Previously on Green Lantern Corps: Covering Issues #1 - 9
Two Green Lanterns are killed by a mysterious enemy, as are the two Lanterns dispatched to investigate their deaths. Meanwhile, John Stewart and Guy Gardner find themselves lamenting the fact that of the Earth-born Green Lanterns, they do not try to hide their identities behind masks, as they have trouble finding civilian employment without their popularity (and liability) getting in the way. They decide to head to Oa to see if anything is up and find out about the Lantern deaths from Salaak. Guy “persuades” himself and John onto the recon-in-force team being sent out, but when they get to the planet Nerro, they discover that not only is the water-world completely barren, but all of the inhabitants are dead.
On a distant world, unknown beings oversee the reprocessing of Nerro’s water. Guy, John, and their force move forward to another planet, Xabas, to protect the citizens there from having their trees displaced. A portal responsible for sucking out the trees begins to expel black-clad warriors to take on the Lanterns, prompting Guy to call for backup from Oa. Salaak assembles as many Lanterns as possible to take a five-hour trek to Xabas, but Porter—a Lantern with transporter abilities—uses his powers to transport the entire force to Xabas within five minutes, even though it’s a strain for him. Just before the arrival of the reinforcements, the Lanterns already on station compel the surrender of the enemy force. A closer inspection reveals that their weapons are like the Lantern power rings: they use Will. While being questioned, most of the enemies “will” themselves to death, but John knocks one out for later interrogation.
The reinforcements arrive just in time to fight the enemy reinforcements. Porter begins to transport everyone back to Oa, but it is too much for him and five Lanterns are left behind, including John. Shortly after the others arrive on Oa, Porter dies due to the stress on his sytem. John and the others, drained of energy from their own rings, try to use the weapons of the enemy but discover they’re so much like the power rings that they only respond to their encoded wielders. Most of the survivors of the original 7-member recon-in-force team have a hard time dealing with the fact that John and the others were left behind, while Guy presses their sole prisoner for more information. When the prisoner fails to give information freely, the Martian Manhunter makes his presence known to help the Corps before it becomes a Stormwatch problem. The Martian Manhunter tells how the enemy are the Keepers of the Lantern Batteries. It appears that up until recently, the Keepers were the overseers of the Lantern Batteries, but the Guardians stripped them of their responsibilities which likewise depleted their world of living resources.
Guy brings in some more muscle—the Mean Machine, Lanterns with aggressive attitudes—and hijacks some illegal weapons to combat the Will used by Keepers. He also takes two captured Sinestro Corps members with him as a last resort weapon—Fear—to combat the Will of the Keepers. Due to the long distances, the Lanterns taken an Interceptor craft to conserve ring energy, but the nearly arrive too late. Lantern Kirrt has been tortured so much that he nearly gives up vital information concerning Oa’s defenses, but John kills him to preserve the information. Shocked by what he has done, the Keepers are unprepared for when John breaks free and takes the only other living Lantern with him out of their central tower. Pursued by the Keepers, John is nearly overwhelmed when suddenly Guy and his reinforcements come blazing in. Not long into the battle, Guy drops the “fear bomb” on the Keepers, incapacitating them, despite the fact that he killed the two Sinestro Corps members to do it.
Guy is called to the Citadel to answer to the Guardians for his actions, but blows them off. Meanwhile, John volunteers to take Kirrt’s body back to his world to honor him and his family, though he still feels guilty for what he’s done and hasn’t told anyone else about it. Kirrt’s brother has a hard time dealing with his death, but eventually listens to John’s advice; however, the Alpha Lanterns (the Internal Affairs division of the Corps) learn of the circumstances of Kirrt’s death and move to arrest John for murder. Meanwhile, Guy is promoted to a provisional command rank above even that of Salaak, though he hasn’t announced it to everyone yet, and tries to use his new position to keep John free until Stewart confesses to his crime before all present. A trial is quickly presented, with John being found guilty and sentenced to death while the rest of the Corps take up sides on whether or not he was justified in his actions.
The Corps: While Green Lantern and New Guardians focus more on individual Green Lanterns (Hal and Kyle, specifically)—and even though it appears that Guy and John are the “stars” of this line—Corps shows how the Green Lanterns as a whole function when facing problems. Various members of the Corps are shown and how they deal with new situations, such as the Keepers and the dismemberment of the Sinestro Corps, are vital to the title. The introduction of the Alpha Lanterns, for example, shows just how diverse the Corps is and it really shows.
Darker Edge: There’s a lot more grit and dirt in this series than I would have expected, and several Green Lanterns have to make hard voices that play havoc with their sense of honor, duty, and morality. The Green Lanterns are the peacekeepers of the galaxies, charged with maintaining order throughout a disordered universe, yet they behave more like a military force who have seen too many battles. It’s actually a good thing, and I like their dynamic a lot in this line; it shows that they’re not afraid to get down and dirty when the situation calls for it, and there are obvious moral dilemmas that have arrived that they must tackle on their own.
Guy’s Attitude: I’ll be honest in that I don’t know Guy as well as the other Earth Green Lanterns, and so I can’t speak to how well this fits in with his personality. But, I really don’t like the way he blatantly disregards protocols and rules. Well, okay, protocols and rules are really what bug me, but his willingness to do some very immoral and unethical things—like the “Fear Bomb” he drops on the Keepers—is a bit much. He doesn’t seem to have much in the way of strategic thinking and is very much a “cowboy” in the field—not a good combination.
John Stewart: Now that the Alpha Lanterns have arrested and tried John, just what is he going to do? Even after explaining the situation, he is branded a murderer and sentenced to death, and while some of the Corps have forgiven him, many still have not. What exactly will become of John Stewart?
Guy Gardner: Given his new “promotion” to command, just what will Guy do? His methods are unorthodox and sometimes outright immoral, but they are effective; however, that effectiveness seems to be because he does what he pleases against the system. Now that he is the system, will he be able to continue being his own self, or is he going to change to try and be a better “commander” for the others to follow?
Salaak: As senior administrator on Oa, Salaak is the main contact point for all communications and decisions between the Corps and the Guardians, but it’s apparent that he is very upset with how willful some of the Lanterns are being in regards to their duties. He has often talked about his frustration with the lack of loyalty which Lanterns show the Guardians, and he doesn’t like Guy’s methods much. So, how is he going to feel once he finds out he now has to report to Guy?