Friday, 9 August 2013

Green Lantern, Volume 2: The Revenge of Black Hand by Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke Review

It’s been so long since I read a decent Geoff Johns book that I began to doubt whether he’d ever written anything worthwhile. But after a terrible year of 2 awful second volumes for Justice League and Aquaman, and the worse-than-brain-cancer New 52 Justice League of America, he actually wrote something worth reading with Green Lantern Vol 2.  

Hal and Sinestro are kidnapped by the Indigo Tribe with Hal being sent to a cell where he meets William Hand aka Black Hand, last seen causing all kinds of mischief in Blackest Night. Meanwhile the Indigo Tribute attempt to turn Sinestro from a Green Lantern to an Indigo one. Though the Indigoes are the compassionate colour corps, they harbour a dark secret... But if Black Hand wasn’t bad enough, the newly driven Guardians have given up on the Lanterns as protectors of the galaxy. Turning to the First Lantern, the Guardians decide to wipe out the Lanterns Corps with the help of The Third Army.

Johns has been writing Green Lantern for a long time and knows the world and the characters inside out, so reading Hal and Sinestro here you get a strong sense of their personalities and their history. It’s the anti-buddy cop movie but manages to work. The Indigo Tribe storyline was the most enjoyable - well constructed, nicely paced, and there weren’t any major clunkers in the dialogue department.

It’s because I really disliked Blackest Night that I didn’t get much out of the Black Hand storyline that makes up the second half of the book. Black Hand is just such a terrible character! I don’t know what his “revenge” is because all he does is eat chinese food with his dead family, read a book, and raise more dead people who’re easily defeated by Hal and Sinestro because they’re just ordinary dead people zombies! The one time he actually legitimately defeated Hal and Sinestro was with the help of the Guardians and the First Lantern. So yeah, I don’t get this dude’s appeal - the Joker he is not.

And then we get the whole Third Army storyline - they’re called the Third Army but are raised by the First Lantern, not sure how that works out, but there we go. We only see the beginning but most of this storyline features the Guardians who just make me laugh despite their super-seriousness. They’re smurfs! They’re blue midgets who look like smurfs and we’re not supposed to laugh when they frown and fly about firing magic fireballs at each other in their little gowns? I don’t know, for all their talk of doom and gloom, I kept wanting to pet them on the head. That’s just me though, I’m not a big Green Lantern fan so I don’t hold certain aspects of the character’s world sacred.

The main thing is: this book is readable and interesting. Unlike Justice League and Aquaman my hands weren’t twitched as my brain kept telling me to drop the books and read something good, and unlike Justice League of America I wasn’t contemplating giving up on the DC New 52 altogether. No, instead I was reading a comic and more or less enjoying it, which is all I ask. It’s not perfect but given the rest of Johns’ output, that it’s readable at all is quite an accomplishment. 3.5 stars.

Green Lantern Volume 2: The Revenge of Black Hand

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