Review: Rise of the Third Army – Green Lantern #0
Although already covered by ComicBooked.com, and although there is no direct mention of the Rise of the Third Army as part of its story arc, we cannot talk about this Lantern-based crossover without mentioning the 0 issue of Green Lantern.
At the end of Green Lantern Annual #1, we saw Hal and Sinestro killed and their rejoined ring go on a journey to find a new owner. The journey of the ring ends here (or begins, depending on how you look at it) in Green Lantern #0. We see the ring find a new wielder in Simon Baz, an Arab-American whose family is attacked and ostracized after the September 11 attacks. Simon eventually takes to being a street racer and car thief, which resulted in the death of his brother-in-law.
After jacking a van, Simon is trying to out race the police who are hot on his trail… when he notices a bomb in the back seat of the car. Simon attempts to take it to a secluded area, knowing full well what this looks like due to the bigotry and racism he and his family have experienced in the past, and does not want to come off looking like some kind of terrorist. As soon as the bomb goes off though, that’s exactly what it looks like and Simon is taken into custody.
While in government custody (under the watchful eye of Amanda Waller, formerly of Team 7 but currently handling the Suicide Squad), Baz is questioned by an agent who apparently lost his son in the 9/11 attacks, Agent Fed (who I have a feeling will be recurring). When he doesn’t give the answers they want to hear, the agents take things to another level. Baz is hooded and is taken to another room, where a waterboarding table is located. He is told he is going to be strapped down, at which point he resists. Simon takes out his guards quickly, only to find himself on the receiving end of Agent Fed’s gun.
Just as Agent Fed is about to take a shot, the Green Lantern ring bursts through the ceiling and declares that Simon Baz has the ability to overcome great fear (albeit with an error state still flowing through it) and rests itself on the finger of Mister Baz. This is not a friendly first wielding, however, as the pain appears to be too much (perhaps due to the error state of the ring) and he takes off with the shape of a lantern burning into his shirt. Agent Fed notifies Waller, who decides not to call the Justice League…
But Cyborg intercepts the call and asks Batman if anyone has heard from Hal. This sets the stage for a Justice League appearance. As the story closes, we also see the first human-corps Third Army member approaching a populated area to begin “recruiting” for this regiment of the new force for the Guardians.
The epilogue page shows it all, however, with Sinestro and Hal Jordan still alive but trapped in blackness… perhaps something to do with Black Hand?
This issue was written by Geoff Johns with pencils by Doug Mahnke and inks by Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne and Mark Irwin. It gives an introduction to the character of Green Lantern Simon Baz, but not a lot of depth. I agree with my colleague who wrote the previous review on the issue that Johns has a knack for creating character personas over a number of issues, so time will tell how that goes, and this issue really would not have even made it as an interlude for the Rise of the Third Army story without the appearance of Hal and Sinestro at the end (as I suspect they will have a major role to play in how this event plays out).