Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Green Lantern Vol. 2: Revenge of Black Hand (The New 52)

Green Lantern Vol. 2: The Revenge of Black Hand (The New 52)

And the only thing I can think is; what's
making his cape do that?
Writer: Geoff Johns

Artists: Doug Mahnke and Ethan Van Sciver

Collects: Green Lantern #7-12 and Green Lantern Annual #1

Background Information:

It’s the second review in our Geoff Johns week!

In the last volume, Sinestro revealed that the Guardians, the rulers of the Green Lanterns, had an evil plan in store that involved two major entities- the legendary “First Lantern” and the coming of something called “the third army”. While Sinestro doesn’t know for sure what is going on, he knows the Guardians are up to something insidious.

The two other Green Lantern books; Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern – New Guardians have been following a similar story, so whatever the Guardians have in store has massive implication for all of the GL characters.


So Sinestro has once again called upon Hal Jordan for help in trying to uncover the Guardians’ plot and, hopefully, save the Green Lantern Corps. Before they can do anything, though, Sinestro and Hal are captured by a group of Lanterns known as the Indigo Tribe. The Indigo tribe wields the Indigo light of compassion. They have the ability to emulate the powers of any light-related power. They are also made up of some of the most sadistic killers in the universe who have been turned good by the Indigo light. They know Sinestro’s past and want to convert him as well.

After a whole collection that focussed primarily on Sinestro, it’s nice to see Hal Jordan back in the spotlight. Geoff Johns has owned this character for nine years, and it’s great to see Johns use the character that he has become so adept at writing. I’m not sure that Johns utilises Hal to the best of his ability, but it’s great to see him take centre stage once again.

Characteristically, Johns introduces a lot of new mythology into the Green Lantern franchise. The Indigo Tribe, for example, were originally set up by Hal’s predecessor, Abin Sur to try and stop[ the Guardians and their evil plan. Johns has continually added more to the Green Lantern world and it’s nice to see that he hasn’t run out of new ideas after nine years

There are plenty of excellent moments in this book, but the best has to be in the final three issues of the collection where Hal and Sinestro take on Black Hand for the first time since before the New 52 in an event called Blackest Night. Black Hand wields the black light of death- it’s a power that allows him to call corrupted bodies from the dead. Whereas most of us would use that to create Thriller flashmobs, Black Hand uses it to kill even more people. The fight itself is unremarkable, but the revelation at the end makes for an amazing cliffhanger. Johns makes you desperately want to know what happens in the next volume, and it kills you when the final issue ends.

The art here follows suit from the previous volume in this series, and the inclusion of multiple guest artists doesn’t really do much to change things. It’s all very much the same as what we’ve seen in other stories, but it’s detailed, well-coloured and just very nice to look at. When the art is compared to other books however (I’m specifically thinking of The Flash, Wonder Woman and Batman) it looks fairly vanilla. It’s saved here, though, by Johns giving his artists plenty of awesome things to draw, so there’s still plenty of moments here that will impress. All the same, though, I doubt I would be able to tell the difference between Mahnke’s art and, say, the work of Jim Lee or Ivan Reis (one thing I can really credit Marvel NOW! for is that nearly every book looks very different to each other- something I didn’t see in the New 52).

The Revenge of Black Hand hooks the reader into reading the next volume. This is definitely one of Johns’ better works and it gets a four and a half out of five Thriller flash mobs.

**** ½

+ More added to GL mythology

+ Hal is back in the saddle

+ Art shows plenty of excellent moments

- Art is still kinda same-y

Alternate Option: Green Lantern – New Guardians or Green Lantern Corps

There is so much happening in between these three titles that you would be doing yourself a disservice not to look into these.

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