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Green Lantern #167

Posted: Thursday, August 7, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Benjamin Raab
Artists: Rick Burchett (p), Rodney Ramos (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens aboard the ship of a intergalactic bounty hunter who has been hired to kill Green Lantern, but Kyle isn't exactly in the mood to get involved in a prolonged battle with this killer, as the Sun is under attack by a entity called the Blind. With the Sun about to go super nova, and take out the entire system, we see Kyle decides to make a real effort to bring this fight to a close, and to this end when he cuts loose with his power ring, Kyle finds he's rewarded with a fairly quick & simple victory. As Kyle then turns his attention to defeating the Blind, the book jumps to Earth where we see John Stewart returns home to find his longtime girlfriend Merayn has decided that she's grown tired of waiting for him to return, and the idea that her only role in life seems to be the blue alien chick dating the other Green Lantern. To this end we see she's decided to move out and make a life for herself. We then jump back into space where we see Kyle is pushing his power ring to it's limits, as he is attempting to contain the massive cascade of energy that is tearing the Sun apart, and the sheer scope of the task he's trying to accomplish is overwhelming to say the least. However, given the destruction of the Sun would effectively destroy the entire DCU, the book ends with Kyle's efforts acting to destroy the Blind, while saving the Sun from it's early destruction.

Comments:
I recognize that Green Lantern's power ring is one of the most powerful weapons in the entire DCU, and as such once the initial element of surprise had worn off there's no real reason why this ounty-hunter/assassin would be able to have Kyle on the ropes. However, in terms of simple entertainment value, having Kyle suddenly realize that he's far more powerful than his opponent, and then proceed to bring the battle to a quick finish left me a bit disappointed. Now there are times when the reader needs to be reminded how powerful a character like Green Lantern is, and this issue does a pretty decent job of sending out the message that Green Lantern is not one who is easily defeated. However, last issue managed to develop a pretty decent feeling that this hired assassin was a very real threat, but this issue offers up Kyle's victory by suddenly having him realize that he all he has to do to win this battle is fight back, and this rather simplistic solution made for a rather uninspired resolution. The same goes for Kyle's battle with the entity destroying the Earth's Sun, as the stakes have been set so high if he fails that we know there's simply no chance that he's going to fail in his attempt. No sense that he might fail results in a battle that lacks any real sense of drama, or genuine excitement.

The book does offer up a pretty interesting, if somewhat hurried subplot involving John Stewart, as we see his relationship with Merayn has reached a stage where she has decided that waiting alone in the apartment for him to come home is simply not the life she's prepared to live. Now most people would encourage her to find a job, hobby, or simply get out of the house more, but this being a comic book, the writing naturally goes for the most dramatic solution available, in that Merayn decides to pack up and leave John. Now given John doesn't exactly make an active bid to convince her to stay, I guess he is no more committed to this relationship than she appears to be. Than again speaking as a fan who knows next to nothing about John Stewart's first stint as a Green Lantern, or as a Darkstar, I have to say that I am not exactly in the know on the type of relationship these two shared, so perhaps this is simply two friends deciding that the advancement of their own interests is more important than making an effort to resolve the problems in their relationship. I'm not overly attached to either of these characters so the impact of their breakup is a bit muted, but if this was a serious relationship than Benjamin Raab did a rather poor job of conveying the idea that these two characters actually cared for each other.

The art of Rick Burchett holds up quite nicely when it's delivering the action sequences, as the opening bout between Green Lantern and the bounty hunter is nicely laid out, and while the rather abrupt finish left me a bit cold, the art did a pretty solid job of making things look pretty dire for Kyle before he realized how easily he could pull off his victory. While I'm busy discussing the art's ability to make things look bad for Green Lantern I should also make mention of the cover to this issue, as I do believe this visual played a large role in why I was disappointed to see the fight over so quickly, as this cover is a wonderful teaser that made me want to read the story inside. The art also did some nice work on the sequence where Kyle works to save the Sun as the sense of scale that Kyle is operating on is very impressive, and one can't help but be impressed by the double-page shot that occupies the middle frame of pages 16 & 17. Now I'm not sure the art did as impressive a job as it could've expressing the principals behind the idea of how Kyle defeated the Blind, but then as I looked back on the scene the writing didn't exactly do all that great a job of it either, so perhaps it's just best to say that they both failed to do their job. However, the art is the guilty party when it comes to expressing the sense of loss & confusion that John fails to express in the panel where John learns Merayn is leaving him.

Final Word:
I guess my biggest complaint about this issue would be the rather conventional manner in which the conflict with the bounty-hunter was resolved, as Benjamin Raab did a fairly solid job of making the character into a fairly formidable opponent, but the quick defeat this issue offers up completely undermines this entire notion. The issue also wasn't helped bythe fact that the Sun that was threatened by the Blind was our own, as by threatening the planet Earth the big climax to this issue was pretty muchdevoid of any real tension, as simple logic tells use that Benjamin Raab hasn't been given license to destroy the entire DCU so Kyle's efforts have to be successful. As for the subplot involving the breakup of John Stewart & Merayn, I can't say I was all that involved with the material, though a large part of this is simply due to my lack of familiarity with either character. Then again the writing also does a rather poor job of expressing the idea that these two characters actually care for each other, as they both seem to be relatively unmoved by this parting of ways.



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