GREEN LANTERN CORPS #31 (Van Jensen, Bernard Chang) is the most kinetic prison break you’ll find this side of Arkham.
Continuing from last week’s GREEN LANTERN #31 (Robert Venditti, Billy Tan), part two of six in the UPRISING crossover takes us to a Khundian prison camp, where John Stewart and a company of interred and disarmed Lanterns get their juice back. Considering last week’s chapter featured an orbital battle over the living planet Mogo, Venditti’s handed his collaborator a pretty tough act to follow. In GREEN LANTERN CORPS #31, Jensen shows us that he’s more than ready for the challenge.
In this issue, Jensen reminds us what GREEN LANTERN CORPS is really about: not any single member, but the team as a whole. GREEN LANTERN is a book about Hal Jordan, and is at its best when that remains its focus. But GREEN LANTERN CORPS’ strength comes from that which has so far eluded the New 52’s repeated attempts at a “war book” (BLACKHAWKS, G.I. COMBAT, MEN OF WAR, the upcoming STAR-SPANGLED WAR STORIES): the emphasis on the camaraderie which can only be found in a band of brothers.
Last week, GREEN LANTERN #31 eased you into the centerpiece battle with some interstellar office politics. That was fine. But here, we get right into the fighting, and it doesn’t stop until we reach the heavily promoted SUPERMAN #32 preview that’s in the back of, what, every book this week?
This is filed under “Positives” for a reason. When Jensen and Chang are orchestrating the action, you don’t want it to stop. The powerful Khundians and versatile Durlans are far more formidable in close quarters on their own turf than the open space of the previous issue, and the Corps, while victorious by necessity, is much more evenly matched. Every page brings a new exciting clash, each encounter brimming over with violent detail, making this issue one for sci fi combat connoisseurs to read over and over.
We even get an emotional scene as we’re reunited with an old friend from the Green Lantern wing of the DC Universe. I won’t spoil who, but let’s just say their return made a certain Graxonite very happy. And it’s only with their return that we learn the Durlan rebellion’s true battle plan– and their target is far more valuable than Mogo.
If you read GREEN LANTERN CORPS for the book’s frequent cover girl John Stewart, there’s not much of him in this issue. Sure, he’s right there on the front lines, but the focus is seldom on him. It’s the second string Lanterns who really shine here, and few but the most ardent GL devotees will truly appreciate their moments in the sun.
But hey: that’s what this book’s all about. GREEN LANTERN CORPS shows us the universe is much bigger than Earth, and that humanity doesn’t have the monopoly on heroism. If you’re looking to empathize with a familiar human face, get on board with Jensen and Chang’s cool aliens or pick up a Batman story.
GREEN LANTERN #31 promised you the action would continue over here, and boy, did it ever. But GREEN LANTERN CORPS #31 delivers more than a promise: it raises the stakes in a credible, terrifying way. For a series that’s been around since 1960, that’s a pretty tall order. But it’s one that must be met if you’re going to tell an original story people will remember, and carve your name into DC history. And if UPRISING keeps taking advantage of the rich universe DC has to offer beyond the confines of the Lantern color spectrum, it might just be a story you’ll still be talking about years down the road.
UPRISING continues three weeks from now in GREEN LANTERN #32. I’ll see you there!