In Review: Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #4

This is the precursor to the showdown next issue that will have lantern versus lantern.

The cover: The text says it all: “Guy Gardner: Muzzled (Finally!)”. Guy’s got a muzzle over his mouth, he’s bound by several leather straps and has four chains holding him in place. To his right floats his Lantern ring. With it he could free himself, but that’s currently not possible. Good, and appropriate, anger on his face from artist Ethan Van Sciver with outstanding colors by Jason Wright. This cover is a villain and lantern’s dream come true. Overall grade: A

The story: Kilowog, Guy, Simon, Two-Six, and Xrill-Vrek have been captured by Marniel. The other lanterns are looking for their comrades but can’t contact them, so Marniel makes the first move: she’s wearing all the captured lanterns’ rings and can use them. She tells John, “…as for these rings, you think you’re special? We harnessed the light long ago. But we lost the instruments to wield it. It feels good to hold it again.” She tells the lanterns that any more action against her people will result in the deaths of the lanterns. “Captive” by Tom Taylor has the captured heroes trying to understand why the frightful Marniel is causing so much chaos on the city above. It’s revealed, quite cleverly (I had forgotten about that ability!), and takes this story in a completely new direction. Seeing Kilowog take the lead always creates strong moments in a Lantern book, and Taylor certainly shows him at his finest, Pages 5 and 6. It’s also good to see Simon get a strong scene, because he hasn’t really added much to any book he’s appeared in; but here Taylor gives him a great scene on 9 that triggers the change in the book’s direction. Once true natures are revealed, Taylor has a three paged scene that confronts readers with the truth. This isn’t really too surprising, given that the Green Lantern Corps has several members whose appearances do not show their true natures, so why should it be any different with villains? The close of the book is clever in how it sets up the battle for next issue, and using Guy to demonstrate this is a good way to get the sympathy of the reader. A good change in direction sets up a slugfest for next month. Overall grade: A-

The art: The issue begins showing Kilowog in his cell speaking to a character in the shadows. Aaron Kuder is on layouts, Ardian Syaf on pencils, with Jonathan Glapion and Jaime Mendoza on inks make this a terrific start. One can surmise just from the imagery that both are being held captive and that the Kilowog is waxing philosophic on their situation. His tiny eyes go from rage to resolve in just one page. It’s a great way to visually establish what’s on his mind. With the turn of a page things go humorous when his companion is revealed. Also looking good are the three non-lantern characters: Marneil, Ausras, and Dismas. Marneil is a frightful looking being, and even more terrifying while wearing a lantern costume. Her stingy hair atop that elongated skull is a nice feature. Ausras and Dismas look like super sized super heroes, though their black chins have always been unsettling. There are also four characters that appear on 15 that make a brief appearance, with the lead character resembling a familiar creature that will instantly earns coos from younger readers. Having this character, and the other three, endure a particular fate seemed the easy way to make an individual evil, but it’s understandable why this was done. The settings on this book look well done, with the Last City being a particular stand out. More time spent there would have been enjoyable, but the bulk of this issue is told in Marneil’s underground headquarters. There’s also a double-paged spread in the issue that relates some important backstory and it’s really good, thought the collar one character wears did seem a bit silly. The visuals are good on this book. Overall grade: A

The colors: Jason Wright does some really cool work on this book. He starts things out sharply with the Kilowog monologue. It’s a moody artistic piece and Wright increases the drama with the coloring of the character, hitting all the right highlights in his skin. The brief view of the Lost City is fantastic in muted violets and oranges, which allow lantern energy to really leap off the page. And the colors certainly leap on Page 4 with Marniel using all the rings: the strands of her hair lit up like that make it seem like a writhing electric spiderweb. Greens really come into play on Page 6, with several different shades of the color necessary so as not to make the artwork come off as a blob of color. Burnt oranges appear on 16 to highlight the horror of what’s occurring, and they serve to show off the colors of the characters at the bottom of the page. As good as these are, one element doesn’t work, and it may not even fall under Wright’s command: the coloring of Xrill-Vrek — it’s terrible. It looks like bad computer insertion. Each time she’s lit up, I’m taken out of the reading experience: all of Pages 9 and 10 show this disappearing technique to color her. This may be a choice by Wright or one of the artists on this book, but it does not work. This wouldn’t be too bad if she wasn’t spotlighted so heavily in this issue. Xrill killed the love. Overall grade: B-

The letters: Dave Sharpe creates scene settings, dialogue, unique dialogue for Ausras and Dismas, story title and credits, ring transmissions, sounds, and yells. The scene settings on this book always transport readers to the sci-fi locations, and the font used for Ausras and Dismas separates them further from their allies than just their size. Overall grade: A

The final line: A few snags don’t keep this from being an entertaining read. This is the precursor to the showdown next issue that will have lantern versus lantern. Informative and visual exciting. Overall grade: A-

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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