Writer: Benjamin Raab
Artists: Rick Burchett (p), Rodney Ramos (i)
Publisher: D.C. Comics
The book opens with the group of former Green Lantern Corps who turned down Kyle's offer to rejoin the Corps discussing whether Kyle might've been right and a visit from the current Green Lantern patrolling the sector of the universe where Apokolips is located acts as an even greater incentive for this group to reconsider Kyle's offer. We then look in on Kyle who is preparing to enter the hellish like afterlife realm that Kilowog was dragged into, but once Kyle arrives in this realm and is confronted by the demon creatures that guard this place, he discovers his power ring doesn't work. As Kyle comes under attack the book jumps to Earth where we see Jade is busy lamenting the fact that it's been over six weeks since she last heard from Kyle, and at the urging of Merayn, we see Jade decides to pursue a relationship with a man that she encounter in the coffee bar. Back with Kyle we see he's able to toss his malfunctioning ring to Kilowog, and he's able to get it working properly. As the former Corps member puts on an impressive display of his ability to weld a power ring, we see he returns the ring to Kyle, and the two beat a hasty retreat from this realm, but upon emerging into their home universe they discover Kilowog has been completely brought back to life. The issue then ends with the Corps members accepting Kyle's offer.
When I first heard the character had been killed during the battle against the power mad Hal Jordan, I must confess I was more upset that they had gone and killed off Kilowog than I was by the fact that they had turned Hal Jordan into a psychotic mass murderer. Now given I was only familiar with Kilowog from the semi-regular appearances he made in the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League, I guess one could either look upon my opening statement as a testament to how effective the Blue and Gold Justice League was at making you care about the characters that populated it's pages, or simply as a look at the level of disinterest that I held for Hal Jordan at the time. In any event, getting back to the issue at hand this issue essentially returns Kilowog fully to the land of the living, and while Kyle doesn't hand him a power ring, I can't imagine this issue spent such a considerable amount of time bringing Kilowog back only to usher his back into comic limbo. Now of course the danger now becomes if Kilowog becomes a regular player in this issue, along with the four other former Corps that agree to help Kyle bring down the Black Circle, than the very problem that triggered Hal's rampage is back in full force, as Kyle is now just another face in the crowd, instead of this book's star. Plus the fact that I can get more excited by the prospect of Kilowog getting his power ring back than the effort made by Kyle to make this possible would seem to suggest Kyle is going to become a secondary character, in my eyes, in his own book.
This issue has Kyle descending into a hellish environment, where he encounters a group of hostile demon creatures, and his power ring is on the fritz. Now this sounds like an exciting scenario, and when I first read this summation of the issue in the previous issue's next issue box I was rather looking forward to this issue. However, now having read the issue in question I have to say that it was an extremely uninspired bit of action, with next to no genuine moments of excitement, and the way that Kyle turns the battle to his favor seems to fly in the face of a rule that had been established during Judd Winick's run, and reaffirmed early in Benjamin Raab's own run about Kyle being the only one who can activate and use his power ring. It also doesn't help that when Kilowog has the ring is seem to work just fine, as this completely invalidates the threat that the demons were able to present, and when then later in the issue Kyle gets his ring back and presto chango the demons are still unable to control the ring like they did before. The secondary plot back on Earth where we see Jade is busy handing out her phone number to a guy who she knows nothing about beyond his name is also a bit off-putting, as it presents the character in a very unfavorable light. Now of course we'll get the ever predictable scene where Kyle returns to Earth to find her with her new boyfriend.
Rick Burchett's work tells the story in a clear, easy to follow manner, and there are moments when it's quite impressive, such as our opening look at the Hell that Kyle has traveled to, and when Kyle & Kilowog are fighting the good fight, I rather enjoyed the imagination that was shown in the ring constructs. However, there's also moments in this issue where the art is decidedly less impressive, such as the scene where the former Corps members are busy discussing their next move, as the characters come across as almost too cartoonish to effectively convey the gravity of their discussion. There's also the simple fact that the art has given Jade one of the worst looking hairstyles I'm ever seen a character sporting in comics, as even Guy Gardner with his silly bowl cut can hold his head up high when compared to Jade's new Beatles haircut. I was also a bit unimpressed by the lack of impact shots we received during the action sequences, as the art seems to be perfectly content to show us an attack being delivered without actually show us the effects of this attack. The rather awkward delivery when it comes to facial expressions is also a bit worrisome, as the entire scene between Jade and Merayn is dependent on the reader reading the reactions of the two women, and the art is so over the top in it's delivery of moments like Merayn's expression when she looks at the man who sent a coffee to their table, that the scene comes across as downright goofy.
An utterly conventional adventure that some fans might be happy with is as does mark the return of the Green Lantern Corps, with four of the former Corps members deciding to accept Kyle's offer, and Kilowog is brought fully back to life. In fact this entire issue seems dependent on one being a big fan of the Corps era, as very little effort is made to offer much excitement beyond this quick rush to restore the book to the pre-Kyle Rayner era. To tell the truth I couldn't really care much one way or the other, as I didn't start picking up this title on a regular basis until after the Corps had been decimated, and as such I don't really hold any allegiance to that previous status quo. What I do know however is that I found this issue to be a flat, largely uninspired adventure, in which the big crisis is resolved in a manner that is the very definition of lazy writing. The subplot involving Jade back on Earth doesn't exactly look all that promising either, as it looks like an excuse to cut off her ties to this book. Than again since she's a regular over in the Outsiders maybe this isn't such a bad thing.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!