This week we have not so much a new beginning of a title but the re-emergence of a significant character in the Green Lantern universe – the Black Hand as the Corpsman of the Black Lanterns.
For those who aren’t fans or followers of the Green Lanterns, or other Corps from the emotional spectrum, over the last three years we have had two significant events in their histories. Brightest Day and its precursor Blackest Night, in which William Hand was driven to extremes. In a moment of despairing sacrifice he was transformed into the first Black Lantern.
The finale of Blackest Night saw the mysterious Indigo Tribe shackle Hand under their light as he was inducted into the membership. Would this be the end of him?
Geoff Johns is the long standing writer for the GL title, known for his forethought and planning several years in advance. It has not come as any surprise that the most recent Secret of the Indigo Tribe arc that the presence of William Hand was prominent, leading to his decision to once again embrace death rather than rejoin the ranks of the Tribe.
This issue is a clever little piece of work. Whereas it is obviously designed to be a jump-on point for what is going to be the next arc, it also keeps the momentum - and to a degree the animosity - running between Sinestro and Hal. Admittedly it does occasionally feel that a couple of shortcuts have been taken, such as explaining how Hal’s ring is now “fixed”, but ultimately it is the reforging of the Green Lantern's odd couple now that Sinestro is free of his bonds. There are plenty of references to previous actions and moments that have occurred in the GL universe, both pre and post-reboot, which give it a more grounded feeling and add weight to the up and coming arc.
All the while we are also following the Black Hand and his new twisted regime. There is obviously a lighter version of his previous role in the Corps as he seems to be wither unable or uninterested in raising superheroes. Now he has a very specific family orientation towards his goals. What is more noticeable is that the portrayal of him has been amplified and there is a far greater level of psycho here, making him a darker adversary in the making.
As I mentioned before Johns’ planning and use of information is great in these moments, as the reader can find plot anchors to attach to and work from. The best example of this is Sinestro’s acquisition of the Book of the Black from Lyssa Drak. It worked well in the past and now is the cornerstone of the story, moving forward as it provides not only the hideous premonition laced with so many intriguing images for the upcoming Rise of the Third Army, but also lands our protagonists in a cliffhanger situation.
Johns has once again linked with Doug Manke and the old adage “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it” certainly rings true. The artwork is strong and holds the reader incredibly well throughout, even with the changing pace and feelings behind the differing stories. What I liked most, and mentioned a little earlier, is the artwork in the prophecy spread. In typical DC fashion we are given a lot of information which may or may not hold true. There’s surely to be some red herrings as well as important pieces in there too which I am really looking forward to.
As an issue this is one that fans will want to read for all the reasons I’ve given above and so many more. It works as an introduction, a continuation and a development all at once so will appeal to so many audiences. In the GL mythology it is also another page that is opening and giving more information. Followers will love it and non readers looking for something new wouldn’t go wrong with taking a look!
Matt Puddy is loving the beautiful weather!