Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics
Eight issues. Thatís how long Iíve been waiting for this book to click for me. DC has made dropping Green Lantern difficult by scheduling three artists I would follow to any book despite the writer. Itís not that I donít like Geoff Johns; I was a huge fan of his Flash run as well as Green Lantern: Rebirth, only six issues in which he managed to make me care about Guy Gardner, John Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Kilowog as characters. So why do I still find Hal Jordan so impossibly dull?
Itís hard to fault Johns for thinking it might make his character look less flat if he brought in a flatter character for contrast, and thus this features the current asshole incarnation of Batman. Their interaction has been long overdue since Hal clocked Bats at the end of Rebirth, but I was expecting the confrontation to be somewhat more inspired than what occurs here. Itís a kiss-and-make-up session of the most juvenile sort that gives Van Sciver some wonderful splash pages to draw, but good art is a poor substitute for weak plotting. Thereís still some clever dialogue and comparisons in their interaction, but much of it still seems forced and nicey-nice, and the final scene not only shamelessly rips off a scene Johns himself wrote for Rebirth but at the same time ignores the last few yearsí revision of Batmanís current motivations.
So what was good? Well, the new Tattooed Man. If anything really required more splash pages, it was this battle, as the means of the fight as well as the complexity of the tattoos really drew on Van Sciverís strengths, considering how well he already depicts GLís energy flares and constructs. Not only is Van Sciver perfectly suited for drawing this kind of character, but the Tat Man is probably the best matched rogue for GL since the book relaunched. I almost wish the colorist had contrasted the beautiful GL energy effects by making the tattoo manifestations brighter and neon as well, though the eye candy more than satisfied my appetite.
This issue marks nine straight issues of the most consistently beautiful book with the most consistently mediocre plotting. Thereís something to be said for that, but Iím not sure itís worth saying. The next issue features/ties into/occurs One Year Later, finally scoring a stable art team though oddly receiving the least hype of the OYL books. It seems that so little has been established since Halís return that itís too soon to shunt him a year forward already Ė thereís certainly no cliffhanger in this issue or lingering mysteries Ė but the new status quo (if itís any different) will surely be a good purchase-or-purge-it indicator.
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