Do you know what the most difficult aspect for any creative team in comics is? Keeping the momentum when the book starts off red hot. We now enter month 3 of Van Jensen and Bernard Chang’s stay on Green Lantern Corps, and it goes without saying that GLC has become the fan favorite title among the main Green Lantern titles. Van Jensen has done a wonderful job of not only delivering justice to John Stewart as a character, but he also has excelled at balancing John’s personal character arc as new training officer with the new organizational shift and the ramifications of said shift. Now the question is, can Jensen and Chang continue the momentum? Well let’s open page one and find out shall we?
We all know how effective a Green Lantern can be with their power rings, but powerless Green Lantern is where what sort of character will become,and this is how Van Jensen decides to open this issue up with; While we have seen John Stewart power ringless, it was a interesting experience to see how the recruits would handle this near death . While Feska was the only one that was able to do anything while under capture, it was a good scene that delivers on her personal motivation and what alien abilities she has. Hopefully as the book goes on, Van Jensen will explore the other rookies non power ring personalities/abilities. While the Khund empire’s dialog is a bit arcane, it is fun in a classical way. Chang did a good job of giving a established look for the Khund warriors, the armor appears to be a blend of samurai for the high ranking officer but a more brutal European influence for the grunts, a nice clash of styles that doesn’t actually clash.
We soon remember that we have Yrra is a part of this book and her investigations of The Durlans. While these two pages are simplistic action pages at a glance, it is quite unsettling when a “death wasp” fly’s directly into Yrra’s ear. It is refreshing that Jensen actually stuck to how a Durlan would fight. The Durlans acknowledge that they can’t beat Yrra in a physical fight so it was nice to see a different ending to a fight. Chang absolutely delivers on the creepiness of a wasp and the shear terror of one flying into ones ear to sting you. Nice job guys on the nightmare fuel.
However not all issues can be perfect and here is where the issue falls a bit short of perfection. While Kilowog acting the voice of reason is nice and a bit of humorous exposition, the odd turn is where Kilowog goes to find our now “crazed” friend Salaak. Now this is strikingly odd because it’s a sharp turn from what Salaak has seemingly become paranoid and is obsessed with any traps the now deceased Guardians have left behind. Now while Salaak has been loathing in self pity, he didn’t come off as crazed. It could be that with rings turning on and off has Saleek made Saleek become even more paranoid, the delivery of it just comes as superficial and just plain out of character for Salaak. Maybe that’s the point in this scene between the two veterans of the corps, but the execution of it failed to meet said point.
We now enter our battle pages between The Green Lantern Corps and warriors of The Khund empire and this biattle hits all the right spots. Now while it was stated earlier that we can see a Green Lantern’s personality better without their power ring, a rookie using their power ring can also dish up character traits. Jensen and Chang bring back something that this reviewer is glad to be back, and that is a interesting use of constructs. Whether it’s John Stewart using a Jackhammer to disrupt enemies, Maro using his construct to admit a load roar, or Jruk not even using a construct at all (even thought that is the same as Hannu but things can over lap and we forgive). We end this particular scene with John taking firm leadership command and he himself revokes the “Green Lanterns can kill” and Jensen actually gives a logical reason for this statement, with the Corps in shambles and the perception of the Corps as being evil, it makes sense that the Green Lanterns should now steer away from that and return as the protectors they once were. It appears that the Khund empire will continue to be a problem that the Green Lantern Corps will have to deal with for the near future, which is a nice change from the light show that Green Lantern has been treated to since 2008.
Finally we wrap our issue with some old time female bondage, while the main attention of fore shadowing has been towards Relic is is interesting that this book has fore boding events of it’s own. The mention of “the ancients” delivers that ever so wonderful tease to the reader and makes said reader want to know who the Durlans are working for. Yrra tethers to John and here we actually get some character growth for our main protagonist. While John still isn’t sure about Yrra or what his future is with her it is clear that he cares for her and that he is at least trying to move on from some of the more worst part of his past.
Last but not least we finally get a reason for why the power rings have been fluxing in and out of a powered state, and it’s due to the fact that the entities are now dying. Not only do we finally get an answer to why the corps batteries have been acting off the fritz, this also continues the excellent buildup towards Lights Out and what Relic has in store for our Green Lanterns and what does this mean for the other Lantern Corps.
Overall this issue was fun and fast and just continued the overall excellence of this title.
Green Lantern Corps #23 receives a 4/5
Review by Ben Castruita