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Green Lantern Corps #42 [Review]

Hungry Heart

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor, Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Buchman & Mayor and Buchman (variant by Greg Horn)
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue is mostly battle scenes, as we see the Green Lanterns (with help from the Indigo Tribe) defending Oa from the Black Lanterns. Killowog faces the Black Lanterns of recruits who try to stir up his guilt for failing to keep them alive. And the Black Lanterns reach 100% power…and prepare to Devour WILL. With things looking bleak, Kyle seizes on an idea that might just buy the defenders an edge–and sets his plan into motion. Unfortunately, an Alpha Lantern’s interference sends things in a less than desireable direction.

The ending of this issue was pretty much what I expected as the story progressed–from the moment the Alpha Lantern showed up, I had a sinking feeling…and the heroic action that resulted left me all the more sunk. The final page, seeing the body and the ring’s declaration that its Green Lantern was deceased and flying off…totally heart-breaking. Especially given WHO it was.

The action in this issue was so fast-paced that I hardly noticed the art. Where I did notice it, it didn’t seem all that bad. Gleason’s art seems much more well-suited for the alien characters; and even the cartooney aspect that usually bothers me so much didn’t really show through in this issue. The story was basically a straight-forward battle sequence followed by a fairly typical “heroic death” sequence. While significant in and of itself, it’s nothing special, and is rather formulaic in execution.

On the whole, a mostly average issue tending toward the better side for me as one who generally has not liked the visual style of the title’s artist. While the death at the end sucks, it fits in with the story, and provided me the biggest “Oh, crap!” moment since the end of Blackest Night #1. I must also applaud all involved for not letting this slip beforehand–I had no idea this was going to be the issue’s end when I bought the issue.

As usual, I certainly recommend this to anyone following the title anyway or Blackest Night as a whole.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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Green Lantern Corps #41 [Review]

Hungry Heart

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Keith Champagne & Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor, Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason and Buchman (variant by Greg Horn)
Publisher: DC Comics

As with a number of Blackest Night issues, this issue deals with a number of different ongoing scenes, with a couple dominating the book. While we see Soranik and crew dealing with the Black Ring/Lantern assault on wounded GLs, we also see Arisia facing her uncle, father, and mother who were GLs before her and who had died in service to the GL Corps. We also see Kilowog cut loose against the Black Lantern version of his old mentor and trainer from his own days as a rookie GL. And as the cover shows, we see a bunch of children of the GLs raised by the black rings…and “backup” arrives, ready to kick butt.

All in all, a swiftly moving issue. Tomasi–as with his other Blackest Night chapter this week in the Batman tie-in–shows that he’s got a great handle on the characters involved and things that make them tick–such that the manipulations of the Black Lanterns have something to grab hold of to try to move these characters to particular emotions in preparation for harvesting their hearts. While it’s easy to give Johns much of the credit for Blackest Night, Tomasi‘s getting a lot of moments to shine…and even this issue seems like it may have a huge event in it that isn’t explicitly followed up on.

Gleason‘s art fits the usual expectation for this title, keeping a good handle on what’s going on from place to place/scene to scene. While I (as usual) care little for this style on a number of characters, the artist’s style works well for me in terms of the Black Lanterns. Something seemed really “off” when it came to the visuals of Kilowog, though, and that really pulled me out of the story.

We’re not even halfway through Blackest Night as a whole…there are still 5 issues of the main series, a couple more issues to the first round of minis, a bunch of tie-ins in other titles in november, another round of minis, plus a month of one-shots, plus the requisite GLC and GL issues and probably some wrap up stuff that’ll technically be part of the event.

It’s a lot of elements that make this what it is…while I’ve not been overly ENJOYING this title’s chapters due to the art style, on the whole I’m finding a lot to enjoy with the event…so it’s quite cool that unlike the first round of minis, we’re not ALREADY hitting some conclusion.

I’ve said it before and expect I’ll continue to reiterate it in the coming months: this truly feels like what Infinite Crisis and/or Final Crisis combined SHOULD have been. Length, scope…sheer depth for the characters.

This issue is hardly the point to jump in cold…but for readers following Blackest Night, this is well worth getting and reading–we even see where at least a couple of the shorts from this summer’s Tales of the Corps come into play–they provided context that otherwise would’ve left two key scenes in this book to fall flat.

