By Cat Wyatt
Fans will likely remember the dramatic turn that occurred in issue 38; where Liseth Vok killed Kesh Cur, attacked the Green Lanterns (and her mother) and turned an alien DNA machine on herself. Yikes, when you put it like that it really seems like the shit hit the fan in the last issue, which isn’t inaccurate. This issue starts with the battle being over already, but as many generals would say, the war hasn’t been won (or lost) yet.
If there’s one thing I have learned about Ungarans, it’s that their response time to emergencies is pretty spectacular. Granted, I don’t know how long it’s been since Liseth kicked the Lanterns butts, but I don’t get the impression it was all that long. Though spending anytime locked up with a corpse (which is exactly how Liseth chose to contain them) is too much time, if you ask me. Like I said though, thanks to a quick response time from the rest of the men under the Regents command, they’re released from these tombs (relatively) quickly.
Here’s where things start to get a bit interesting; apparently Liseth is incapable of doing anything without a crowd, which means after defeating her mother and the Green Lanterns she immediately sought out a large group of people and did what villains do best…she started monologuing (why do they always feel compelled to do this?). On the bright side, we get to see Liseth’s reasoning for doing everything she did, even if it was a jumbled mess of logic. And all her time spent talking more or less gave the Green Lanterns time to track her down.
Liseth apparently believes that pride is a good enough reason to commit genocide; that the Ungarans have gone through enough pain and loss to justify heading out into the universe and just taking what they want (no, she did not see the irony in this statement). In her twisted mind, killing the Molites, a race of people hers worked to save, is beyond justifiable, but the next natural step for them. Oh, and by the way she’s recording and broadcasting her whole speech? She’s a certified attention nut.
Thank goodness the people in the crowd do not agree with her, and actively go out of their way (not to mention risk death or injury) to save the little Molites from the fires Liseth started. It was a pretty sweet moment, to be honest, but it also served an important point. Liseth is the only one around who feels this way; everyone else here are honest and good people, who do not believe or support the idea of taking what they want because it is “owed” to them. I love moments like this, where the people rise up and prove just how wrong the antagonist has it.
Did I mention there’s a massive (and I mean that literally) rock star cameo that occurs during the fight between Liseth and the Green Lanterns? Seeing her get smacked in the face by a giant guitar was pretty satisfying, to say the least. Especially after everything, she’s done (and hopes to do). Their fight is more evenly matched than I would like to admit, mostly because of all the DNA Liseth has absorbed (and apparently she can pick and choose which abilities/appearances to use? Who would have guessed).
Still, seeing Simon and Jess go up against Liseth was pretty awesome on the whole. Not only because of the epic fighting (and constructs) but because I really do feel like after everything Liseth has done to Simon specifically, he needed this. Frankly, he needed a win for more than one reason, but feeling like he had a hand in what Liseth has become made him pretty desperate for it.
I liked the conclusion to the Ungaran/Kur plot that has been going on the last few issues. Liseth has been handled, the Ungarans got a chance to prove that they’re not the horrible people they were being portrayed as, and the Molites even got some closure (if you consider starting a new religion around a therapists’ advice closure). This issue probably focused a bit more on Simon than the past few issues, but they’ve sort of been building up to this being a problem for him, so that makes sense. He’s been struggling with the two identities he has, and not in a typical manner. Where most heroes can’t find a balance between the two, he can’t seem to find satisfaction in his human persona, leaving him feeling too attached to the ring and everything it gives him. Having him realize and admit that is a pretty big deal (especially since Jessica has always been able to admit her flaws).
The artwork was pretty stellar for this issue as well. Not just in the dramatic moments (though those were fantastic), but in the more subtle points as well. What really struck me was the crazy smile Liseth had while giving her little speech – she looked so happy while talking about some pretty horrible things, it was jarring. It made me realize just how messed up she really was.
Green Lanterns #39