Friday, February 12, 2010

Comic Book Review: Green Lantern #50

Book Information
Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Doug Mahnke

One of the most powerful forces in the universe, and the unrelenting magical powers of a Black Lantern ring have been made manifest into the Spectre whose mission is to seek out Hal Jordan and induct him into the Black Lantern Corps.  Jordan, along with his team of corps representatives, fights off the Spectre with little success.  As a last resort, Jordan calls upon a creature that has tormented him since the destruction of Coast City, the only thing that has a chance at bringing the Spectre down…Parallax

My Thoughts
Rubble in the streets and crumbling buildings covered in an amazing colorful light show shooting down from the plethora of lantern rings is what makes this book what it is.  The story itself, sure, it’s good.  But Doug Mahnke is the one in control of every page. 

The book adopts a common theme of a teacher and a student, (“Always two there are, no more, no less.  A master and an apprentice”…name that movie!) but the approach is slightly different.  The current, mainstream Lanterns, such as Jordan, Atrocitus, Saint Walker, etc etc are represented more as guides and/or inspirations for the new inductees such as Wonder Woman, Mera, Flash, etc.  The only exception would be Lex Luthor who seems to be taking up the mantle of avarice even more selfishly than Larfleeze.  It’s intriguing because, with exception to the Orange Lanterns, each respective member of the Lantern Corps’ seem to work well together, even the Red Lanterns.  If you will recall, the recent split up of the Justice Society shows a team unable to work together, where as members of different corps show great team work and fights the good fight despite their differences.

Back to the art, I never actually believed that Geoff Johns could be out done by anyone working on the same book with him.  Doug Mahnke, who has always been a comic book super star artist, completely takes control of the forwardness of the story and gives it new depth.  In this particular issue, his greatest strength is displayed through expressive faces and great attention to detail.  The face on Lex Luthor, tugging at his ring as he smiles devilishly was terrifying and gorgeous at the same time.  The only criticism of Mahnke I think I’ve ever had was how smooth his characters faces are while the landmarks and buildings are all very realistic looking.  The contrast between the two has always been a slight distraction for me.  But with this issue, Mahnke steps up his game and shows why he’s one of comic’s best artists.

I was not at all surprised or alarmed by the bringing back of Parallax.  Parallax is to Hal Jordan as Doomsday is to Superman.  DC decides that, due to the fan popularity of the super villain, they should bring him back in a catastrophic event because…well…it’ll sell.  Plus, when, instead of destroying the savage beast they decide to trap him in an easily accessible power battery, it’s pretty clear that one day, they will bring him back.  As far as I am concerned, Parallax can go back into the power batteries and never return.

If you buy this issue purely on the art, you’re doing yourself a favor.  If you want it purely for the story, yeah, you’ll still get a good one, but nothing it just wont measure up to Mahnke’s artwork.

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

Next Issue Coming February 17, 2010
The most epic battle in BLACKEST NIGHT yet comes to a shocking conclusion as Hal Jordan makes the ultimate move to take on the Black Lantern Spectre. But what price comes with the unleashing of Parallax? And what does this mean for the future of the emotional spectrum's avatars?

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