Saturday, 28 July 2012


 Right then, then let's get one thing straight before I even try to tackle this book... Black Hand is in it and he is newly undead (again!).  Ergo, this is a horror book.  You can't make your main protagonist an evil undead serial killer and expect to get away with calling your book an action story or a sci-fi adventure.  As long as we can all agree on that the next bit should be easy.

The other thing about Green Lantern #11 is that it is gloriously cinematic.  Somebody forgot to tell Doug Manke that he is supposed to be pencilling a comic book and so instead he has produced a story board for as good a big screen Green Lantern movie as you are ever likely to see.

The issue opens with Sinestro engulfed in a mind altering Indigo Tribe construct.  His mouth is covered by a mask of sorts and vaporous tendrils twist across his body, creeping up his nose and embedding in his skin.  His sub-conscious dreams of his earliest days as Hal Jordan's mentor.  In a shocking close up of an eyeball we see the green energy of will power assert itself with a tiny Green Lantern symbol appearing in the centre of his pupil.

Sinestro wakes to find himself released into Hal's custody by the Indigos against their better judgement.  Hal and the Indigo guardian, Natromo, have corrected the Earth Lantern's ring so that it is no longer ineffective against Sinestro.  Hal tests the success of their work by knocking his companion off his feet with a quick blast of energy.  For anyone who is reading Geoff Johns' Justice League each month and can't reconcile the character of Hal between that book and this, look no further than the beaming smile he wears having finally freed himself from Sinestro's control and knocked the Korugan on his ass.  That's our cocky young League member right there.

Despite this, only Sinestro noticed that Black Hand is no longer among them.  In the previous issue the death obsessed villain had escaped the control of his Indigo ring and was beating a hasty retreat with the unwanted accessory in close pursuit.  He had thrown himself to his death from a cliff top only to spawn another ring which transformed him into an undead Black Lantern.

The artwork continues to be vital to the telling of Black Hand's story.  What seems to be a oddly harmless image of Hand clutching a Chinese meal in a bag is followed up with a single panel of the restaurant he had left behind.  Mutilated bodies dripping with Black Lantern ooze.  Again the focus is brought back to the meal, this time propped on a tombstone.  And in scenes deliberately reminiscent of Blackest Night, Hand touches the ground and utter one word, "Rise".  And rise they do!  A sequence the equal of any Zombie movie shows the Black Lantern's own decayed family crawl from their graves to be greeted with the very eery "I've brought dinner".

Geoff Johns' writing is at its very best in this issue.  He flits with ease between humour and drama, finding the perfect balance to pull the reader into the story on his terms.  A page showing the Guardians of the Universe tracking Sinestro's journey from Oa seems to be almost throw away. It contains very little in the way of meaningful information.  What it is actually does is tie the wider Green Lantern universe together without intruding on the story.  If you are not picking up the other three DC Lantern titles you really do need to have a word with yourself...

Black Hand sitting down to eat with his family in their old home is simply chilling.  Apparently a conversation is taking place but we are only privy to one side of it.  And while Hand tucks into his food the other meals go cold beside untouched chopsticks.  In any normal psycho thriller you would swear that Black Hand was delusional, talking to rotten corpses that don't talk back.  But let's not forget that these particular corpses dug their way out of the ground by themselves, walked into the house by themselves and sat down at the table all... by... themselves.

Meanwhile, the Green Lanterns have made their way to Sinestro's secret base on Korugar where he has hidden the Book of Black.  They open the book to access the prophecies it contains and are immediately transported into a vision which predicts dire consequences for the Green Lanterns of 2814.  The splash panel for this vision is probably the single most exciting image that any GL fan has laid eyes on since the introduction of DC's New 52.  And let me assure you that is not a statement I make lightly!


The Vision:  Up front and centre is the masked lantern who first appeared in the DC Free Comic Book Day release battling the Justice League.  Solicits suggest that this character will be taking the lead role in this very book in a few months time.  The mind boggles.  Below him is a Green Lantern emblem dripping a liquid that could well be taken as symbolic green blood.  This distorted symbol is the only image that appears on the cover of next month's Green Lantern Annual.  The last time DC released a cover like that Superman died!  This is looking serious folks.  To the left of that we have a close up of a clenched fist adorned with a white lantern ring.  We have not seen one of those since the conclusion of Brightest Day.  A depowered and forlorn Guy Gardner is depicted as captured in a prison cell.  Kyle Rayner spews napalm as a Red Lantern.  John Stewart writhes and screams under a direct attack from the Guardians.  The manhunters are alive and well, and from my interpretation are being led in a battle charge by Atrocitous.

Above all of this the Guardians gaze across the vision with a look that that is as impassive and devoid of emotion as we have seen from them in many a month.  Added to all of this there is one more mysterious image that deserves some attention.  Two hooded figures skulk in the shadows unseen.  I discussed in my recent blog on the 4 issue connecting cover for the Rise of The Third Army that Hal Jordan and Sinestro are not depicted.  Could these shadowy figures be Hal and Sin, pushed to the sidelines in the forthcoming battle and waiting for their moment to strike back at the Guardians?  In this very issue Hal agrees a plan with Indigo 1 to force brainwashing Indigo rings onto the fingers of the Guardians in a desperate attempt to halt their destruction of the Green Lantern Corps.  Could this be the consequences of that plan having gone awry?

As if all of this wasn't enough to take in, with their vision complete the book ejects the Lanterns in a place they least expected - at the feet of Black Hand and his reanimated family.  How's that for a cliffhanger? 

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