Green Lanterns #39
Story: Tim Seeley
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
Cover: Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, & Jason Wright
Green Lanterns #39 is the explosive finale to the A World of our Own arc. Liseth has revealed her plan, used the Surge Engine to its full potential, and has gone full blow demon demigod to make sure Ungara remains home to the Ungarans and the Ungarans only. It’s all-out war in Tokoo, and Jessica, Simon, and Regent Vok are all that stands between Liseth and the Molites.
***WARNING*** SPOILERS AHEAD! If you haven’t read Green Lanterns #39 yet, STOP and go do so now! I liked this issue a lot, come back later for the rest.
First, let’s talk about the artwork, because this is full of panels that make you stop a stare, only to realize you stopped reading 2 minutes ago. The cover by Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, & Jason Wright lets you know right off the bat that this is going to be an exciting finale. Liseth is looking like a Lovecraftian fever dream (VERY different from when we met her back in #33) that has full control of Jess and Simon. It’s hard not to get excited to jump into the issue.
Once inside, it’s hard not to get lost just in the colors alone. Liseth gliding down like a horned angel with and aura that reminiscent of The Phoenix Force (also terrifying) jumps off the page. This is where you really start stopping to just soak up the art. Seeing Liseth unleash beams of green and red energy at the adorable pink Molites is enough to break your heart, while acknowledging its beauty. Liseth in particular, seems like a bit of a playground (what with the shapeshifting and what not) for artist Ronan Cliquet, and you can see how much fun he had in this issue.
There are a few panels that need a nod just based on the sheer awesomeness of what’s on the page. First off, Jessica using a Kurt Cobain construct to slap the teen pop star away from the destroyed refugee camp is something I need framed on my wall. Simon’s uniform (while Liseth is messing with his head) shows how hard Simon is fighting back to keep control. He has to relive the worst experience of his life and face his worst fears, while trying to keep his head in the fight, and the art does a beautiful job of showing that. Simon ripping the light from Liseth is the most powerful moment of this issue. The back and forth before this moment is so tense. Liseth is at her most terrifying and boiling over with hate, and then Simon (who has felt this incredible bond with her before this issue) rips the Liseth we met in #33 from the demon. Finally, if you can look at the tiny Molite who found a piece of scrap metal and feel no joy, you may be a little dead on the inside.
While an issue that is mostly an all-out brawl is usually told primarily through the artwork, Tim Seeley doesn’t hold back. While the speech Liseth give to the citizens of Tokoo is about taking back their power, standing up for themselves, and regaining their pride, it is dripping with fear. The galaxy is vast and unknown, and that is scary. It is reflective of our own societies. The unknown or misunderstood is scary, and people face the unknown in different ways. She hopes to use that fear as motivation for anger (Liseth doesn’t need your Yellow OR Red Lantern Rings, she’s a celebrity).
Green Lantern comics always come back to one critical thing, emotions. Throughout the arc (including the Work Release arc back in issues #33 & #34) Seeley has used repetition beautifully to bring out a lot more of the story than the surface GL vs. murderous alien. The Shores of Gulbray is where Regent Vok found a young girl covered in mud, and instead of waging war, The Regent took that girl as her daughter, Liseth. It’s also where Liseth took hold of the Surge Engine (Regent Vok’s design btw) and became a monster. The Colepteric Blade glows bright when around life, and the Regent has seen it dim twice now because of her daughter. The heartbreak you can feel in both Liseth and Regent Vok, while they face off, comes through loud and clear (We’ve all felt the “I’m not mad, I’m disappointed” before). And just to put a heartbreaking cherry on top, Regent Vok holds her daughter to her chest like she did on the Shores of Gulbray many years before (seriously, tears. Judge me if you want).
This issue is more hopeful than it is sad though. When the Molites settled down to die in a fire (again) the hand that came to save them was actually the Ungarans. “They saw suffering, and they’re helping.” This arc has been about the war between love (Molites) and hate (Red Tide). That line from Regent Vok is saying love wins.
This is a great issue that I just had to read again and again. DC has a put together a great team, and we get the benefits of that in this one. Exciting action, stunning artwork, and strong layered story telling with a powerful message. What more could you want from a comic? This issue left me feeling hope about real life as well. Seeing the outrage, heartache, and constant fighting on our phones and tv’s, it’s hard to see anything but the negative. This issue shows that, yes, all may look bleak at times, and it may look like hate has won, but at the end of the day you have to believe the good in people will shine brightest, and love will win. A lot of things come full circle in this arc as well (including Abin Sur crashing to Earth and giving his ring to Hal Jordan), and the cliff hanger for the next arc has got me very excited!