Green Lantern Corps Volume 2: Alpha War
Reprinting Green Lantern Corps #0, 8-14
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artists: Fernando Pasarin, Scott Hanna
DC Comics, $24.99, color, 192 pages
If you read this book, I hope you have a high tolerance for the color green.
I enjoyed this book well enough, but it's inescapable to realize that the stars of this book -- Guy Gardner and John Stewart -- spend most of their time fighting other Green Lanterns. It's Peyton Place on Oa, with a lot of navel-gazing and internecine battles.
And the reason for this is actually plot-driven, which is this: The Guardians are plotting to destroy the Green Lantern Corps, because they've decided to eliminate free will in the universe and see the Corps as an impediment to this goal. So they arrange events for the Corps to self-destruct.
Which raises my one real problem: Why do the Guardians need to go to all this trouble? They're the Guardians! We've seen them turn rings off before, so why don't they just turn off all the rings? Or turn off the Central Battery that feeds the rings? Heck, individual Guardians have been demonstrated to be as powerful as they need to be, so they could physically kill all the GLs if they wanted -- especially since they are drawing power from a new character (although an old name), Volthoom, the first Lantern, who will be the villain in the next arc.
Further, one Guardian remarks that they're lucky that Mogo is defunct during their plan, since he would try to stop them. Um, what? Mogo can fight the Guardians? OK, maybe so. But if that's the case, why do they send John Stewart off to re-assemble Mogo? Isn't that the last thing they'd want? Gah!
But yeah, that's what they do. Turns out Mogo isn't dead, just in pieces, and those pieces want to be together, so John is sent out to help them do that. AFTER, it turns out, that the Guardians try to execute Stewart for killing a GL some issues ago to prevent him from breaking under torture. He's sentenced to death, and accepts his fate.
Instead, though, Gardner organizes an insurrection against the Alpha Lanterns, who are the ones who tried and will execute Stewart. Which is OK with the Guardians, because this is their plan! (They really aren't very good at plans, are they? See: Manhunters.) Anyway, I won't spoil how that's resolved, because what happens next is ...
Guy Gardner is put on trial! For something obviously trumped up, of course but just like Stewart, he accepts his fate. He's sentenced to expulsion, which is a darn sight better than execution, but at this point the reader can be excused for feeling a little deja vu.
So, OK, the plotting is pretty weak in these stories. But for the most part I enjoyed them, because Tomasi allowed some time for character development. The zero issue, for example, is devoted to establishing Gardner's history and family in The New 52 history. And while Stewart doesn't get a lot of character development, he at least gets a love interest: Star Sapphire Yrra, who used to be Fatality, who spent her time trying to kill John Stewart. OK, it's a bit implausible, but at least there's finally a little romance in one of the GL books. All that testosterone was wearing me out!
Also, a Star Sapphire gave my eyes a rest from all that green-on-green combat. Seriously, that was a lot of green.