Monday, October 5, 2009


Written by Geoff Johns; Art and cover by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy; variant cover by Andy Kubert
(DC Comics; sept 30, 2009)

The best comics, or anything really, nail it both on a grand scale and in the details. Geoff Johns' epic Green Lantern run tends to do just that, although it is most easily seen in the collections, when the arc is together all at once. Living issue to issue though, some still stand out above the rest and this one has not escaped my thoughts for the past week. Ultimately, this issue rests on the strength of 6 panels.
As a fan of pro-wrestling, there is one thing that will make or break the excitement of a fight: Does every blow, every hold, every possible moment of defeat actually represent some higher meaning; some aspect of the characters and story? What is mind-blowing about the final 6 panels of Sinestro and Mongul's battle to control the yellow-energy fear corps aka the Sinestro corps aka the Mongul corps is how unified the concept of character and physicality of the fight are. As Hal Jordon points out, Mongul has the strength to rival Superman. Combined with the force of the yellow rings on his hand, he is beyond advantaged and Sinestro takes the appropriate wooping to show that. But it isn't just that Sinestro ends up winning the fight by virtue of having an ace up his sleeve that makes these some of the most memorable 6 panels in Green Lantern this year. It is the dialogue between these to dictators that escalates the energy of the fight. Sinestro doesn't win by having a secret weapon. The secret weapon is a result of Sinestro essentially winning a debate with Mongul. Mongul mocks Sinestro for just being a man of words, but not of action. Naratively, the fight climaxes when Sinestro concludes "You are a creature of action, but those actions are unmotivated and, therefore, empty." We know that Sinestro has won before we turn the page and are given the visual payoff of this debate, and incredible two page spread of Mongul being torn to pieces from within by the very yellow-light/fear weapon that Sinestro gave him.
Simple but eloquent moments like this, when Geoff Johns shows how philosophically interesting the interactions between fairly simple, symbolic characters, is a real testament to why so many love DC Comics in particular. The shades of grey come from the way the simply defined characters interact, rather than through the depiction of complex characters as Marvel is more known for. Of course, there are exceptions, but this is why I love DC.

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