Rereading Geoff Johns’ ‘Green Lantern’ Part 3: Prelude to War

Welcome to the third installment of my look back at Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern. Here’s where you can find part one and part two. If you’ve got a certain aspect of the run you want me to talk about or want to voice your opinions on the run to the world, email me at [email protected] or share your thoughts in the comments.

ArkilloHey everybody, welcome back to the Green Lantern Reread! Today I’m going to focus on issues 10 through 20 of the ongoing series. With the first nine issues, Geoff Johns put together the dinner table. These eleven issues are the table cloth, silverware, dishes, and centerpiece that we’ll need for the meal that is the Sinestro Corps War. Johns didn’t begin setting things up for what would come in this series very much until issue 10 because that was after a one year jump in time that happened across the DC line after Infinite Crisis. (A quick aside: I’ve never read Infinite Crisis before, but I do have issues 6 and 7 in my collection. Turns out that reading those two alone without the prior five means that they make very little sense. Who would have thought?) One Year Later is when things started to kick into a higher gear.

In these issues we never see Sinestro, but his reach is felt throughout them. What we do see is that his Sinestro Corps rings are going out into the universe to find Corps members like Arkillo and Amon Sur. We see that Arkillo is becoming a higher up in the Corps and that more rings are being created. The absence of Sinestro was an expert move by Johns. He’s been waiting all this time to reveal that he wasn’t really dead, he can wait a bit longer to give himself a chance to build his army. It was very subtle set up for something that would be huge and would completely blow up the popularity of the Green Lantern franchise.

The major overarching story going through issues 10 through 17 focuses on a bounty that was placed on the head of Hal Jordan by Abin Sur’s son, Amon Sur. Amon blames Hal for his father’s death and wants his father’s ring. While he’s being hunted, Hal has to worry about international sanctions and the fallout from being imprisoned by terrorists after his plane went down in the year that we missed. I feel like this story may have been dragged out a bit too long, but the final pay off felt worth it. Maybe Hal fought Russians too many times over the course of those eight issues. Every time the UN was brought up, I started to lose interest.

cyborgsupermanIn the middle of this big story we saw the return of some older Green Lantern characters that were being held on the Manhunter’s homeworld. We also saw the return of the man behind the revamped Manhunters; Cyborg Superman. It was at this point that I realized that I’m not very clear on the events that went down in the original Parallax saga. I have no idea who it was that actually blew up Coast City. I know it was one of three people, it was either Hal as Parallax, Mongul, or Cyborg Superman. Then at some point Hal killed a bunch of Lanterns (who returned in this story) and was put in a fight to the death with Sinestro by the Guardians. I know it ended with Hal as a hero restarting the sun and sacrificing himself, but I have no idea what order the other events went in and it’s really unclear from the bits of recap that we get in this run. It’s not a detriment to the work of Johns, but it caused a bit of confusion for me. Going back to the Johns’ run, this Cyborg Superman story was a really cool way to expand the Green Lantern Corps and bring back some familiar faces for longtime fans.

The final story in the issues I’m covering today reintroduced the Star Sapphires and added a third Lantern Corps to the War of the Light. After the Zamaron’s are shown that the stone linked to the power of the Sapphires is far too hard to control in its current form they decide to take a page out of the GLC’s playbook and make the stone into a ring. Before they figured this out, the Star Sapphire possesses both of Hal’s current love interests (like he’s Archie), Carol Ferris and Cowgirl (who at some point in this run will drop off the face of the Earth), and pits them against him. It’s a decent three issue arc that featured beautiful art from Daniel Acuña. I think it’s very interesting that there is absolutely no indication that the next arc is going to be the gigantic and insane Sinestro Corps War. The buildup was subtle and I don’t think it’s something that we would see in today’s comic industry.

And that’s where I’ll end the look back for today. Come back next time, we’re going to war!

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Kelly Harrass is a comic shop worker and writer from Milwaukee, WI. You may know him as Mahoney's wrestling watching sidekick on Last Week in PoP! Find him on Twitter @comicgeekelly and email him at [email protected]

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  1. Originally, Coast City was blown up by Mongul (Sr.) under the orders of the Cyborg Superman during the “Reign of the Supermen” arc over in Superman’s books. (It’s also worth noting that most of Hal’s supporting cast was conveniently out-of-town when it went kaboom.) Hal assisted the returned Supes in taking them down, personally taking out Mongul. He went a little nuts and used his ring to basically rebuild the city as a construct, people and all, and when its time limit ran out, he got pissed at the Guardians for not giving him enough power to rebuild it permanently. He flew to Oa, stealing the rings of several Lanterns along the way and leaving them for dead. As a last ditch effort the Guardians released Sinestro from his imprisonment inside the Central Power Battery to stop Hal, but Hal killed him, then killed Kilowog when he wouldn’t get out of Hal’s way. He then entered the Battery, absorbed its power (leaving all other Power Rings non-functional, save the one Ganthet escaped with and gave to Kyle), and declared himself Parallax. It was a few years after that when he sacrificed himself restarting the sun during the “Final Night” story.

    Johns retconned it a bit when he took over. The abandoned Lanterns, who readers just assumed had died in space without their rings, were revealed to be alive, Sinestro was revealed to be a construct, and Parallax became the fear entity that possessed Hal, rather than Hal just randomly taking the name.

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