Writer: Geoffrey Thorne
Artists: Tom Raney, Marco Santucci & Andy MacDonald
Color Artist: Michael Atiyeh
Cover Artists: Bernard Chang & Alex Sinclair
The Green Lanterns are scattered! Their Power Battery is destroyed, and there are few Green Lanterns with working Power Rings. Now John Stewart and the rest of the Corps need to survive out in unknown space while new Lantern Jo Mullein tries to setup rescues and figure out who did it. But while going through the list of usual suspects, Teen Lantern hears “Sinestro” and just blasts off to New Korugar, and Green Lantern #5 shows the trouble she gets herself into.
So, this issue is a bit of a mixed bag for me. The art by by Tom Raney, Marco Santucci and Andy MacDonald was good, especially when it comes to the action but the story was not the best. In my review of Issue #4, I theorized that this issue would have the Teen Lantern just show up and start fighting and possibly besting Sinestro and his Corps. We do see this issue show off how strong Teen Lantern can be, but thankfully not at the expense of Sinestro himself. Though it’s at the expense of the Sinestro Corps on a fundamental level, and I’ll get to that in the Spoilers section. Quick nitpick, Sinestro having a threesome with random alien women is a little out of character for him in this continuity.
Geoffrey Thorne averts using one bad trope but still ends up using two more in this half of the comic, let’s call it the “Sinestro half”, primarily in the narration and its narrator whose identity I’ll get to in Spoilers. Despite the narration in this comic, this is very much Teen Lantern throwing a tantrum and recklessly attacking New Korugar and the Sinestro Corps to try and fight Sinestro. Thorne gets to show off how strong Teen Lantern is, and the constructs she uses are nice. And he does try to give some heartfelt and tragic reasons behind the adolescent’s constructs and her superpowered outburst. But it still doesn’t excuse her foolish actions.
The second half of the comic follows John Stewart and his time on Sergilon. The story picks up where the last issue ended for John, where he helped the planet’s people repel a space slaver attack and now he’s trying to get back to the Green Lantern HQ he set up in the dark sector. The comic shows off John’s leadership and organizational skills as he helps organize Sergilon’s inhabitants to leave the planet. The story is told primarily through the alien boy from the previous issues. Thorne goes for a child’s perspective here as the little boy comments on the events transpiring around him in the comic. Overall, there’s genuine progression in John Stewart’s story and the comic already set up John’s next stop.
I mentioned that the Sinestro half of this book indulges in two bad comic book storytelling tropes. The first is having the new character – in this case Teen Lantern – take on established villains (the Sinestro Corps) to show how tough they are. There’s a bit of the Worf Effect in play here, but only to a point as she’s not completely victorious here. The second trope is the whole “They think they know what pain/anger/fear is. They don’t, but I do” which we see in full display with the narrator who even goes so far to claim that Sinestro and the majority of his Corps have never felt fear, even saying “They don’t know fear.” Which is nonsense.
The whole point of the Sinestro Corps is that you not only experienced fear but you have the ability to command it and explicitly instill fear in others on a general basis. That’s why Batman and Scarecrow have been established candidates for the Sinestro Corps for a decade now. However, Thorne seems to miss this fundamental point of the Sinestro Corps as shown with the narrator of the Sinestro half of the comic, Jessica Cruz, the former anxiety-ridden Power Ring turned Green Lantern. The comic doesn’t say it but the narrator, the hooded female figure who ends up stopping Teen Lantern’s rampage, is very much her. You can even see the Lantern symbol around her left eye.
For those who don’t know, Geoffrey Thorne’s Future State: Green Lantern title had a backup story where Jessica Cruz had to fend for herself against 3 Yellow Lanterns without her Power Ring and she fought them back Home Alone style. Apparently, this warranted her candiddacy into the Sinestro Corps and now we see that this already happened in-universe. My issue with this is that it’s a gimmick that misses the point of being a Yellow Lantern: that you generally instill fear and terror in others, not that you can give someone a brief scare. Jessica Cruz overcame her fear but she never instills it in others. This just seems like a forced gimmick that feels inorganic to the character, and she’s likely going to be stuck with it for a while.
Green Lantern #5 picks up where both the main story and backup story left off. The first half focuses on Teen Lantern’s rampage on New Korugar fighting the Sinestro Corps, while the second half follows John Stewart and his side of things. The former is more action-packed but uses a couple overused storytelling tropes when it comes to analyzing Teen Lantern, the Sinestro Corps, Sinestro himself, and their relation to fear. Overall, the narration comes off as needlessly edgy. The second half follows John Stewart as he finally makes some progress finding other Green Lanterns. It’s not exactly thrilling but it continues to explore John as an earnest leader and even sets up the next step for him in upcoming issues.