Since Blackest Night started in the Green Lantern title, beginning with lat month's issue #43's, the series has seen a major influx is awesomeness. Sure, Green Lantern has been pretty consistent and one of DC's best on-going titles for a couple years now, but the previous few months, during the "Rage of the Red Lanterns" and "Agent Orange" story arcs have suffered from too much story packed into too little space, with segues from story to story feeling rushed. If I was to complain about anything Green Lantern has been doing lately, that would be it. Luckily, the glitch has been fixed. Blackest Night, being DC's major summer event, is being given all the breathing room it needs and due to that, Geoff John's storytelling in Green Lantern has returned to A-form.
Issue #44 begins moments before Martian Manhunter's decent to Earth to confront Barry Allen and Hal Jordan that we saw in Blackest Night #1. While the sequence was glazed over there, due to a massive amount of story needing to be told in a limited amount of space, Green Lantern #44 picks up the slack and expands on the scene of Martian Manhunter accepting fact in the form of a black power ring and all I can say is it's a terrible waste of an Oreo cookie. We then quickly shift back to Hal and Barry investigating Bruce Wayne's tombstone with a bit more discussion than we saw in Blackest Night #1, before quickly shifting past into all new material--mainly a no-holds-barred fight between J'onn, Hal, and Barry.
Now Geoff Johns has gone on record stating that if fans just want to pick up Blackest Night they can do so, and not feel lost. Well, this issue re-affirms that statement. While we do see a bad a$$ fight between Hal, Barry, and J'onn, the fight doesn't finish, leaving the plot threads dangling to be picked back up in Blackest Night #2, making the bridge between the two issues of Blackest Night appear rather seamless. However, I'm not trying to say Green Lantern #44 isn't worth reading. In fact, I want to stress it's significance right now. If you want to follow Blackest Night to the fullest capacity, Green Lantern #44 is extremely vital. Inter-spliced between scenes of carnage are some great sequences with Guardian Scar, the corrupt blue smurf leading the Black Lanterns, who makes the first mention of an uber-powerful villain to the entire Blackest Night as well as a cliffhanger involving John Stewart that will surely be dealt with in the main Blackest Night series. There is no way something that monumental won't be touched upon in the main flagship series. Green Lantern #44 could easily have been Blackest Night #2. The only reason it's not is because Blackest Night is set aside for Hal and the other big-wigs of the DCU, not the entire Green Lantern Corps.
Now through all this discussion I've yet to touch on Doug Mahnke's work here in issue #44, but just like last month's issue Mahnke makes good use of everything the Green Lantern mythos offer. In fact, Mahnke might be the best of the bunch (all the GL artists) to handle zombie versions of characters. This is mostly because he actually gets done to the details of every string of flesh and muscle popping out of their faces and arms. Even Scar's scar looks overly disgusting and puss filled, especially when compared to most artists who draw him looking more like he's been rug burned rather than marked by pure, evil corruption.
Like I said before, Green Lantern #44 is a great read. While it doesn't move the overall Blackest Night plot forward with leaps and bounds, it does offer some great character moments and a few jaw dropping sequences that easily warrant the $3 price tag. And if you want the full "Blackest Night" picture, Green Lantern is a definite must buy.
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