Comic Reviews, Reviews

Green Lantern Volume 5 Test of Wills Review

It’s time for one of the newer Green Lantern volumes. Hal’s had a rough time, but the last volume saw him taking over the Corps. He definitely didn’t really want this to happen, but now that it has, he might as well make the best of it! His decision to limit the use of the Power Rings really heats things up here and the villain groups aren’t afraid to use this to their advantage!

The main plot of this graphic novel involves a group of shapeshifters who infiltrate Mogo. They manage to knock Hal Jordan out and go on Galaxy TV to declare (While posing as Hal) that the Green Lanterns will hunt down anyone who uses the Lantern energy as it all comes from a supply at the end of the universe and if it runs out, everyone dies. (At least their emotions will) Technically, this story is true aside from the Green Lanterns all being extremists, but the universe quickly panics. The Lanterns must die now! Just about every planet turns against the Green Lanterns and this seems like it could be the status quo for quite a while. It’ll be hard to get people to forget this.

The shapeshifter problem isn’t over yet either. There lies a planet very much like Krypton in the universe and its citizens gain incredible amounts of super strength and speed when exposed to the sun. The shape shifters want to copy their forms and then bathe in this legendary sun liquid on a planet that will complete the transformation. These shapeshifters are really hard to detect because the transformation is just about 100% authentic. Hal needs to figure it out quickly though because having a lot of Evil Supermen in the universe would definitely not be a good idea.

Shapeshifting plots are always interesting because it’s very hard to stop those guys without plot hax or a lot of specific scenarios. Let’s just say that the heroes are not successful here and the shape shifter has her way for quite a while and even gains the Superman abilities, which was interesting to see. The Green Lanterns are powerful, but they are out of their league against someone like this. The group had a pretty good plan for dealing with the villain though and while I think they probably should have gotten owned, it didn’t feel to plot hax’d and their plan was a good one. I didn’t care for the villains aside from the one that got the cool super powers, but it’s always intriguing to see more alien species. I currently know of more Marvel kinds than DC ones so this helps to even the odds.

Another plot during this collection involved the Red Lanterns as the Green Lanterns find an enraged Supergirl while in space. Since when is she a Red Lantern? Well, in the comics it felt like that happened for a while, but to the characters it probably seemed random. Even worse is the fact that nobody knew who she was. Man, Hal Jordan’s seriously out of the loop right now and it just shows that he needs to get back on Earth. Too bad he’s effectively banned from going there since it’s Red Lantern territory now. Yeah…long story. It was great to see the Kryptonians get so much hype here though. Hal implies that Superman would completely wreck the Green Lantern core if something happened to Supergirl and he’s right. As it stands, I could easily see Superman decimating all of the Green and Red Lanterns teaming up. They’re simply not ready to fight him just yet.

The Red Lanterns got their own issue in this collection since it dealt with the Supergirl situation. It was interesting to see an issue from their series. I don’t think it’ll be nearly as good as Green Lantern since the cast isn’t quite as good and aside from Guy Gardner (Who’s not exactly the greatest main character) I can’t think of any real notable players. The fight against the Shadow Thief was neat, but Red Lantern abilities never look as good as Green ones. Seriously, those guys are always coughing. Atrocitus is coming closer to Guy’s faction though so it’ll be interesting when they fight again. That guy was always a big threat so having him return would definitely up the stakes.

Hal Jordan is still my favorite Green Lantern and he does a good job of keeping everyone in check in this volume. You can tell that he’s more experienced and in control than he was in the old comics. Let’s ignore the Justice League issues in the New 52 since he lost all of his development and the whole thing is one big plot hole anyway. Hal realizes that he needs to listen to other opinions now that he’s the leader and he does that ASAP. He’s no longer the space flirt that he used to be and he’s only worried about Carol, not even to get back together with her, but because Kyle died so right now things are rough for her. I’m expecting them to fight though since the Star Sapphires are antagonistic towards the Greens. (For good reasons, since the Green Lanterns want to control the universe’s levels of light) We even get to see some of Hal’s family like his brother and nephews. They’re neat and it’s always good to see that a hero has someone that he can talk too.

For a while Spider Man had Aunt May and Superman typically has Lois. With his family around, Hal can spitball ideas and also get a grounded perspective. I definitely haven’t heard of his bro or nephews before, but they seemed pretty decent even if they were pretty mean to Simon Baz. Poor Baz, he never quite hit it off in the comics, but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of him. He is the last Green Lantern on Earth after all. John Stewart was also around and he’ll be having his own subplot for future issues as he needs to find someone who was replaced by the Shapeshifter a while back. The whole thing is super embarrassing for Stewart and it’s why I say you should always be careful where romance is involved. Still, what’s done is done and hopefully he’s able to find her quickly since the universe is a big place.

There’s a fairly big cliffhanger at the end here as the New Gods are finally making a move. They want the Anti Life Equation and they seem pretty shady so for the Darkseid War I wouldn’t be surprised if both sides end up being villains. It’ll be fun seeing the Green Lanterns take these guys on and I’m assuming that it’ll tie into why Green Lantern headed for Earth in one of the Justice League volumes that I read. Is it time to call in the Calvary? The Justice League can certainly tip the scales of any fight after all.

As always, the art is very good for this graphic novel. The fights are very eye catching and I never tire of the beam wars. I’m hoping that Hal completely forgets about trying to conceal light since that would mean the fight scenes can’t be as grand. He’s already starting to move away from that idea, which is definitely a good start. It’s always very easy to read through the comics since the art is so exceptional. It was also neat to see Batman on a few of the covers even if he didn’t actually get to appear in the issues. Ah well, I suppose that will have to do for now.

Finally, I’ve also got to note that it was impressive as always to see Hal hold his own in a fist fight against an opponent who by all accounts is stronger and faster. Note that this is without the Power Ring. Hal’s always had the most will power out of any Green Lantern and he always looks very skilled in his comic series. It’s one of the reasons why the Green Lantern franchise is one of the best parts of DC. Hal makes for a consistent main character and the plots are always interesting. This current plot about how everyone is dealing with the concept of limited energy is a good one and the universe is so big that there are so many plots to keep up with. We thought that Earth was a big place, but when you compare that to a universe, it makes sense that there are so many things happening. The Lanterns just have to tackle one problem at a time. Next problem on the list? Saint Walker. His refusal to help the others out is coming dangerously close to forfeiting innocent lives and that’s where you’ve got to draw the line between a cautious fighter and a bad character.

Overall, This is another solid Green Lantern comic. There’s a lot of action and the plot is very interesting. There are really no big negatives to speak of here. Hal Jordan definitely shouldn’t get one shotted from any blunt weapon and I still consider him to be one of DC’s power houses so that was a moment of plot hax, but it was a rare one. For the most part, Hal takes care of business and beats up anyone who gets in his way. I’m also glad that he keeps on springing into action instead of staying at the base like a leader is supposed too. That kind of thing has hurt many good characters and I don’t want to see that happen to Hal. An active main character is a good one! I’ll be reading the next volume very soon so stay tuned!

Overall 8/10