Current Reviews


Green Lantern #168

Posted: Tuesday, September 9, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell

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

Publisher: DC

The book opens with a religious ceremony on the planet Galtea coming under attack by a group of green clad warriors who tear into the gathered crowd with energy beams. We then join Kyle who has arrived at the scene of this massacre as the group responsible has left behind a Green Lantern symbol, to show their religion views Kyle as a godlike figure. As Kyle decides he has to put an end to these atrocities that are being committed in his name, we see he flies off to deal with this situation, and when Kyle is gone we see the religious leader who explained the situation to him is revealed to be the true mastermind behind the attack, and there is no group on this planet that is worshipping Kyle. However, this doesn't stop the true god of worship on this planet from showing up to give Kyle a rough time, as he views Kyle as a rival who is leading his worshippers astray. We then look in on Earth where we see Terry is busy making an appearance on television to promote a message of tolerance, while Merayn is busy trying to find a job, though her lack of any pervious work experience is making the job hunt a bit difficult. Back on Galtea we see Kyle comes up with a plan where it is made to look like the true god of this world has killed him, thus ending any development of a religion worshipping him. Plus, Kyle also manages to expose the lying religious leader, who is revealed to be an agent of the Black Circle criminal ring.

It's a bit difficult to work up much enthusiasm for this issue as it doesn't really do anything that I haven't seen dozens of times during my time as comic book reader. Essentially the plot is about as complex as your standard episode of Scooby Doo, as we have Green Lantern contacted to deal with a cult that has performed a series of massacres in Green Lantern's name, but any tension that might've developed is immediately dissipated when it's revealed that this murderous cult doesn't exist but rather Green Lantern's been brought in to do battle with a Thor wannabe, in the hopes that this battle with leave Kyle dead. I mean it's rather difficult to be all that excited by a surprise twist that is revealed to the readers so early in the game, and perhaps if you were a new, fresh faced reader who was unaware that Kyle's ring is able to create duplicate versions of himself, than his solution might strike you as rather clever. As it stands though for a long time reader like myself this issue is an entirely plot-by-numbers affair where every possible surprise twist is either revealed far too early in the story to benefit from the surprise factor, or the twists are telegraphed to such a degree that I've already figured them out and I'm left waiting for the story to catch up. A predictable reading experience that's been handled far better in the past.

I've pretty much covered my thoughts on the space adventure, I'll focus of the material playing out of the home front. Basically we get a rather self congratulatory little sequence where Terry gets to deliver pretty much the exact same message of tolerance he was making before, but this time it's to a national audience, so we can get the secondary feel good speeches about how brave he is to be delivering a public condemnation of hate crime. It's a nice message, but frankly it feels like it's simply repeating the idea that drove that earlier arc. We also get a laughably awkward scene where we see the job seeking Merayn runs into the stereotypical male pig, whose crude comments serve to undercut what I had found to be a rather interesting problem, as how exactly does one go about getting a job if one's only qualifications are that she used to be a super-hero, and her boyfriend is John Stewart. It is good to see that she still considers herself John's girlfriend though, as the scene in the previous issue left some doubt in the air about the state of their relationship. In the end the material of the home front is just as uninspired as the material playing out in space, and I have to say that while I'm willing to give Benjamin Raab more time to show me why I should continue to pick up this book, I can't deny I was rather pleased to hear this book is going to undergo a major creative upheaval, with the rumored return of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.

The work of Rick Burchett is pretty solid when it comes to the fundamentals, as the figure work displays a good understanding of the human form, and while his faces don't offer up a wide variety, it's easy enough to understand the feelings going through a character's head, and one has to love the highly expressive sequence where Merayn attempts to get a job. The massacre in the opening pages is also quite strong, as is the visual that serves as the credit page, as one can't help but be impressed by the implication that is made by this rather gruesome display. The art also has some fun with Kyle's power, as there's a cute little moment where Kyle shows the angry god what a joke is, and it's always nice to see a battle where Kyle is allowed to make use of a wide range of attacks. The last page shot of Kilowog is also a pretty solid closing visual, as it this version of Hell certainly looks like a place where one wouldn't want to spend an eternity. However, the art doesn't hold up all that well when it comes to delivering some of it's big impact moments, as the page where the god is holding Kyle's body above his head isn't nearly as strong a visual as it needed to be. The same goes for the scene where the true villain is revealed to be an alien invader, as the art almost offers up this moment off panel. The cover to this issue is also a bit misleading.

Final Word:
I guess my biggest complaint about this issue is that it's an utterly predictable read, that offers up no surprising twists, and almost seems content to follow the safe, well traveled path instead of charting it's own course. I mean there's not a single element in this issue that I haven't seen before, and what makes it even more disappointing is that Benjamin Raab seems to feel that this is all that's required of him. Now the main idea of the story is interesting, as we see Kyle is faced with the idea that there is a group of people on this planet that are committing horrible acts in his name, but this solid opening premise is quickly undercut by the revelation that this is all just a big ruse to bring Kyle into direct conflict with the powerful entity that is worshiped as this planet's one true god. As for the material back on Earth the book is guilty of repeating a message that has already been made, and while it's a nice sentiment, it feels like book is talking down to its audience by highlighting this ever important message once again.

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