Review: Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might trade paperback (DC Comics)

July 14, 2019

Dan Jurgens' Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might is a nice surprise, a lot better than I thought it was going to be. It is not a perfect Green Lanterns specimen, as the work done here with star characters Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz is quite imperfect (especially for the last volume of their solo title); however, when it gets down to it, this book sees Jurgens returning to a particular well with particular significance, and that's notable, interesting, and well-done. Perhaps if somehow this has been the final volume of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and not necessarily the final volume of Green Lanterns (and if Baz, particularly, had been treated better), this might have ranked up there as truly fine filler before Grant Morrison takes over the franchise.

[Review contains spoilers]

Former series writer Tim Seeley's suggestion of a romantic connection between Simon and Jessica was ill-advised, though Seeley made a convincing argument for it. That's all ignored now, and indeed in many ways Jurgens simply fits Jessica and Simon to the molds he needs for this story, including making them both far more familiar with the rest of the Corps than they've been previously demonstrated to be. Also, right after a story by Aaron Gillespie in which Jessica is accused of having betrayed the Corps, Jurgens' story sees Simon accused of the same; Jurgens probably would have had no way to know, but still it makes the story a tad repetitive.

And the whole of the Corps braintrust is immediately ready to believe Simon has gone bad despite the number of times they've each been falsely accused, and despite that Simon is fairly well known to them — Jurgens ignores, for instance, Simon and Guy Gardner's unique friendship. That feels sloppy, indeed relegating this to filler and not the culmination of the whole of this era of the Green Lantern franchise, and also Simon is made a fool of by the book's villain in a way that seems unfortunate since Simon isn't even moving from this title to a spin-off.

Leaving the titular Green Lanterns aside, however, this book takes off when Jurgens reveals that it's his own creation, the Cyborg Superman Hank Henshaw, behind it all. This not only lets Jurgens follow-up on story threads from his own last Rebirth Action Comics story — pretty notable, because that in and of itself seemed like Jurgens' last word on the Cyborg — but also earns us a Jurgens-penned rematch between the Cyborg and Hal Jordan, marking what I believe to be the first time Jurgens has written the two since "Reign of the Supermen" (or at least it's been a while). We all understand this era of Hal Jordan's story really ended once Robert Venditti departed Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps and again everything else is just marking time for Morrison and Liam Sharp, but letting Dan Jurgens revisit "Reign" is a pretty good way to do that.

The book's conflict is clever, too, in that the Cyborg has hacked the Lanterns' rings such that every individual ring is telling its user something different — often conflicting or conspiratorial — than the others. Jurgens, perhaps to his credit, never makes his metaphor too explicit, but there's shades here of "fake news" and social media hacking, a demonstration of the real-world chaos that can emerge when different parties are told different "truths" about the same subject by seemingly reliable sources. That after over 50 years of Green Lantern stories, the rings could be warped that significantly, seemingly so easily, stretched believability, but I'm still willing to give a lot of leeway to essentially an index story where Jurgens gets to reprise the Cyborg.

Among my initial concerns for this book were that Jurgens' sometimes distracting penchant for slang might come out here, which it doesn't, and also that Jurgens' art might not serve the story well (I'd take Jurgens' Superman and Cyborg any day, but I worried to what extent the Lanterns would look distinct from one another). But the art, as it turns out, is by Mike Perkins and Marco Santucci, both of whom's work, gritty and dark, reflects well the tone of this story. Whereas sometimes the author may be too apparent in Jurgens' stories, here (especially with the two artists) the story takes center stage for a good while, enough that when the Cyborg and the story's meta-connections reveal themselves, it's additive rather than derailing the momentum.

It seems rather hard to believe that Green Lanterns could have been the better-selling title over Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, and DC's decision to cancel Hal and leave Lanterns running for a while ahead of Grant Morrison's The Green Lantern seems mainly a (deserved) acknowledgement of Robert Venditti's contributions than any grand praise of the Green Lanterns title. But in a couple of late volumes by Tim Seeley, we did get some good world-building for Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz, and, with Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might, a shot of Dan Jurgens nostalgia.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might

I'd still like to see DC let go of this idea of Green Lantern as a cosmic-only title and tell some earthbound Green Lanterns stories, a la the early days of Geoff Johns' Green Lantern book. Green Lanterns was maybe going to be that, but it never quite manifested — but maybe it will some other time.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Green Lanterns Vol. 9: Evil's Might
Author Rating
3.75 (scale of 1 to 5)

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