It doesn’t take a genius to know that something big is about to explode across the Green Lantern universe. The comic press has been full of titbits exposing earth’s new Green Lantern and the Rise of the Third Army for weeks. But even if you have had your head buried in the sand or you’ve turned your back on the mighty god that is internet, the creators behind the Green Lantern titles have been waving a pretty hefty signpost in the comic books themselves.
I decided not to do individual reviews for Green Lantern #12, Green Lantern Corps #12 or Green Lantern: New Guardians #12. Not because they weren’t of sufficient quality to warrant personal attention – they absolutely were. But more importantly, what we have seen in all three titles (and to a lesser extent in the runt of the litter, Red Lanterns #12) is a carefully orchestrated coming together of themes and ideas in readiness for the Green Lantern crossover event touted for October. All roads lead to the Third Army.
As ever, it is the Guardians of the Universe who are to be found at the core of all things GL. As the founders and legislators of the Corps they have been central to a huge number of lantern stories since the early 1960s. Immortal beings who had set themselves up as the protectors of life everywhere. Their actions have often appeared questionable but, baring the work of a few renegades, they have always been more or less just. Enigmatic and manipulative, for sure, but with the noblest of intentions. The Guardians appear only fairly briefly in all three GL titles this month and yet in a few panels they steal the show over and over again.
In Green Lantern: New Guardians #12 Kyle wraps up a storyline that has been 12 months in the telling. He defeats an extremely power enemy in Invictus and does not even get 30 seconds to revel in victory before his entire world is undone with the revelation that the Guardian Sayd had murdered their fellow Corps members in order to bring the New Guardians together. A response to her brethren lobotomizing the Guardian Ganthet in the first step of whatever dastardly future is about to be unleashed on us.
And in Green Lantern Corps #12 another arc is wrapped as the Alpha Lanterns are literally obliterated out of existence. John and Guy’s victory is at best bittersweet. As with Ganthet, the Alpha’s fate was sealed at the machinations of the Guardians. They appear to have taken another powerful player off the board to avoid any possible contest of their plans. The final splash page of the book shows a suitably melodramatic and somewhat chilling Ganthet confirm our suspicions that no character’s future is safe in the months ahead.
Green Lantern #12 is not quite the final issue of the current Black Hand narrative. That comes later this week in Green Lantern Annual #1. The book has a very final feel to it nevertheless. Hal Jordan takes down Black Hand briefly by frying his synapses and, together with Sinestro, he defeats a zombie hoard several hundred strong. Sinestro sacrifices his final tie to his old life when he uses his yellow lantern as a light bomb against the undead mob. It is here in the main Green Lantern title that the Guardians are most explicit. At the whim of Geoff Johns‘ scripting we learn from them that Sinestro was not chosen to be a Green Lantern by the power of his ring. The Guardians secretly forced the ring on him to neutralise his position as leader of the Sinestro Corps. Their mission is to replace the lanterns of every Corps with the Third Army and then, ominously, to “replace everyone”.
Meanwhile, never short of a prophecy to throw a spanner in the works, the Book of Black delivers Black Hand the news he definitely didn’t want to receive… Hal Jordan will be greatest Black Lantern of them all !!
The stage is set. Battle lines have been drawn (even if it’s only the Guardians who know where exactly those lines are). Wednesday’s annual and DC Comics’ forthcoming zero month promise to make tremendous opening salvos for what lies ahead. And I do meaning opening. For make no mistake about it, by the time #13 issues roll around the stories told in the Lantern books up to this point will be done and dusted. Finito. The Green Lantern universe is about to turn a corner. A brand new tale from the Corps is just beginning and I am suggesting you grab your power rings and hold tight because we are in for one hell of a ride.