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Green Lantern #43
writer: Geoff Johns
artists: Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

After every Crisis, it's been difficult to adjust to the new status quo. But that really is what happens - a new continuity, a new melding of Earths in the case of the Milestone and Red Circle characters and Charlton before them, and most jarringly for characters that never actually stopped having their stories told, new stories about them. Characters in the DC Universe refer to themselves as being on New Earth, but with the impending "Blackest Night" event, I have to adjust to this really being Earth-Johns.

Not that that's a bad thing. He's one of the best at putting new spins on characters, and in particular with the villains, making them darker, harder and far more fitting for these times. As Dan DiDio often claims, in contrast he really does make the heroes that much brighter.

With this issue, he essentially recreates Black Hand, tying him into his new tightly wound Green Lantern continuity. In fact, Green Lanterns hardly appear in this issue, showing up in flashbacks. On New Earth, which must exist in a New Univ…whoops, sorry, the already death-obsessed William Hand got caught in the crossfire of Hal Jordan and Sinestro battling Atrocitus.

That event had been shown before, at least a year ago in DC Universe #0, but seeing its real consequences play out here is just chilling. Doug Mahnke's pencils always have an edge that make heroes and villains seem just slightly other than human, and that effect works perfectly here. This William Hand was disturbing to those around him long before he picked up a super-weapon.

In an earlier DC Universe, Hand had been a clever crook with a photographic memory who invented his weapon. Now, it's an alien weapon of prophecy, destined to take down all the various Corps that have been popping up over the last couple of years. With it, he'll lead an army, and this issue also lays out that army's officers will be - and worse, who will be the first to feel their wrath.

Before he can do that, he has to take care of a few things, and if you read closely, you'll catch some nice little Easter Eggs in the story. That adds to the depth of the story, and a lot to the creep factor. If you've been skipping the preludes to "Blackest Night," change your ways now. The cover calls this Prologue, and make no mistake: it's begun.

And so has the drain on my wallet.

Hey, write to us and let us know what you think!

Derek McCaw


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