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Thing ring do your thing!: Graeme looks at a blackest night.

Graeme McMillan

GREEN LANTERN: SINESTRO CORPS #1: Wow. Between this and last week’s exit for Bart Allen, it’s looking as if the stereotypical “Dan Didio must hate characters from [enter fan-favorite era here]” meme is going to be able to add Zero Hour-era DC to its quiver. Poor Kyle, never before has a turn for the worse seemed so random or so much a set-up for being undone at a later date.

For all of the similarities (Double-size oneshot opener for a crossover event set in outer space and all), this book is in many ways the opposite of last week’s Annihilation: Conquest Prologue… Where that one was all about starting something from relative scratch and quickly ramping up the tension by hook, by crook or by expositionary dialogue, this issue sets up what’s to come as the culmination of long-running and unfinished plots all the way back to, it seems, Green Lantern: Rebirth (adding in threads from the regular Green Lantern book and Infinite Crisis along the way, as well as Crisis on Infinite Earths, if that ending was to be believed). Unlike most DC books recently, however, it doesn’t make you feel as if those books were all required reading before you even get to the first page of this one, which is a nice change. For all the shit that gets thrown at Geoff Johns, he can be a good writer at times, and at least he knows that the basics exist, such as reminding your audience who Superboy Prime was before he gets the double-page spread of danger at the end of the book (And, no, that’s not me ruining the surprise). He also has the Morrisonesque ability to suggest a scope and danger beyond what’s visible on the page, which comes in handy here – Concentrating an attack on the entire Green Lantern Corps by showing us only a few characters watching the rings of dead Lanterns flying past, looking for replacements, for example – in quickly building the idea in your head that something important is happening here and making you want to pick up whatever comes next.

That isn’t to say that everything is clear – or even sensible – in the book (How does the whole “feeling fear” thing work, anyway? Why does it take a lot to make Kyle fear anything, when Rebirth seemed to say that he was the greatest Green Lantern EVAR because he knew fear normally?), but at least there’s a sense of momentum and of there being a story beyond just continuity rearrangement. Ethan Van Sciver, meanwhile, gets to channel his 1990s mojo in what, surprisingly, seems fitting for the story being told; if you’re going to do a story that is, in a way, a shout out to “Emerald Twilight,” then why not have the sideways double-page spread at some point? I still think that he over-renders everything and uses that to hide some dodgy anatomy, but it’s still more appealing than Michael Turner, Ed Benes or anyone on Countdown.

In the summer of big story burn-out – Marvel feels like Event Central right now, what with World War Hulk, Back In Black, Fallen Son, Initiative/Skrull World, Annihilation Conquest and Endangered Species, but DC is getting there with their Flash storyline/JLA-JSA crossover, Amazons Attack, Countdown and now this – it’s a sad thing to admit that even a Good comic like this feels unusual and a happy surprise. Even though this storyline will inevitably not end but just lead into the next big DC Universe-changing miniseries, the goodwill this book has earned by merely not sucking means that I’m almost looking forward to the next installment. And somehow, that still feels like a win.

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