Green Lantern #20 brings to a close the bombastically epic run of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern, comprising over 100 issues of will-powered science fiction. It has been just short of a decade since Johns made a name for himself as the man who put the green ring back on Hal Jordan’s finger in Green Lantern: Rebirth. Since that time we have seen the meteoric rise of Hal Jordan and Green Lantern-properties, including several ongoing comic book titles, animated features, an animated series and even a (disappointing) Green Lantern film. In the pages of the comic book itself, Johns has redeemed Hal Jordan, raised the stakes on a universal level and fundamentally changed/strengthened the Green Lantern mythology.
Green Lantern #20 is not only the grand finale to Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern saga, but also the current GL book-spanning story arc “Wrath of the First Lantern.” While that story tediously dragged along in most of its chapters, the finale is the crazy summer blockbuster ending that Green Lantern deserves. Volthoom, the “First Lantern” in question, continues his maniacal plan to remake the universe as he sees fit. The issue isn’t really about Volthoom’s plan however, but it’s more of a tale that yet again reaffirms how strong of a hero Hal Jordan is. The finale is a “greatest hits” of sorts for Johns and his Green Lantern universe, as we see staples from every major event that has occurred under Johns’ guidance, including Blackest Night and Sinestro Corps War. Green Lantern #20 has appearances from every major character from the Green Lantern books of the past decade including Kyle Rayner, Larfleeze and of course Sinestro. One of the high points of the issue is the narrative choice to flash forward to “Beyond Tomorrow,” where a young Green Lantern recruit wants to hear the story of Hal Jordan. It’s a nice touch that allows readers to reflect on what has come before as well as closing the door on an era.
Of the comic books that I have read this week, this month or even this year, Green Lantern #20 was the one that truly amazed me. The entire issue is a reminder of how awesome Geoff Johns has made the Green Lantern ongoing series, and it made me smile throughout the entire read. Johns is at the top of his game with his final issue, giving closure to as many characters as he can while bringing things full circle to where he began. Regular artist Doug Mahnke handles the majority of the artwork, while past series artists like Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver make cameo contributions as well. Mahnke ends on as much of a high note as you could possibly hope for. Though he has his roots in horror and the grotesque, Mahnke has always given a more streamlined approach to Green Lantern that has resulted in some truly beautiful visuals. The finale alone highlights Mahnke’s skill as an artist, with more single/double page spreads than you could will into existence with a power ring.
Green Lantern #20 is a fantastic farewell of a comic spread across 64 pages with no ad breaks, barring those with (worthy) industry praise for Mr. Johns. Like many others, I hopped on the Green Lantern bandwagon sometime after the success of Green Lantern: Rebirth. Thanks to Geoff Johns I have grown to love a character and mythology that I wouldn’t have given a second thought about 5 or 6 years ago.
Geoff Johns is a man who took a B-List superhero and made him a pop culture phenomenon. He’s a guy who took the simplest and most obvious idea of a rainbow array of Lantern Corps and sold it without coming off as completely ludicrous. Most importantly Geoff Johns is a visionary writer who truly believes in his work, which is why it’s so astoundingly successful.
Thank you Geoff Johns for sharing the Green Lantern universe with those of us who didn’t know any better.
“In Brightest Day, In Blackest Night…”
Final Grade: ★★★★★ 5/5 Stars