Green Lantern: Lights Out – The Story So Far
by Shawn Warner
Not very long ago Robert Venditti took the helm of the Green Lantern flagship from the seminal and prolific Geoff Johns and here we are just four months later already checking in on the progress of the first Green Lantern universe spanning crossover event. In events leading into this extremely well thought out and constructed crossover we see the Lantern Corps in dire straits as their resources are all but depleted after a war of light. Finding them in such an exhausted state, Relic threatens to finish them off.
In Green Lantern #24 Relic appears almost as the DCU’s answer to Galactus both in his enormous stature and his lack of concern for Hal Jordan and the other Lanterns as he goes about the business of draining the remaining light energy from the central battery. Venditti gives Relic immense presence that goes beyond his gigantic size, his arrival serves as a clarion call to the Corps that their era as a protective entity in the universe may be coming to an abrupt end. On one particular page in which Relic kneels to address Hal and several other Lanterns including John Stewart and Killowog they appear no more significant than a child’s toys, this puts the situation into stark perspective. Going back to the Villains Month issue that featured Relic, also by Venditti, we can already see that he was being set up to be a formidable and deadly adversary not just for the Green Lanterns but for all “Lightsmiths” of the emotional spectrum, as the energy devouring giant refers to them. Venditti has crafted a timeless villain of immense power and magnitude in Relic with more personality than Parallax and a degree of apathy that makes him truly frightening. Venditti’s handling of Hal Jordan has been impressive as well especially in his role as Corps leader. He employs diplomacy much more readily than perhaps ever before, maintaining an air of cool headedness that we haven’t seen in quite some time, if ever. He wields his authority with intelligent, battle tested experience and that is what makes him a leader that even the strongest soldiers will follow into the fray. Venditti really gets Jordan’s voice, writing some of the best dialogue for Hal that I’ve read in a good while. His words are genuine and ring true, not just for Jordan but overall.
Billy Tan shines on this issue as well, whether it’s his spot on character design or the mind-blowing scale of Relic’s ship Tan delivers on every level. His frenetic action sequences bristle with all the energy of a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. In fact this book has a cinematic scope and tone that I hope carries through the entire event.
Lights Out is off to an amazingly strong start especially if you consider the short amount of time these new creative teams have been in place. Venditti seems poised to give Green Lantern fans everything they came to expect from Geoff Johns over the years, solid, compelling stories with heart and characters we love or love to hate. If you are not currently getting all of the Green Lantern titles, I suggest picking them up at least for the duration of the Lights Out event, your experience will only be enhanced by the rest of the super creative teams and their work on the other Lantern titles.
Lights Out part two takes place in Green Lantern Corps #24 which is co-written by Van Jensen and Robert Venditti with art by Bernard Chang and if you thought part one ended on a low note wait until you get to the end of this one. How many times have we heard it said that a book is going to forever change a character or that the impact of a story will be felt for years to come? Well Venditti and company were not kidding when they said these things and they wasted no time in proving it. Van Jensen adds a touch of humanity to the calamitous events of this issue by ending with an emotional moment involving the new recruits who have given their all in defense of Oa.
Bernard Chang pulls out all the stops in his portrayal of the epic battle in this issue between Relic and the Lantern Corps gargantuan green constructs. These pages bring to mind the giant robot fights of the Transformer movies or Pacific Rim. His pages are filled to overflowing with irregular shaped panels that scarcely contain the action threatening to leap from the page.
Relic is proving to be a unifying force to the Lanterns under their leader Hal Jordan. He may not have the charisma of Sinestro but Relic is testing the mettle of these Lanterns and making them rise to the challenge, in so doing they are learning exactly what they are capable of.
Part three of Lights Out is in Green Lantern New Guardians #24 written by Justin Jordan with art by Brad Walker and while I enjoyed the Kyle-centric narrative, the overall plot progressed very little in this issue. The forward momentum that has been so wonderfully built up in the previous two issues suffers a major blow here in that the issue is completely devoid of Relic; he is nowhere to be found. A bit of down time to reflect upon the major events of the prior chapter is understandable but this goes a little too far in that direction to the point of losing sight of the larger plot.
Justin Jordan does a really great job of defining Kyle’s relationship with the Guardians. He instills in them the type of compelling personality that makes them an integral part of the book. Artist Brad Walker does some fine work here as well that gives this issue a singular look, from Kyle’s awesome White Lantern uniform to his unique use of panels and splash pages Walker is at the top of his game. So while this issue does little in the way of plot progression it is still an entertaining and exciting read with lots of dynamic visual elements.
Lights Out is proving to be a satisfying crossover event full of all the things that make comic books enjoyable and engaging. These new creative teams are coming out with guns blazing and they are hitting all their targets so far. Although some of that impetus has dwindled I am still excited and anxious for the next chapter of this engrossing crossover. So if you are still on the fence about Lights Out, I suggest you grab these last three issues and enjoy the ride. I will be back here at the end of the story to review the event in its entirety, until then, see you at the comic book store.
Follow Shawn Warner on Twitter: @shawnwarner629