Nguyen
With Geoff Johns and Green Lantern, there’s never really a down moment. That’s not to say ‘there’s never a dull moment’, because frankly, there are from time to time.”Secret of the Indigo Tribe” was one such instance where Johns’ perspective as GL-series team leader led him to overestimate how interesting the narrative was as it’s own arc. Fortunately, this month kicks off “The Revenge of Black Hand” that was teased last month when William Hand committed suicide to escape the imprisoning nature of the Indigo Tribe, only to be resurrected by a brand new Black Lantern ring.
Black Hand gets a good reintroduction in these pages as one of the DC universe’s most twisted, sadistic, evil villains. As depicted back at the beginning of the Blackest Night event in 2009, William Hand’s family life was less than perfect, leading William to murder his entire family which put him on the path to be the avatar for the Black Lanterns. His power now restored, Hand travels back to Earth and resurrects his entire family as the beginning of his personal army of the dead. Even without the Blackest Night connection, this scene is super, super creepy; Hand has a conversation with the corpses of his family members while they all sit around a dinner table watching William eat. BN was really the last time Johns got to cut loose with the ‘misery and death’ talk, yet he comes back to it with a passion – Hand pledges, “I’m going to kill as many people as I can in as many ways as I can. And then I’m going to raise them from the ground and they’re going to do the same thing.” In two speech bubbles, Johns successfully gets the major focal point of the story arc across to readers as well as making any reader squirm in their seat just a little bit. Some villains take an entire six-issue run to get to their point, and more often than not, these characters still feel underwhelming. Black Hand under Johns’ guidance has always been frightening, but now he’s downright sickening (and not in the drag queen sense).
Hal & Sinestro’s side of things is a bit more boring until they get their hands of the Book of Black once again. The duo heads to Korugar to fetch the Book of Black, giving Johns yet another chance to remind readers just how hated Sinestro is on his home planet. Normally, this kind of redundant fact inclusion grates on me, but Johns has used it sparingly since the “Sinestro” arc, and for new readers, it can be helpful to remember that Sinestro was once one of the most hated criminals in the universe. The real meat of their journey to Korugar this issue comes when they open the Book of Black to see what else they can learn about the Guardians’ plan to eradicate the Green Lantern Corps, a conspiracy that’s been building across the four Green Lantern titles for some time now and will come to a front his October in “Rise of the Third Army”.
Here’s what Hal and Sinestro’s vision tells us:
–> There’s a new Green Lantern coming (the Arab GL that’s been in teasers and appears on the cover of Green Lantern #0).
–> The Guardians will get their hands on John Stewart to torture and/or kill him.
–> Kyle Rayner is destined to become a Red Lantern (*snore*…DC already did this with Guy Gardner).
–> Guy Gardner is in jail.
–> Atrocitus has command of the Manhunter robots.
Couples with what Sinestro saw in his original vision back in Green Lantern #6:
–> The Guardians will murder the entire Green Lantern Corps (to make way for the Third Army)
Sinestro will be taken as a member of the Indigo Tribe (done and done)
–> The Guardians will somehow use the White Lantern rings to execute their plans.
There seems to be a lot (like, a lot) of prophecy and premonitions floating around with not a whole lot of story advancement to back it up. Sure, these revelations are pretty cool (save for Kyle going Red, which is just a silly retread), but one page of awesome images from future events isn’t enough to save Hal and Sinestro’s lacking narrative. Even their banter feels hollow and flat this issue.
One of Geoff Johns’ strongest points as a writer is his ability to create huge, cosmic events that change the landscape of the world he molds. Unfortunately, DC seems to be shying away from imprint-wide events, sticking to family series crossovers (like Batman’s “Night of the Owls”, or Young Justice’s “The Culling”) in order to make each part of DC’s line stronger on it’s own before deconstructing it down the road, which we all know is a question of ‘when?’ rather than ‘if’. The teaser promo for “Rise of the Third Army” doesn’t include Hal or Sinestro anywhere in the image, a startling fact seeing as both Hal Jordan and Thaal Sinestro are two of the franchise’s most recognizable characters. I’m sure Black Hand will fit into the scheme of things somehow, which will Bring Hal and Sinestro into the fight as well.