Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps is officially over, leaving DC fans with only Green Lanterns to satisfy their intergalactic emerald space force cravings. If I had been asked a month and a half ago, I would’ve said there was nothing to worry about, that the emerald warriors were in fully capable hands with an intriguing and exciting new arc underway. Six weeks and three issues later, though, and I am not so sure this book is even worth picking up anymore. While Green Lanterns #53 has solid pacing and some entertaining action sequences, it is ultimately marred by the same poor dialogue and narrative that only barely addresses the underlying things that made this new arc so intriguing in the first place — and what is revealed isn’t worth the wait.
What undoubtedly works in this release are the action sequences; they’re fantastic. From claustrophobic brawls within the confines of a command ship, to speedy dogfights in space, to a battle of literal giants going toe-to-toe, each action sequence is well drawn by Marco Santucci. The fights flow effortlessly and are easy to follow, all the while featuring some creative and entertaining uses of light constructs.
There’s one scene in particular where Guy Gardner uses his ring to create a super-sized construct of himself in order to battle the mysterious Eon and the resulting boxing match is pretty damn entertaining. Hal Jordan and Jessica Cruz’s fight inside the Ravager command ship is pretty awesome too, flowing smoothly from panel to panel despite taking place in such a confined space.
The pacing of this issue is also worthy of praise. The reader is swiftly moved from different points of view as the Battle of Penelo comes to a final close. These different points of view seamlessly flow together to present an omniscient view of the battle as it reaches its climatic conclusion. It’s easy for sudden changes in perspective to leave a reader feeling confused or interrupted, however Dan Jurgens does a great job plotting this issue so the the differing points of view work for the reader rather than against them.
Sadly, the strong pacing and great action sequences are routinely overshadowed or simply derailed thanks to downright bad dialogue. It’s an issue that has plagued nearly every release since Green Lanterns #50 and #53 is no exception. The scripted conversations feel so robotic and generic — like they’re being stripped from a comic 70 years ago — or simply cringeworthy.
There’s some dialogue that simply explains what is going on in the panel, like when Kyle Rayner says “They’re running into another!” as he watches Ravager ships, you guessed it, run into each other. There’s no need to have Rayner say anything here; all it does is distract the reader from the action. This is just one of many examples throughout this book where the dialogue is completely unnecessary and bland. Don’t tell the reader what is happening in front of them, just let the art do its job.
It seems like the dialogue is either explaining what is happening on the page or recapping things readers already know from previous issues, even during the middle of intense action sequences. I get that in order to not confuse potential new readers, writers want to remind them of what happened last issue, but that’s what an introductory page is for! When a summary of previous issues shoehorned into fight sequences, all that results is an overcrowded page stuffed with words that distracts the reader from an otherwise entertaining fight scene.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of this week’s issue is the lack of progression given to this new arc’s underlying mystery. What’s been most intriguing about the last three issues is the corruption of Mogo and multiple rings within the Green Lantern Corps. Yet, this mystery is completely overlooked for the majority of this issue, choosing instead to focus on a battle (albeit, an entertaining one) for a planet that most readers probably don’t really care about. What little is revealed about the corruption of at least Lantern Baz’s ring is more disappointing than satisfying, as a well known Lantern/Superman villain is revealed rather than introducing some new, mystified villain.
Overall, Green Lanterns #53 feels like a let down, and as the third part of a new arc, makes this whole arc seem headed for mediocrity. “Evil’s Might” started off with so much promise in issue #50, but has since unraveled into a bland, ultimately forgetful story. Green Lanterns #53 has its entertaining moments thanks to great fights and solid pacing, but is ultimately bogged down by even more poor dialogue and ignorance of the intriguing mystery that made this arc so alluring in the first place.