In Review: Green Lantern #48

The most disappointing Green Lantern comic I've read in years.

The covers: The Main cover is by Billy Tan, Mark Irwin, and Alex Sinclair and features Green Lantern with a construct of power armor over him so that he can’t slug the new Batman with equal power. It’s just too busy a cover with the coloring muddying the image even more. Having RoBatman fight Hal is the right idea, but it should have been shown from a different angle or without the background. It’s too difficult to find a focus. The Adult Coloring Book Cover Variant (Yeah, I’m surprised DC is going here as well…) is by Mike Allred. It’s a black and white image showing Green Lantern in outer space using his ring to keep giant space serpents from trying to devour him. There are a lot of intricate details in the serpents, making them look like they have the interiors of protozoans, while GL looks like his classical self. It’s okay. Overall grades: Both C 

The story: In Coast City Hospital, Howard Jordan, Hal’s nephew, is in a coma after a terrorist attack. Green Lantern is sitting in the waiting room where he’s befriended by a woman who helps to calm him down a bit, since he’s feeling frustrated by the people he was unable to save. Just as he’s starting to feel like a normal person the television broadcast is interrupted by a breaking story: a tape has been released by Bito Wladon, “…but you may call me ‘Sonar’“, stating that he and his fellow Modorans were responsible for the attack on the city. He says another bombing will occur if the U.N. does not call an emergency session to grant territory to his people. Hal’s anger is obvious, as green energy swells out of his eyes. The woman says, “You go get him, young man.” First, he needs information about this Sonar, since he’s been away from earth. He heads to Gotham City to contact Batman, and meets up with someone he didn’t expect. Robert Venditti has the two heroes meet and Hal soon goes to where the trouble is. His encounter with the terrorists doesn’t go as he planned, with him ending in a completely out of character situation. I could not believe anything that happened to Hal outside of the U.S.: what he does, what the villains do, and how the scene ends was just ridiculous. Why he would make those final statements seemed out of character and pointless. Better are the last four pages that return to Parallax. Those were much more enjoyable, but they’re the final sixth of the book and don’t feature the title character. This story was unsatisfying. Overall grade: D 

The art: Two artists and one inker for this outing: Martin Coccolo illustrates 1 – 20, Billy Tan illustrates 21 – 24, and Mark Irwin inks 21 – 24. The visuals are hit and miss from Coccolo on the first twenty pages. The book begins strongly with the opening page that features four horizontal panels that show Howard in the hospital with his parents. Only one panel contains dialogue, but the illustrations are strong enough to carry the story. The second page is a splash of the chaos in the waiting room at the hospital and the focus is too hard to find. Over half the illustration shows a man speaking with a receptionist. The rest of the image shows people reunited or waiting, with Hal sitting alone. This just does not work. Coloring should have highlighted Hal more, but it’s a Where’s Waldo moment. Things improve on the following page as Hal speaks with the woman. The fourth page is full of stilted imagery, with a featureless hospital wall, a lack of backgrounds on the television broadcasts, and some bad finger pointing. The first page in Gotham has the predominant panel too far from the character. The perspective is fine, but the distance from the reader is keeping if from having any oomph. Robo-Batman looks good in every panel. Also good are the pages dealing with the history of the terrorists. The final page by Coccolo just doesn’t sit right with me. I don’t like the way Hal looks, with that second panel just hitting me as staged so wrongly. The Tan and Irwin pages fare much better, with Parallax looking monstrous and strong, but it’s only four pages. Overall grade: D+

The colors: The coloring is also not working for me on this issue. Tony Avila’s work is shockingly pale on this issue. Nothing seems to have much strength. The final panel on Page 1 and all the scenes in the hospital seemingly have a filter, so that the colors are never bright. It’s almost as if they’re been shown through a tainted rose glass. When Hal is lit up with energy, it’s the dullest green I’ve seen on any Lantern book, ever. There’s no power in anything Hal constructs or when his anger flares. The only time colors pop is when the terrorists do something drastic or sounds appear shortly after. One of the joys of a Lantern book are the colors that explode. This book’s colors whimper. Overall grade: D+

The letters: Dave Sharpe brings scene settings, dialogue, story title, credits, a television broadcast, RoBatman dialogue, an editorial note, yells, and next issue’s tease to this installment. His is the only element of this issue that’s strong. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The most disappointing Green Lantern comic I’ve read in years. Not fun for fans or the uninitiated. Overall grade: D+

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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