Green Lantern has been a staple of DC Comics’ “New 52″, and one of the best-written and well-loved series due to Geoff Johns‘ seemingly never-ending well of creativity. However, there is another title that may be just as good, but has been unfortunately eclipsed by the more-than-deserved star-power of Johns’ Green Lantern. I’m referring, of course, to Green Lantern Corps, written by the phenomenal Peter J. Tomasi and drawn with inspired power by artist Fernando Pasarin. Following the adventures – or maybe more accurately, the mis-adventures – of Green Lanterns John Stewart and Guy Gardner, as well as a host of other members of the Green Lantern Corps, Corps is full of action, intrigue, brilliant characters, and writing to rival that of Johns’ Green Lantern run itself.
Green Lantern Corps #11 is no exception. Continuing the on-going “Alpha-War” arc, which finds the Green Lanterns battling the villainous Alpha Lanterns, issue #11 jumps right into the midst of the action – with Alpha Lantern Boodikka shoving Kilowog face-first into the concrete on the very first page. The Alpha Lanterns are overwhelming the “mutinous” Green Lanterns that include Kilowog, and the fact that the Alphas are neutralizing the Lanterns’ rings isn’t helping matters for our heroes. When an Alpha Lantern gets a lock on what looks like the energy signatures of Green Lanterns John Stewart and Guy Gardner, Boodikka and her fellow Alphas give chase, finding at the very last second that they’ve been duped by constructs that look like Stewart and Gardner and share their energy signatures. Meanwhile, the evil Guardians of the Universe watch all this dissension play out, pondering the right time to interfere to make sure the outcome of this “Alpha-War” ultimately meets their sinister, overarching goal.
Miles underneath the surface of Oa, John Stewart and Guy Gardner are moving around undetected near the Green Lantern’s Ring Foundry. Stewart and Gardner make a startling revelation: the Rings are not leaving the planet, looking for new Green Lantern recruits as they should be! As Guy notes, “They’re not going anywhere…just buzzing around in the same spot with nowhere to go.” Are the Alpha Lanterns preventing the Rings from leaving, or is this the work of the Guardians? Whatever the answer may be, something is definitely up. As they continue their stealthy trek through the underbelly of Oa, Stewart and Gardner come across many of the previous “corps” prototypes the Guardians have been experimenting with: the fish-like Psions, the robotic Manhunters, and now the Alpha Lanterns. Realizing that the Guardians were trying to build a “perfect warrior,” Stewart devises a plan to help their fellow Lanterns above defeat the Alphas. Using his architecture background, Stewart wields his Ring to create bastardized Manhunter-like fighter robots from all the leftover pieces he found down near the Ring Foundry. John and Guy then lead their make-shift Manhunters to the surface to help their fellow Lanterns in their fight against the Alphas Lanterns.
Green Lantern Corps, and specifically this issue, really shines because of Tomasi’s masterful storytelling and characterization. The banter between John Stewart and Guy Gardner is pitch-perfect – if you didn’t know any better you would swear that these two guys must really exist because they are just too real not to be. Tomasi’s characterization of the Alpha Lanterns is brilliant as well – he really does a great job of showing how tyrannical they have become, especially in a scene where Boodikka orders Salaak to keep Stewart and Gardner’s supposed energy-signatures from escaping Oa by initiating a “Planet Firewall Code,” which Salaak negates and is met with an intense threat by Boodikka. Tomasi’s characters and dialogue are so crisp and clear that they are seemingly alive, jumping off the pages, and that makes for a great comic series that drags readers into its world from page one.
So if you’re looking for something great to read and for characters you can really get involved with, you could do way, way worse than Tomasi’s Green Lantern Corps.