After already confronting the Justice League last issue, this one finds novice Green Lantern, Simon Baz, resuming his mission to find out why there was a bomb in the van he stole, in the hopes of clearing his name from being labeled a terrorist by the FBI. What makes Simon an unusual choice for a Green Lantern is that he has a criminal record for car theft, as just mentioned. He also happens to be of Middle Eastern descent, which automatically makes him a prime suspect, as far as the authorities (and most everyone else) are concerned. In other words, things aren’t looking so great for Simon.
The political thriller aspect of his story is what makes Simon such an interesting character, as well as the fact that he’s, essentially, a good person, who just happened to make the wrong decisions in trying to help his family. His mission to clear his name and get to the bottom of who the real terrorists are makes for a compelling read. Although, it’s hard to say if he’ll maintain any longtime resonance with readers, after this aspect of his story is resolved. Much of this issue’s excitement is derived from Simon’s confrontation with the supposed original owner of the van he stole, who turns out to be much more than he appears. Writer Geoff Johns continues to provide just the right amount of action, intrigue, and humor, particularly when Simon discovers his ring has run out of juice. His discovery of what it means to be a Green Lantern and the requirements and limitations of his power are fun to read. Johns also scores bonus points for writing in one of the best surprise appearances of the year, as well as revealing what might have happened to Sinestro and Hal Jordan, who will both, most assuredly, make a triumphant comeback by the time this event is over. At least, that is my hope. By the end of the issue, we are also introduced, by name, to the mysterious First Lantern, who the insane Guardians of the Universe are using to make their Third Army. It still remains to be seen if this First Lantern is friend or foe, but there is no doubt he will seek retribution on the Guardians, if he survives their abuse.
Artist Doug Mahnke is in top form, as always. His use of size and angle – particularly in an incredible title splash page – both convey a sense of epic galactic scale. His renderings of the horrific Third Army transformations and the hopeless black realm that Sinestro and Hal Jordan find themselves in really make an impression on the reader. It still isn’t clear, however, if their ordeal has any connection to what’s happening with the Guardians or if it’s something separate entirely. At any rate, this issue was a great read and another intriguing installment to this monumental event. 9/10