This is very much a talking issue. Aside from (as predicted) Fatality flying in to rescue John from the Orange Lanterns, the issue is largely occupied with Hal and Larfleeze. Captured and unable to fight back due to his conflicting rings, and Larfleeze’s raw power, Hal needs to stall for time until the Corps gets there. Fortunately for him, Larfleeze is entranced by the blue ring. Its something new that he hasn’t seen before, and he wants it.
Hal (knowing the Guardians have been holding out on them), uses this and agrees to give Larfleeze the ring in exchange for the truth behind his deal with the Guardians. We discover that Larfleeze and his gang stole various items from the Guardians back when they were still on Maltus, including a map and a mysterious box that the Guardians were keen to get back.
They followed the map to Okarra, where they found the orange power battery in the temple, just as the Guardians arrived. The gang’s numbers dwindled until there was only two of them left, and eventually, unable to combat the orange light, the Guardians made a deal. They’d allow one of them to have the Vega System to himself, in return for the box they stole. Larfleeze agreed and killed his remaining partner to become the sole owner of the Orange Lantern, and reveals to Hal that the box he’d stolen contained Parallax.
Having told his story, he goes to get the blue ring from Hal but, of course, it can’t be removed. Screaming that Hal is a welcher, Larfleeze then just cuts Hal’s hand off to claim the ring for himself.
Another good issue, marred slightly by having several different art teams throughout the book. Each team actually produced really nice work, however the jump between the teams was a bit distracting in places, reminding me of one of the later GLC issues during the Sinestro War which had had similar problems.
Phillip Tan’s art again shines during the introductory scenes, with Hal held captive as Larfleeze is guzzling down his feast. Tan really shines at these creepy, monstrous scenes.
Geoff’s really excelling in creating these various Corps and making them all feel different, and I really enjoyed the backstory into how Larfleeze became Agent Orange. However, there’s obviously more to this story, as Larfleeze stumbled upon the orange lantern in its temple. Who created the Lantern and the Temple? And he suggests that the Guardians had encountered the Orange Light before. I wonder if this will be explained or hinted to in the final part of the story?
The only other thing I really found jarring was the small scene with Sinestro where he discusses attacking the Star Saphires. Now we know from the Blackest Night solicits, that this is what’s going to happen, but the last time we saw Sinestro was in the last issue of GLC, where he leaves to go confront Mongul. Now, this might get explained in the next issue of GLC (Sinestro turns up, beats down Mongul and reclaims leadership), but given both storylines are supposed to be happening at the same time, it threw me a bit.
With this Blackest Night buildup Geoff’s really firing on all cylanders. I’m looking forward to the conclusion of this arc where it’ll be interesting to see how exactly they contain Larfleeze (or are they just going to end up legging it and hope he doesn’t come after them?), and what Hal’s hope is (and how his hand gets reattached). I’m hoping for a bit more John and Fatality as well. Aside from the odd page here and there, he’s not really had much to do, and the John/Fatality relationship is one that deserves some focus as it was built up really well during Kyle’s run.