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Green Lantern #176
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Luke Ross

Well… I… Okay, this is just wrong.

In my recent review of Fantastic Four #512, I offered some general guidelines new series writers should consider when taking over a long running series. Ron Marz just broke all of them.

Last time around, Kyle and his group of former Green Lanterns took down Black Circle crime syndicate head Amon Sur (son of late GL Abin Sur) while the Guardians defended Oa from a Qwardian black hole generator. Blowing up the generator only caused a “permanent black hole” to form, however, and the Guardians decided to kill off Kyle for the cryptic reason of “maintaining a balance”. Kyle’s dying words were “screw destiny” as his ring flared up and then appeared on the hand of his protégé Terry at the end of the issue.

So Marz decides to start his run with a brief Green Lantern roll call of sorts, then shifts to Kyle, back on Earth, wondering what he should do with his life.

Wait, it gets better.

Kyle explains to the reader that he projected himself into his ring and willed it to find Terry, then released himself from the ring and everything was hunky-dory (my god, I can’t believe I just wrote that).

He returns to his apartment in New York, hoping to find his girlfriend Jenny, but instead finds her new boyfriend in his shower. Jen arrives and promptly starts a fight with Kyle about him running around playing space cowboy while she was all by her lonesome on Earth. He nearly calls her a whore, she slaps him, he leaves. Relationship over.

I’ll be fair to Marz and admit that Benjamin Raab left this series with a lot of baggage. For any who don’t remember, Kyle proposed to Jenny with a working GL ring and let her keep it even though she turned him down. Then he returned her original superhero powers to her during his stint as Ion. How many boyfriends you know do that?

It’s understandable that Raab chose to write her falling out of love with him and even meeting another guy while he was gone, but the way he did it -- having her not respond to Kyle’s message home, nor go to space to see Kyle, nor keep her new relationship from flowering in Kyle’s apartment -- that was just… yikes. Should she have waited for him like a dowdy little housewife? No, but there are better ways of going about things than banging your new guy in your old guy’s bed while he’s gone.

But Marz doesn’t allow Jenny to calmly and rationally try to explain things to Kyle, which she would probably be ready for by now (especially considering how far her current relationship has advanced). He just has her burst on the scene, chew out Kyle for being rude to her new boyfriend, complain that she’s been paying the rent on the apartment for the last few months, and say that it’s over. She seems a bit remorseful, but clearly comes off like the bad guy, and, even though this is a comic, this is one fight that shouldn’t have a bad guy.

However, this just reflects Marz’s haphazard continuation of the story. Isn’t there a new black hole floating around the galaxy now? Don’t the Guardians want Kyle dead? Doesn’t Kyle remember that the Guardians tried to kill him? Are the former GLs from the last arc going to reform the Corps? Is Terry still moving out west to continue his work as a gay rights spokesman? We have no clue.

Marz tosses us into a Green Lantern that has little to do with the main events of the last few arcs, bringing the flow of the story to a screeching halt. He then ends the issue with a new conflict from an old arc that hasn’t even been referenced in nearly three years, but, before that, he brushes off the events of the last issue as some kooky mishap and acts as though they never happened.

A big deal has been made of how the series will end at #181 and restart with both a new first issue and Hal Jordan returned to the role of Green Lantern. More accurate wording is that he’ll be alive again and have a ring (the rest is still a bit hush-hush). But does this mean they’re going to dump Kyle as unceremoniously as they did Hal? It sure feels like the writers are gunning for him.

There’s no easy solution to resurrecting Hal Jordan, but screwing up the current Green Lantern is certainly not the right way to go about it. I could easily accept it if they did a title swap and turned the current volume into Green Lantern Corps (like they did with the last one) then allowed Hal his clean start with a new volume of Green Lantern. But giving the current story a sloppy ending so they start from scratch…

Man, it’s starting to feel like “Emerald Twilight” all over again. 


Jason Schachat

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