“I need a list.”
“What kind of list?”
“A list of the toughest sons of bitches in the Corps.”
If Green Lantern Corps#4 was the most action packed book in the series, #5 is the exact opposite. Fortunately, the pace of the book is just as quick, and the break from intense action is a welcome one, because it gives Peter J. Tomasi a chance to develop the story. The result is a book that likely won’t change your opinion on the series in either direction. Unless you’re a fan of the Mean Machine, that is.
The main line of action in this issue follows Guy Gardner as he tries to recruit the Mean Machine to his cause. For those who aren’t familiar with the Mean Machine, they’re kind of the Suicide Squad of the Green Lantern Corps. Tomasi makes this interesting enough to carry the story, even after all intense action of the previous issue. The issue doesn’t really seem like a build-up book, even though it basically is one.
Each issue of Green Lantern Corps seems to give Guy Gardner a bigger role. In this issue, he’s the focus of most of the issue, and that’s definitely a good thing. Tomasi has a grip on how to write for Guy. His dialogue is one of the strongest points of the issue. Tomasi gives him all the cocky action hero gusto and biting sarcasm that the character is known for, and the book is much more entertaining because of it.
Tomasi also has a handle on the idea that one of the main draws of a Green Lantern Corps book is that it involves the Corps as a whole, and not just one or two Lanterns (like Green Lantern). While Geoff Johns’ current Green Lantern story focuses on the daily life and struggles of Hal Jordan and Sinestro, Tomasi’s story is much bigger in scope. The whole existence of the Corps is at stake, and Tomasi calls up characters from every part of it to make appearances.
Strangely, the secondary action of this book is almost the same as it was in issue #4, but the positions are flipped. Instead of Guy Gardner interrogating a captured Keeper, the leader of the Keepers is interrogating a captured John Stewart. I don’t know if Tomasi deserves credit for a subtle storytelling trick, or if it’s just a coincidence. It actually makes for a cool parallel, though, whether accidental or not.
Luckily for Fernando Pasarin’s hands, Tomasi asks much less of his art this issue. There are no thousand-man brawls here, and the pages are much less busy. Pasarin still puts more detail into his pages than most other comic artists, though. Much like last issue, he wastes no space. He gets the most out of every panel by leaving almost no empty space at all. Negative space can be used to an artist’s advantage, often making the focus of the panel stronger. Pasarin might benefit from that, but his art isn’t so busy that it distracts from what’s going on, at least not in this issue.
I’m not sure whose idea it is, but it seems that when either Tomasi or Pasarin want something on a page, they want a lot of it. Even when Pasarin isn’t drawing hundreds of Keepers, he draws hundreds of individual lanterns, bottles, bar stools, or other random things. It’s a part of his style that I’ve grown to appreciate. He’s either got an inhuman attention to detail, or he’s a crazy person. There are a lot of artists that wouldn’t draw half the little details that he does.
Green Lantern Corps #5 is just about the same in quality as the rest of the series have been. The main selling point to someone who hasn’t been reading it should be the appearance of the Mean Machine, who should act as a sort of wild card in the coming issues. Tomasi’s writing is still fast-paced, and his dialogue is still clever and true to the characters. Pasarin’s art is still more detailed than any sane man could handle. If you liked Green Lantern Corps before, you’ll like this issue. If you haven’t, there’s not a lot here to change your mind.