Here it is, folks. The big magilla of the week. While some of the assorted Blackest Night tie-ins in the regular series have been kind of tangental, the stuff in Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps has never been anything less than must-read stuff. This issue, a member of the Indigo Tribe join Kyle, Guy, Kilowog, Arisia, Soranik, and the rest of the Corps as they try to defend Oa from an onslaught of… well… every Green Lantern who has ever died. And that’s a lot.
As they fight, holding the line best they can, the Corps begins to get overwhelmed. You see, over in Blackest Night #4, the Black Lanterns finished charging their power battery, and allowed the Death God Nekron to rise. This issue catches up to that moment and we see what their new goal is, now that they don’t need to absorb hearts to fill ‘er up anymore. And it’s bad, friends. Guy and Kyle try a desperate gambit, letting a captured Red Lantern loose in the midst of the Blacks, but one of the Alpha Lanterns takes his job a little too literally. Finally, one of the Lanterns makes a play to save all of Oa, but at a tremendous cost.
This issue is gonna have people talking. Some people are going to be outraged, because when something like this happens, people are always outraged. And I’m going to get into that more after the upcoming spoiler warning. But for now, I’ll just say this: I’m not outraged. Because I think what happened here was handled very well by an excellent writer in Peter J. Tomasi, and because — the nature of this story being what it is — I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this plotline yet.
Okay, if you’re still reading now, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself. In this issue, the event that’s gonna piss people off is that Kyle Rayner sacrifices his life to save the main power battery on Oa from the onslaught of the Black Lanterns. Whenever a superhero dies, people get pissed off. Sometimes I think they’re justified. But in this case, I think the story works.
My criteria for accepting a hero’s death is this: Does it serve something other than shock value, and does the death suit the character? Ted Kord’s death, for example, served an undeniable story purpose, and he went out fighting to the end. It fit. By contrast, the deaths of the New Warriors back in Civil War served the story, but was a disgrace to the characters, having them die because they behaved like childish amateurs, something they had long since outgrown. Kyle makes a conscious decision to sacrifice himself, says goodbye to Soranik and Guy Gardner, and goes out fighting like a Green Lantern. It’s a worthy death.
It serves a story purpose. The rest of the surviving Lanterns have an even more personal stake than before, especially if you’ve seen the cover for the next issue, where we see Guy Gardner’s response to this event.
And what’s more, I don’t believe Kyle’s story is over. This is a story all about death and what comes after it in the DC Universe. A lot of characters have died (in fact, I’m tempted to re-read all the issues so far just to catalog them all) simply too many to believe they’re all going to stay dead. What’s more, my persistent “White Lantern” theory seems to flow into this. Each Corps needs a Guardian, or at least a point man. If a White Corps is established, with the souls of the dead standing against their bodies, I could see Kyle leading the charge.
I could be wrong. But I think I’ve got a good track record with this series so far.