Story: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 7/10

Green Lantern Corps #40

Heart of Darkness

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman, Tom Nguyen & Prentis Rollins
Colorists: Randy Mayor, Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason and Buchman (variant by Billy Tucci & Mayor)
Publisher: DC Comics

This is another high-action issue as we see a lot of things going on all at once. The Black Lanterns continue attacking the living on Oa, with strategically-chosen individuals facing those living, seeking the most powerful emotional response. Kyle faces old flame Jade, while Arisia faces lost family, and Guy Gardner faces old comrade Bzzd. While this battle is going on we also see other events unfolding, as the Star Sapphires help Kryb, seeing the genuine “love” Kryb has for her “children” and the various lanterns face the Black Lanterns.

While I continue to find Gleason’s art not quite to my personal tastes, there’s something to it here in this issue that actually doesn’t put me off the way it has with other issues recently. In and of itself, the artwork is certainly solid, and the style has a sort of consistency that adds to the “history” a number of these characters have–with each other, and in the recent DCU.

The story’s solid, as we pick up on earlier plot threads and they’re given more depth, while the overall scope of Blackest Night continues to ripple outward as the threat-level ratchets upward beyond even what we saw in the Sinestro Corps War. The scene with Bzzd–though rather morbid–actually made me laugh at first, with the way it just makes perfect sense, showing how Bzzd WOULD be so extremely dangerous to one who underestimates him.

While this doesn’t really move the overall plot of Blackest Night forward, it’s a solid issue that fleshes things out, developing the situation and showing how this is more than just any other threat the GLs have faced in the past.

Well recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7.5/10
Whole: 8/10

Green Lantern Corps #39 [Review]

Fade to Black

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman & Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Christian Alamy & Mayor (variant by Joe Jusko)
Publisher: DC Comics

This has been a great–and large–week for comics. Including the second issue of the core mini-series, there are three issues of Blackest Night this week–one of which is this issue.

While the story so far has largely centered on Earth and the Earth-based characters, this issue brings the rest of the GL Corps into the story–specifically main characters like Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, and the other usuals for this title. While the Daxamites continue to mop up from their battle with the Sinestro Corps, no one’s particularly aware of Mongul’s new proclamation off-planet. Not aware of what’s happened on Earth nor the most recent post-Sciencell Riot events on Oa, the GLs seek answers. Before they can arive at Oa, they encounter a wave of Black Rings, and though they’re able to warn fellow Lanterns, no one is able to stop the rings from making their way into the GL crypt and raising all the dead Green Lanterns…converting them to Black Lanterns. As the heroes begin to realize what they’re up against, Guy and Kyle’s conversation regarding women in Kyle’s life comes back to haunt him.

As usual, the visual style isn’t quite my thing…of the three Blackest Night books this week, this one’s my least-favorite visually. Also as usual, that’s not to say the art is bad–it’s not–it’s just a stylistic thing that I don’t like…it comes across as somewhat cartooney. However, perhaps it’s sheer enjoyment of the story, but while the art’s noticeable, it doesn’t “bother” me the way it has in other recent issues. On the whole, a good visual presentation.

The story stays tight with the overall Blackest Night event unfolding the last couple months. Tomasi knows these characters, and Blackest Night, and that shines in how he steers his characters into the mix. Staying true to what I recall being a conceptual point of this series–that it focuses on the GL Corps on a far wider view than the main GL book–here we see the Green Lantern Corps on a broader scale encountering and facing the rising of the Black Lanterns.

All in all, a very good issue and with the above-mentioned reservations on the art, this is not an issue to be missed if you’re following the larger event.

Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10
Whole: 8/10

Green Lantern Corps #37 [Review]

Emerald Eclipse part five

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman & Tom Nguyen
Colorists: Randy Mayor & Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Buchman & Mayor
Publisher: DC Comics

Sodam Yat uses his Ion powers to transform Daxam’s sun into a yellow sun, thus granting all the Daxamites super-powers so that they can fight back against their oppressors. Meanwhile on Oa, the Lanterns continue battling the excaped sciencell prisoners, with some fairly unlikely alliances forged in the midst of battle. Finally, Scar throws off pretense and sets into motion what she’s been building toward for awhile now.

