We're two issues into "Lights Out," the Green Lantern event that's revealed that all the Lantern Corps of the spectrum who have been slinging their rings around and fighting each other are actually depleting important energy resources that will actually destroy the universe if left unchecked, and I'm starting to wonder whether or not depicting our stalwart heroes as stubborn, reckless idiots is intentional or not.
On one hand, it makes sense that an entire paramilitary organization built around a particular methodology would be entrenched in the belief that they are doing the right thing and not actively harming their environment – we see this sort of entitled flailing every day. Doubly so when the messenger delivering the news of their transgressions is a giant alien from another universe who is telling them to quit everything they've done for years or else he'll kill them. On the other hand, said giant alien is from the previous universe and he saw its destruction and he has explained why everything died, and he's outright stated he's trying to stop it from happening again. They all know that they are the villains in his eyes, and with good reason, and yet, it's Hal Jordan throwing around macho crap like "surrender isn't in our vocabulary" and "I can't accept that. I won't accept that" which illustrates just how much of a dingus he is. I'm enjoying it, because it's proving what I've believed about Jordan all along, but with Green Lantern Corps #24, I'm not entirely sure that's the reaction writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen are intending, althoug artist Bernard Chang is doing very solid work.
The issue opens with Hal Jordan being an idiot after the destruction of the Central Battery, which means all the Green Lanterns can never charge their rings again, and just charging Relic, the giant who just destroyed said battery, and getting smacked down effortlessly for his trouble, like he has repeatedly. Jordan is refusing to accept that Oa is about to explode as a result, and needs John Stewart to remind him that he's supposed to be a leader and not a dingus by strategizing for him. Stewart decides to gather up the new recruits in order to burn out their rings to massively distract Relic, while Hal leads an evacuation of Oa, because "the other Lanterns will follow you," which constantly makes me ask "why? He sucks!" Salaak rescues everyone in the infirmary by turning the central citadel headquarters into a rocket ship, and Hal orders all the prisoners in the Sciencells be released as well, because otherwise they'll die with Oa. Stewart's crew would have died with Oa, if not for the sacrifice of one of the new recruits, an elder named Ergann, who holds Relic off long enough to keep everyone else alive.
At least, by the end of this issue, Jordan realizes he's a complete failure as a leader, although Carol Ferris tries to convince him otherwise. His crew are heading somewhere we won't find out until GL: New Guardians #24, but Stewart's gang appears to be heading to Indigo Tribe planet. Surely, they're mysterious enough to have some secret way to beat Relic. This is one of those stories where you wonder why these ostensible do-gooders don't just talk to each other before fighting. Relic, you can understand – he tried that and all the Lightsmiths from his universe crapped on him and refused to listen. The Green Lantern Corps is supposed to be better than that. They ain't so far. It certainly illustrates what I assume is one of the central themes – that even good guys can resist doing what's right in favor of adhering to traditions they like – but since these creative teams on the GL books are new and a bit unproven, one can't help but have a little doubt as to where they're going with this.
Just a little, though, and if we give them the benefit of that doubt, "Lights Out" is a unique and interesting challenge for the Green Lanterns to face, with every element of their mythos being systematically destroyed. Oa is gone. Their Central Battery is gone. Every use of their power kills their environment and hastens the end of all life, and their leader is a bull-headed jackass who sucks and is bad and is dumb. How do they adapt? Do they adapt at all? I can't wait to find out.