Friday, December 2, 2011

Green Lantern Corps: Ring Quest Is A Lot Of Build-up Before Something Very Predictable.

The Good: Moments the characters actually move forward, Great reinvention of the villain Mongul.
The Bad: So much of the artwork! Plot turns quickly into a very droll combat story.
The Basics: Finally getting in Ring Quest, I discover a Green Lantern Corps story that should have been more than it ended up being.

I had a strange advantage going into Green Lantern Corps: Ring Quest. That “advantage” was that I had already ready the stories in the arc that followed, so I knew a little bit about the villain Mongul and his rise to power as an opponent of Sinestro as part of the fear-powered Sinestro Corps. Unfortunately for me, I had not known the origins of Mongul in the current Green Lantern storyline. That is exactly what Ring Quest is.

Unfortunately, it is nothing more. Ring Quest is something of a necessary evil. It is a bridge story between the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night. Sadly, while it establishes Mongul as a powerful adversary for the Green Lantern Corps, the story that seems very much about wrapping up loose ends initially turns into an unfortunate battle story where the battle is truncated and is hardly interesting. The result is a lot of set-up for a story that fails to materialize or pop.

In the wake of the Sinestro Corps War, members of the Green Lantern Corps are slowly putting their lives back together. For Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner, that means figuring out just where their place in the universe is. Guy decides that he wants to leave Earth, especially in the wake of Tora’s resurrection and cautious approach to having a relationship with Guy. So, Guy and Kyle leave Earth to establish a bar on Oa. While they meander about, Mongul – the giant, powerful killer who once waged war upon Earth – encounters a dying member of the Sinestro Corps. Learning about the existence of the Yellow Rings of power, Mongul decides to go in search of more than the one he obtained by killing the member he encountered.

Meanwhile, on Oa, several Green Lantern Honor Guards namely Kyle, Guy, Iolande, Soranik Natu, Vath Sarn, Stel, Sodam Yat, Arisia and Bzzd are recalled for a special mission. While the Green Lantern Corps struggles to restaff in the wake of the Sinestro Corps War, the Guardians realize that the Sinestro Corps rings are scouring the galaxy for replacements for their fallen. The Guardians retask the team of Honor Guards to recover whatever yellow rings they can before they find new hosts. That puts the Green Lanterns on a collision course with Mongul and his powerful Mercy plant that has the ability to telepathically manipulate organic life forms!

Ring Quest may be flawed but it is by no means all bad. The idea of Mother Mercy, the giant plant that spawns the parasitic plants Mongul uses to instill fear is actually a pretty cool idea. Mother Mercy comes into the story as a delightfully highbrow character who has her chance to explain a very different perspective than some of the Green Lanterns want to hear, especially in the wake of Arisia and Sodam Yat being attacked by Mercy’s spawn.

Much of the book is unfortunate build-up. The narrative wanders with decent character work at the outset. Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner try bonding as Rayner actually processes the horror of being possessed by Parallax. That is an interesting development, but it is unfortunately glossed over as Guy begins to dominate the story. As a result, the book shifts from a character-driven story with a protagonist who is wrestling with a lot of guilt to a very traditional super hero story wherein a bunch of people begin pounding on one another.

Indeed, all of the cerebral bits that Peter J. Tomasi writes involving Kyle or Mother Mercy are utterly gutted when Mongul takes on the Corps members. That portion of the story, sadly the climax, is predictable and boring.

Part of what futher diminishes the emotional resonance of the book – I’ve grown to care about many of the characters in the Green Lantern Corps through all of the books I have recently read about them! – is the artwork. Patrick Gleason and Carlos Magno unfortunately leave far too many details up to the reader’s imagination. Instead of having vivid images that are clear, many of the panels are disturbingly like thumbnail sketches. Especially in the battle sequences, the low quality of artwork is distracting to the story.

Ultimately, Ring Quest is a bridge story and I’ve found all of the relevant information from it could be found just fine in other books.

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Green Lantern: Rebirth
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two
Sins Of The Star Sapphire
Rage Of The Red Lanterns
Agent Orange
Emerald Eclipse
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
Brightest Day: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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