All in all, a decent issue story-wise. It’s cool to see what the GLs are doing all over the place and not just one or two specific GLs on a single planet. We get to see Yat continue to do spectacular things worthy of the tremendous power he harbors..and the fact of his doing it fits perfectly with a cosmic-level book such as this. Seeing things deteriorate on Oa adds a bit of desperation to things–again giving cause to wonder how the GLs are going to fare against the Black Lanterns soon to rise if they’re having this much trouble now without the Black Lanterns invading/attacking.

As usual–such that I feel completely repetetive even talking of it–the art is not at all to my tastes, and is a serious detraction to the book. I’m sure the style has its place, but for this reader at least, its place is not this book.

Given the story elements, I do recommend this issue for those already following the book and/or following everything related to Blackest Night. It’s not a great jumping-on point in and of itself, though if one wants to jump in amidst the ongoing action, this isn’t a horrible point to do so, either. Still…let’s just get to the “main event,” now, can we? I’m almost ready to just dive on in, and let a “flashback story” fill the gap later.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

Green Lantern Corps #36 [Review]

Emerald Eclipse part four

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inkers: Rebecca Buchman w/ Prentis Rollins
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Gleason, Buchman & Mayor
Publisher: DC Comics

Soranik confronts Sinestro at length about their relationship and what the Green Lanterns mean to them–and to Korugar. Meanwhile, on Oa the GLs deal with a riot of loosed sciencell prisoners, with all the new changes to the Book of Oa in full effect. Also meanwhile, on Daxam, Sodam & co. face off with the Sinestro Corps. folks, and Sodam takes drastic measures seeking victory over his foes.

I continue to be unimpressed with the art on this title. I keep reading because of the story, because I’ve been drawn into pretty much everything GL-related the last couple years–particularly heading toward Blackest Night. But I just don’t like the visual style…it’s too cartooney somehow…it almost puts me in mind of “Americanized manga” where it’s not quite a “full” cartooney look (like a kids’ tv show) nor is it realistic-looking enough to shake that sense of “cartooney.”

The story is quite good; setting up logical relationships, expanding on concepts introduced the last few issues (and years). Events are unfolding in a fairly organic way that makes sense, and though we know this is headed toward the next “big story,” things don’t feel forced.

We’re really into the heart of this story now, so unless you’ve picked up the last couple issues, this won’t be the best point for a new reader to jump on. At the same time, if you’re just looking for grand-scale GL action, you certainly get that here. Characters are interesting and more than 2-d; the Sinestro/Soranik relationship makes perfect sense; even Sodam’s actions make sense and show us a bit more of who he is as a character…and acknowledges characters’ major beats from the last several years.

Recommended.

Story: 8/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 7.5/10

Green Lantern Corps #35 [Review]

Emerald Eclipse part three

Story & Words: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciller: Patrick Gleason
Inker: Rebecca Buchman
Colorist: Randy Mayor
Letterer: Steve Wands
Editor: Adam Schlagman
Cover: Nei Ruffino
Publisher: DC Comics

A Red Lantern causes havok on Oa by busting out the prisoners held there. Meanwhile, Sodom Yat arrives at his homeworld to serve his office, but not for any sentimental value in helping the people there. At the same time, Soranik finds herself confronted by someone she’d rather not have to face.

I continue to dislike the art on this series. As I’ve said before, it feels largely cartooney and exaggerated in such a way that doesn’t really lend itself to immersion in the story. That’s not to say it’s bad in and of itself, just that it doesn’t appeal to me as a reader here, with this particular title.

The story on the other hand is very good, and really continues to ramp things up as we head down this final pathway toward Blackest Night. Players are being brought back onto the board and shifted into position for the next round, and one can feel the tension to things building all around. The portrayal of the various focal characters works really well, and lends affirmation to the time that’s been spent building things since the Sinestro Corps War.

If you’re fine with the art, you’ve got quite the package here. If you’re not thrilled with the art…you’ve got an issue that plays things up on the story side, and is more than worth “putting up with” the art.

Recommended.

Story: 7.5/10
Art: 6/10
Whole: 6.5/10

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