Release Date: June 13, 2012
Cover Date: August 2012
Story: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Doug Mahnke
Inks: Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne, Mark Irwin, and Tom Nguyen
Cover: Doug Mahnke and Mark Irwin
Variant Cover: Doug Mahnke
The freed Indigo Tribe angrily pursues Hal Jordan and Sinestro, and the latter stays behind to fight them off hand-to-hand while Hal tracks down Natromo. He begs the alien to rebuild the Indigo Tribe Central Power Battery so he can continue Abin Sur’s mission. Meanwhile, Black Hand throws away his Indigo Tribe ring in disgust and runs away. Hal finally convinces Natromo, but the Battery can’t be restored without a spark of indigo light. Iroque arrives, and even without her ring, she genuinely feels guilt and sadness over her past murderous acts. This provides the necessary spark, and the entire Indigo Tribe is reactivated. They release Sinestro after Hal promises that he can be redeemed on his own. Finally, Black Hand’s indigo ring tries to lock on to him, but he falls off a cliff to his death. His dead face spits out a Black Lantern ring, and Black Hand is resurrected.
Most of this issue was pretty damned good. The Indigo Tribe’s origin story was wrapped up well, and the scenes where Hal and Sinestro finally begin to respect and trust each other a bit more were great. Black Hand’s palpable fear of the indigo ring was cool too, even though that subplot ended with a fart noise (more on that later). Doug Mahnke carried the appropriate drama and action in equal parts, and I love how well he illustrates the difference between the serene Tribesmen and their evil former selves. Check out at how badass Munk looks!
Iroque’s reversal was unexpected, but welcome. Of course, the question remains: was her sadness a lingering effect of wearing that ring for so many years, or was it genuine? We know that the Tribesmen’s former selves are not conscious while under the influence of the ring. Was it a subconscious thing, or something deeper?
Anyway, I’m still quite interested in how the Tribe’s ultimate mission will turn out. I don’t see the Guardians willingly putting on those rings, and who the hell has the power to force them? Will Natromo come along to Oa, perhaps? He may have seemed like a coward, but the little guy reconstructed a Central Power Battery by himself. Not too shabby.
Now begins the nitpicking. There’s a glaring art error leading up to the eventual reactivation of the Indigo Tribe: the former Tribesmen were missing their rings! Granted, Black Hand is the only one we saw willingly throw away his indigo ring, but look at the art: everyone else (including Sinestro) is clearly missing theirs, with the exception of Iroque in the panel before her cheesecake splash page. The reconstruction of the Tribe’s uniforms and staves makes sense, but without those rings, it’s a noticeable mistake.
I’m not keen on Black Hand suddenly dying and becoming a Black Lantern all over again. Aside from the fact that we just had him as the major villain two years ago during Blackest Night, his return presents a new set of questions. The biggest ones are these: why did his corpse suddenly create a new black ring, and more importantly…where’s his power coming from? (The Black Lantern Central Power Battery was destroyed, remember.)
This issue also confirms what most Green Lanterns were dreading: that Sinestro’s will become a hero for good. We can already assume that massive conflicts like the Sinestro Corps Wars happened quite differently due to Flashpoint, but it’s still common knowledge that Sinestro was a mass murderer. He needs to stay a villain, as he’s much more interesting that way. But I’ve got a sinking feeling that his past acts will be whitewashed, or erased entirely. How will this mess be solved? Watch, we’ll eventually find out that Sinestro was mind-controlled or some such bullshit, just like that crappy Parallax retcon in Green Lantern: Rebirth. Don’t get me wrong, Geoff Johns writes a great Sinestro…but lets stick to his strengths, which are that of a dangerous and capable bad guy.
On a final note, I need to call out this issue’s incredibly lame variant cover. If you get the combo pack edition (which includes a digital copy), you’re treated to the same cover as the regular one…with Hal and Sinestro’s heads swapped. It’s literally the exact same artwork except for the heads! (And skin tone, of course.) And to make matters worse…their Green Lantern rings are missing! Ugh.