Its hard not to be a little disappointed with the lack of a payoff to John arriving on Xanshi. After taking more than half of Blackest Night to get there, he quickly realises going there was a dumb idea and legs it. We then get a short history of Nekron via Atom, Mera and BL Jean Loring as they traverse the dark matter universe linking the black rings.
As someone who’s a fan of John Stewart (well, of all GLs really), while the Xanshi stuff did offer up some nice moments, its a storyline that perhaps suffered from a bit too much buildup for no real payoff. Couple that with John’s lack of face-time in either Green Lantern book since Rebirth, and the prospect of a John Stewart issue was very appealing. Instead some of the page count gets diverted to the side story, and we don’t get any real movement on the story of John and Xanshi. We’ve been promised that Xanshi was in some way linked to the War of Light, but there were no further teases of that here. And while John does say he’s moved past his mistakes, I didn’t really get the impression that enough had actually happened to drive that character development.
There was the nice surprise of Driq turning up though. We get the interesting idea that his being kept alive by his ring was a strange glitch no one could ever explain, and its something that seems to have persisted even into his Black Lantern incarnation, as he kept his GL ring and his own mind despite being resurrected by a black ring. His appearance was a nice moment in the story and a good little nod to some of the older Green Lantern cast from volume 2 of the book.
Taken as part of the larger Blackest Night storyline this book will probably hold together a bit better, but as a John Stewart spotlight issue I’d been looking forward to, and a plot thread that had been teased for a while, this just felt a little light. The Xanshi storyline is obviously just beginning (and indeed, turns up briefly in Blackest Night #6), so hopefully John will get a lot more to do as the story develops in other titles, but here it felt a little like the GL book was just marking time until issue #50. A pity as when Geoff does write John, its always been well done and I’d really like to see him do more with the character (something Geoff has promised, via Twitter, is coming post-Blackest Night).
Speaking of John, with the recent announcement of GLC getting a second feature and being bumped to $3.99, he strikes me as the obvious fit for the second story. I hope so anyway, assuming Kyle and Guy would continue to share the main part of the book.