Story: Dan Jurgens
Art: Marco Santucci
The Ravagers and Eon have retreated, and the Corps takes what remains of Penelo’s population to a new world to call their home. With the mission being seen as a failure by most, the Lanterns begin to examine Simon’s actions and blame him for the loss. Meanwhile, Simon plows his way to the vault of the Fortress of Solitude to fulfill his false mission on Earth, only to find that he has been played by none other than Cyborg Superman.
Green Lanterns #54 easily makes it into my top picks of this week. As I’ve said multiple times before, the team up of Marco Santucci and Hi-Fi are a perfect fit for a GL title. While much of the beginning of the issue is the Lanterns discussing their distrust in Simon, the art work tells a different story. By all means, the Lanterns see this mission as a failure (95% of Penelo’s population died, including a Lantern. That’s definitely a loss), but the images of the Lanterns bringing the space arks to a new planet is truly beautiful. Yes, most of the population was slaughtered, but they gave what remains a shot at bouncing back and making a new life for themselves. Their new home looks like a secluded paradise. Cap that off with one of the Penelo refugees thanking Jess for saving them, and it’s enough to bring on some tears.
At this point I am pretty over Simon. There are aspects of Simon that I very much enjoy, and have enjoyed since New 52, but I’m kind of with Guy Gardner at this point. As the reader it is obvious to see that Simon is being played. It’s hard to assume that if it were Hal, or Kyle, or even Jess in his shoes, that they would leave in the middle of a massive space battle where the lives of a whole species lay in the balance. It is maddening that Simon keeps thinking that he shouldn’t follow this mission that the “Guardians” sent him on, and do what he believes is the right move. Even in this issue, he has his doubts. He believes Superman is the one calling out to him, but he questions that when he sees the vault. Then his ring tells him it’s all good, so off they go. It is 3 panels! “This feels wrong”, “It’s ok.”, “Well, when you put it like that!” 3 panels! That being said, I think Simon is the only Lantern that makes the corruption of the ring work.
The thing I absolutely love about this issue is how Hank Henshaw explains how all the destruction and division he’s caused is even possible. Recently, we’ve seen Henshaw as part of a group of Supe’s villains. He’s also had what little humanity he had left chipped away by being sucked into the Phantom Zone and then being thrown in a Kyrptonian vault that not many beings know exist. Cyborg Superman being on his own somehow feels way more terrifying than him in a group. As Henshaw explains how he took over the Lantern’s Power Battery and rings (because a villain can’t help but monologue about their evil plans), a couple things become clear. 1.) Cyborg Superman is much more of a threat than I initially gave him credit for, and 2.) the Lanterns aren’t as untouchable as they’d like to believe. With some help, Henshaw was able to take over the Green Lantern Power Battery, change orders, and even kill a Guardian, without leaving his cot.
The division that is depicted between the Lanterns gives us some insight into how and why Hal Jordan will soon be our main Green Lantern again. No one trusts Simon (obviously), and because of Jess’s blind loyalty to him, her judgment is thrown into question. The Corps runs like any military organization, and there needs to be trust among its soldiers. Without it, the Corps isn’t really strong enough face anything. The Corps will need a leader they can all get behind, and that will always be Hal Jordan (of Stewart, but… you know… coma).
Each issue in this arc has done a great job of escalating the events from the issue before. How do you escalate Cyborg Superman without bringing in Zod or Eradicator? Give him the most powerful ring in the spectrum. I had to step away after seeing these panels. Seeing Superman put on the Yellow Lantern ring is scary. Mera taking on the Red Lantern ring during Darkest Night is terrifying (and accurate). Cyborg Superman with a ring of his own? After taking over an entire Corps from his cell? Yeah… no. Hard pass. I get that it’s a work of fiction and Cyborg Superman is not real, but that is a whole lot of nope.
We are at the final few issues of the Green Lanterns series, and it is looking like Jurgens is taking it out with a bang. While I have not been shy about my love/hate relationship with Simon, I do hope that there is something that redeems him for what he has done up to this point. Jess is also a big concern. She has quickly become one of my favorite Lanterns, and I am hoping to see her exit as more than just part of a Lantern duo that couldn’t hack it long without Hal taking the reins back. There are still a lot of answers we need to find before we get to that final issue (like what is Eon and the Ravagers tie to Henshaw?) and I have learned to trust Dan Jurgens with any title he is on. I am excited see what happens in the #55, but also sad that we will be one issue closer to saying goodbye to our buddy cop Lanterns.
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