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And Now He’s Even Uglier

August 7, 2010

The assembling of the New Guardians and the quest for the emotional entities continues in Green Lantern #56.  And at long last, it’s time for Geoff Johns’ long running subplot with Hector Hammond to bear fruit.  After dreaming about being Green Lantern and Hal Jordan being the one with the giant head, Hammond is awoken by a very cold bath.  The mysterious hooded guy sends him assistance by controlling nearby rats to attack Hammond’s jailers, so Hammond is now free to pursue his desires.  Hal Jordan visits North Branch, Minnesota, where Larfleeze is using his orange minions to steal everything he can from the town.  Christmas lights included.  Larfleeze sits atop a massive pile of items his constructs have stolen, writing a wish list for Santa Claus.  Because he believes that Santa Claus is real.  Sayd isn’t there, as she’s off on some mysterious errand.  Hal asks Larfleeze for help, asking about the orange entity.  He believes that the voice he heard from his lantern back on Okaara was the entity.  Larfleeze says that is true; his entity, Ophidian, is inside his lantern.  Hal explains that they’re looking for the other entities, and he wants to learn how Larfleeze trapped Ophidian.  Just then, Hammond arrives and takes the orange lantern.  Both Hal and Larfleeze try to retrieve the lantern, but Hammond pries into Larfleeze’s mind to find out what makes him tick.  Elsewhere, Saint Walker and Question rebury the last of the desecrated, the original Question, in Nanda Parbat.  Renee is lacking a lot of hope in her life, but Walker tells her that all will be well, for Adara has arrived.  On cue, Adara flies above.  Unable to get Ophidian outside of the lantern, Hammond chooses to eat the lantern instead.  He starts to transform, and he is shown images of each of the other entities: Adara in Michigan, the Butcher in Montana, the Predator in Las Vegas, and Proselyte in some unknown location with the Indigo Tribe.  The end result is that Hammond is now controlled by Ophidian, as Hal was once controlled by Parallax.  And Larfleeze admits that it wasn’t easy trapping Ophidian that first time.

Well, any issue featuring Larfleeze is absolutely priceless.  I mean, that whole stuff with believing in Santa Claus is just great.  Larfleeze is possibly the best new character to come out of the Green Lantern mythos since Geoff Johns first started creating the other Lantern Corps.  And it is very satisfying to see Hammond finally get out of his cell and into the spotlight.  It was obvious from the moment Johns put his own spin on the character that he would be involved eventually with the Orange Lantern Corps.  I thought he would be the one to discover the orange light, but since Larfleeze controls it, it makes perfect sense for him to merge with Ophidian.  Man, they’re even uglier together than they are separately.  I’m not entirely sure I understand what the purpose of that Saint Walker-Question interlude.  Adara isn’t supposed to come up for another issue or two.  Is the Question going to have a role in upcoming issues?  We’ll just have to see.  And not only am I even more interested to find out who this hooded guy is than ever, but I really want to know just what Indigo-1 and her tribe are planning to do.  They already have Black Hand under their control, and now they are after their emotional entity.  They sure have a strange conception of compassion.  The other superstar of the issue is, of course, Doug Mahnke.  While I’m not the biggest fan of his interpretation of Larfleeze (I like his head longer), he does just great with the whole issue.  He certainly draws a grotesque Hector Hammond, and his Ophidian/Hammond design is just disgustingly great.  And of course he draws everything else very well.  He’s Doug Mahnke, after all.  This was definitely the funniest issue in a while, all because of Larfleeze.  I’ve enjoyed this book from day one, and this new Brightest Day direction is great.  Looks like Johns will be staying my favorite writer for a while longer.

Plot: 9.1      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.3      Overall: 9.2

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