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Green Lantern #164

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Charlie Adlard

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens with the villainous Amon Sur discovering that the power ring he took off the unconscious body of Kyle Rayner doesn't seem to be working, and as he wanders off to continue his villainous plotting we see Kyle lets his fellow captive Green Arrow in on a little secret. We then see that Amon Sur is unknowingly helping our heroes as Kyle able to control the power ring, even when it's removed from his finger, and as such as the villain wanders about the ship with a seemingly inactive power ring, Kyle is getting a in-depth tour of the vessel. We then see Kyle decides enough is enough, and after he calls the power ring back, Green Lantern & Green Arrow bust their way free, and making use of the information the power ring collected the two are able to do some serious damage to the vessel & Amon Sur's plans. However like most good villains Amon Sur isn't one to exit stage left without making one final kick at the can, and he's able to make a pretty good show of it, when he manages to knock Kyle for a loop, and if not for the intervention of Green Arrow, it's very likely that Amon Sur would've managed to kill Kyle. However, seeing that his plan has gone off the rails, Amon Sur teleports off the ship, and Kyle barely has enough time to erect a force bubble around himself & Oliver before the vessel self-destructs.

Comments:
There are times when in my zest to point out a mistake, I end up crawling out onto a branch that the writer proceeds to chop off, and this is very much one of those moments. I mean given Judd Winick is the one who installed the new rule that only Kyle could use his power ring, it's a pretty safe bet that he wouldn't have forgotten it. So what we were left with is more of a nonstarter of a cliffhanger than one that is ignoring past continuity, and since I made a fuss about it being the latter, I end up looking a bit too quick on the draw. As it stands we get a pretty solid display of Kyle's newfound control over the ring, as we see it was almost to his advantage to have his power ring taken away from him, and if nothing else Green Lantern fans finally get a good look at the power ring's latest feature, as Kyle is able to form constructs with the ring, while it is clear on the other side of the ship. Now to a certain extent it is sad to see all the former excitement-building flaws have now been eliminated, as the ring is no longer impacted by yellow, it never loses its charge, and now we see even removing it from his finger is no longer a weakness. Still, past writers had always used these weaknesses as storytelling crutches, so perhaps now that they've been removed, this book will be forced to come up with more inventive ways of endangering our hero.

Speaking as a reviewer and a fan who already spends far too much on comics, I have to say the weekly nature of this crossover has been a bit of a pain. However, getting the issues with such little lag time between them did help to compare the work of the two writers involved, and based upon their work in the last four chapters, I have to say Judd Winick the better writer. His dialogue is far sharper, with his back and forth interaction between Oliver & Kyle being heads above the rather familiar "I hate you, you hate me" exchanges that Ben Raab had been dishing out. I also have to make mention of the villain of this arc, as this final issue really fleshed out the character, so that by the end he was far more that simply a mustache twirling baddie. I mean the book could've struck a deeper chord if it had brought Connor into play, as I'm sure Oliver felt a pang of guilt when Amor Sur was lashing out at his father for deciding gallivanting around the cosmos was more important than being a father. However, this is simply a missed opportunity, and it didn't really impact my general enjoyment of this issue, which holds up pretty well as an entertaining finish to what had been a rather humdrum affair. I also like the fact that Amon Sur was able get the drop on Kyle, as I welcome scenes where the villain is allowed to look like they might be able to kill the hero.

Charlie Adlard has been a very welcome presence on this crossover, as not only did his work nicely tie the chapters together with a uniform look, but his work was quite strong when it came to capturing the basic mood of the material. The crossover had a nice dark feel to it, as even Kyle's power ring action had a decidedly edgier look to it, and this in turn made him a better fit given he was paired with the more ruthless Green Arrow. I mean this story lacked the social relevance that made this pairing a fan favorite, but the art managed to make the story seem like it was trying to make a bold statement. The look of mad delight on Amon Sur's face on the opening page as he prepares to use the power ring, does a wonderful job of capturing a villain of the verge of what they consider their greatest victory. The same goes for the final sequence where we see Kyle is actually getting his head handed to him by Amon Sur, as the art manages to not only convey the madness of Amor Sur, but also the intensity of his attacks. There's also a nice one page shot of Kyle & Oliver after they've made their escape, and while Kyle's Amazon army is a bit goofy looking, I did get the sense that this was the mood the writing was aiming for, so I can't really complain. Another pretty impressive cover for this chapter as well, with Kyle's costume actually looking not half bad.

Final Word:
This crossover never really won me over as the entire affair had a rather conventional feel and even the big surprise lacked the impact it needed, as Amon Sur's sudden shift from ally to head villain was telegraphed long before the book actually got around to playing this hand. The tension between Kyle & Oliver was also a underdeveloped, as the writing never went deeper than the surface tension. Now I will give Judd Winick credit for delivering some interaction between the two heroes that was quite amusing, and this issue gives reader a pretty good look at Kyle's new power gimmick. However when all is said and done a fairly enjoyable final issue wasn't enough to overcome the rather lackluster plot that this six issue adventure had offered up. I mean the simple fact of the matter is that the whole drug smuggling plot was never anything more than a plot device, and while Amon Sur's rant about his absence father was a powerful display of emotion, the book never really did anything with it beyond use it as an excuse for his villainous nature.



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