Geoff Johns is one hell of a writer. I need to get that out into the open right now. And honestly, those who know me personally know how often I start a conversation with that phrase.
I’ve looked up to Johns as a writer for as long as I’ve been reading comics regularly. The reason is fairly simple: he’s the reason that I read comics regularly.
Not Bob Kane. Not Stan Lee. Not Robert Kirkman or Todd McFarlane or Scott Snyder or even Alan Moore. They are all amazing writers and/or artists and I love them all in their own ways, but Geoff Johns is the reason that I have 2 long boxes full. He’s the reason I drove to New Dimension Comics in Ellwood City, PA, on my birthday for a $1 comic sale.
He’s absolutely the reason that I dressed as a slightly more gentlemanly and sophisticated William Hand for WVPopCon this past weekend.
I know I’m dragging this intro out, but it’s important to me. If I hadn’t been given a copy of the first issue of Johns’ Blackest Night, you wouldn’t be reading this today. It’s undoubtedly the comic that got me into comics, and while that’s a story for another day, I still have to give credit where credit is due.
Mind you, Blackest Night is not the only comic Geoff Johns has written. His credits include massive crossover events like 52 and the Crisis on Infinite Earths sequel Infinite Crisis. He also penned the maxi-series Brightest Day, which chronicles the direct aftermath of the Blackest Night story line. Add to that runs on The Flash, JSA, and the New 52 Aquaman and you’ve got yourself an experienced writer who definitely knows what the hell he’s doing and throws his weight around enough to put a long-lasting mark on every title he touches.
Now, most fans of Geoff Johns would realize that I’ve excluded a massive title from that list. Johns has been writing the ongoing Green Lantern title since #1 last year. He also wrote the entire volume before the New 52 relaunch. All told, Johns has been writing Green Lantern story lines for at least the last 7 years. He knows his stuff.
This is where the spoilers kick in, kiddies. Check out some other posts if you don’t want a few things ruined for you.
The most recent volume of Green Lantern starts out exactly where the last one left off: Hal Jordan has lost his ring and is forced to continue his pitiful existence back on Earth, which includes trying to patch things up with Carol Ferris for the dozenth time. Sinestro has Hal Jordan’s ring, not because he stole it but because it was bestowed upon him after Jordan had it revoked.
Of course, Jordan and Ferris patch things up and try to be normal again, even though Hal is still lusting after life in the Green Lantern Corps and Carol is wrestling with their past as a couple and her past as a Star Sapphire. At the worst time, Sinestro pops up to give Hal a power ring copy and recruit him to help save his home world of Korugar from the Sinestro Corps that he assembled to protect it.
Hal goes along under the assumption he’ll be given a proper power ring upon completion of the mission. They save the few remaining natives of Korugar, and Sinestro reveals that he has tricked Hal by not promising him a lantern to charge his new ring.
Hal and Sinestro then get wrapped up with the Indigo Tribe on the planet Nok. Indigo-1 assimilates Sinestro into the Tribe, hoping to change his outlook on life just like it did for everyone else. We find out in the long run that the Indigo Tribe was originally set up by Hal Jordan’s predecessor as Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814, Abin Sur, along with a creepy-looking native midget named Natromo.
Natromo states that the Indigo Tribe was actually the most wretched hive of scum and villainy in existence, having been assembled of the worst killers, sadists and rapists in the universe that were essentially brainwashed into begin compassionate for use in the coming Blackest Night. Mind you, Natromo didn’t know the Blackest Night had already occurred.
He gets all frazzled and talks about the Rise of the Third Army and the idea that the Guardians will destroy the Green Lantern Corps. When he finds out that Abin Sur has dead been for years, he destroys the Indigo Lantern, freeing the tribe from the charms of compassion and returning them to a troupe of homicidal maniacs. This allows Black Hand, who has been a member of the Indigo Tribe since the Blackest Night, to escape and jump over a cliff, killing himself and transforming back into a Black Lantern.
Hal and Sinestro go on the hunt for Black Hand, who starts reanimating dead everywhere and finally relocates the Book of the Black. Unfortunately, it just says “Hal Jordan is not your enemy. Hal Jordan will be the greatest Black Lantern,” which is an extremely interesting concept, even though Black Hand doesn’t quite agree.
Black Hand is captured by the Guardians of the Universe and imprisoned in the Chamber of Shadows which they just pulled the mysterious First Lantern out of after having him locked away for thousands of years. Turns out the Guardians are going to keep Black Hand and First Lantern in their collective hip pocket to kill damn near everyone because they have gone crazy and are now trying to do a modified version of what Nekron and Black Hand tried to do in Blackest Night: remove all sentience and free will from the universe.
Finally, we see the introduction of Simon Baz, the hip new Muslim Green Lantern and see the first of the Third Army soldiers: weird-ass grey aliens that painfully and forcibly assimilate all beings they touch into the hive mind that the Guardians are attempting to create.
…and that’s it so far. Thirteen normal issues and an annual and it took damn near 1000 words to give you the short version of it. Seriously. I can’t even begin to give you the full details on this stuff. But I will leave you with this last little tidbit. It’s not too important to the story line, but it is enticing.
Carol dons the Star Sapphire ring (and amazingly revealing costume) for a few brief yet amazing panels.
There. You happy? I’ve given you more than enough reason to want to get on the Green Lantern bandwagon. Go pick up the Green Lantern: Sinestro, which collects issues #1-6, and get the other loose issues. Or just pick them up on Comixology. Either way, this is something worth getting completely caught up on. It’s at the top of my pull list, right behind Scott Snyder’s Batman and a few of the Before Watchmen titles.
Sorry, Silk Spectre. I understand the sex appeal, but even the sweet sight of skin-tight silk isn’t enough to bypass Geoff Johns’ twistingly intense narrative.