Simply put, Doug Mahnke is one of the best comic book artists putting pencil to paper today, and this issue proves it. Geoff Johns uses this issue to further define Larfleeze, the avarice-powered Orange Lantern. Compelled by greed, and believing himself among kindred spirits here on Earth, Larfleeze (who is interrupted from an amusing task when Hal finds him) has set himself to collecting as much stuff as possible. Stuff that Mahnke draws with pizzazz: police cars, toilets, pinball machines, captain’s wheels, discarded phones, record players and big wheels. It seems as though Johns may have told Mahnke to just go nuts with the décor in Larfleeze’s lair, because that’s exactly what Mahnke did. He draws this stuff with as much skill and emphasis as he puts to the action between the main characters. Yet the book isn’t crowded. The interactions between characters are clean, the light constructs are bright (thanks to the Color Corps) and the story flows between panels and across pages. Mahnke also can deliver the creepy art like no other, save for maybe Patrick Gleason. The cover alone should be enough to convince you of that. Hector Hammond, a deranged caricature of a man, who some artists cannot render as a visual threat is not only a threat on the cover, but a visually hideous threat.
Throw in a dash of Ophidian (the orange entity) and that deformed threat becomes a greedy, intimidating, deformed threat.
All of the entities that power the various emotional lanterns have been set loose on Earth, with a mysterious being trying to collect them all. The collector already has the Parallax (yellow) and Ion (green) entities. That collector unleashes Hector Hammond and sets him after the Orange Lantern. This naturally leads to a scuffle with Larfleeze and Hal Jordan (the title of the book is still “Green Lantern”) and ends with a revelation that isn’t incredibly exciting, but it is intriguing.
If Geoff Johns doesn’t have fun writing this book, then he certainly does a great job of masking it, because the story is a compelling, fun superheroic/science fiction romp that doesn’t waste time setting up notions and ideas but rather dives headlong into action.
The quest to collect the light/emotion entities has drawn some interesting subplots over the past two issues, with the Spectre last issue and the Question in this issue. This title is entrenched in the DC Universe and continues to add more layers to the Lantern mythos.
One last note regarding Mahnke’s work: the next issue blurb is one of the most playful blurbs I’ve seen in a long time and I hope Mahnke continues to find new ways to express himself through these. “Green Lantern” is gaining steam in the public consciousness, and this title is a wonderful offering for those looking to immerse themselves. It doesn’t stop long enough to bore readers with the “who”s and the “what”s, but it does provide enough answers through the story itself. “Blackest Night” may be over, and “Brightest Day” may be burning bright, but this title is a great read all by itself.