In Review: Green Lantern #50

If you’re a fan of Green Lantern, you’ll feel better if you just avoid this.

The covers: Two very odd covers for ring slingers to collect. The Main cover is by Bill Sienkiewicz. Below the classically costumed Green Lantern is the modern day hoodied Hal doing battle with Parallax. The dominant image of Hal looks faded, the two figures fighting don’t stand out, and the computer shapes just make this messy. I’m a tremendous fan of Sienkiewicz, but this one isn’t working for me at all. The Batman v. Superman Variant cover by Doug Mahnke, Sandra Hope Archer, and Dinisio Carmine Moreno looks great. It’s got Batman with a rifle blasting away at Superman, who’s just grabbed the Caped Crusader and is about to give him a left. The coat on Batman looks like Mike Mignola designed it, so that makes me really happy. However, this is a Green Lantern book: Where’s a Green Lantern? When variant covers come out at least there’s an attempt made to incorporate characters from that series into the image. Not here. This is one big ad for the film. Nice, but I’ll pass on collecting this. Overall grades: Main C and Batman v. Superman Variant C+

The story: Though he’s been making cameos for the past few issues in this book, this issue finally has Parallax meeting with Hal Jordan. This is the first time the pair have met, so this is a reboot of “Evil Hal”. This was really drawn out. “Reflections” by Robert Venditti opens with Hal, of a “different universe. A different Earth. A time past” discovering that he wasn’t in time to save Coast City. He has the expected emotional breakdown at being all powerful, yet unable to stop his city’s destruction. A transition to the present has that Hal, now Parallax, looking upon this universe’s Coast City, stunned to see it standing. He vows to protect this city, that he was unable to protect before, and – wait for it – “And I’ll deal with the one man who’ll turn it all to rubble if he isn’t stopped. I sense him. He’s close.” Comic fans, are you ready to rumble?! Before the expected fight, Hal gets some time with his brother and his family as Howard is returning from the hospital. The brothers have a conversation, make peace, and then it’s time for fisticuffs. This was a 40 page issue and the exact same content could have been accomplished in 20 pages. The conclusion of the fight seems only to end because pages have run out, and not because one character has beaten the other, while the purpose of the tussle was to get Hal into his new state by the end of the book. This was padded for no reason. Overall grade: C-

The art: This element was even more disappointing than the story. The pencillers are Billy Tan and Vicente Cifuentes, with Mark Irwin, John Livesay, and Cifuentes the inkers. The first four pages shows the other world Hal looking upon the destruction of Coast City, and these are not a way to begin a book. The first panel is relying on the colorist to create a rocky surface. The double-paged spread of Pages 2 and 3 shows a crater more than any destruction. Yes, it’s supposed to be this way, but more devastated structures would have made the devastation stronger for the reader. And it is an alternate history, so changes could have been made. The transition to the present looks better, with the figure work and the city fine, though this Coast City looks too clean and like a basic cityscape; the perspective is very rudimentary. The scenes involving Hal and his brother’s family look terrible. The character work is not good: look at Page 10; there’s no defending this in a major title, DC. Things do not improve until the fight begins, however, any time there’s a cut away to people watching the chaos or escaping the battle, the quality dips again. For a 50th issue I expected much, much better than this. Overall grade: D+

The colors: Two colorists on this issue, Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina, are working overtime. They are creating depth where the illustrations do not. The opening four pages employ colors to create the rocky wasteland that has become Coast City. Parallax’s armor, especially those shoulder pads, look awesome with the metallic shine that’s placed on them. The outline around the dueling lanterns and their constructs look marvelously alien in a luminescent green. I also thought it was neat to have Parallax’s constructs be a sickly colored yellow-green, as opposed to Hal’s bright colors, giving readers another visual clue that Parallax is not well. Not fairing as well is the city itself, which is too clean looking. I don’t know whether to chalk that up to the artwork or just not enough time to get to. Still, this pair deserves some praise for dealing so well with what they were given. Overall grade: B-

The letters: Dialogue, scene settings, story title and credits, yells, sounds, and Parallax’s evil dialogue font are created by Dave Sharpe. This is the same quality work that Sharpe has been providing to Green Lantern for the longest time. When he has characters yell, such as on Pages 10, 21, 22, 28, 29, 31, and 37, the reader can fell that bellowing. And his sounds are always top notch. If one wishes to see how lettering is done, Sharpe is one to study. Overall grade: A 

The final line: A huge disappointment in several ways. I expect better from DC with one of their major heroes. If you’re a fan of Green Lantern, you’ll feel better if you just avoid this and wait for DC’s Rebirth. Overall grade: C

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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