Green Lantern #13: Mask of the Baz

Simon Baz has a new ring, a mission he doesn't understand, and a lot of heat on his family.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Green Lantern #13

Well, look at this! I can read Green Lantern again, thanks to Hal Jordan being shuffled off-panel, off-world, off-dimension, off-this-mortal-coil-sort-of.

Full disclosure, and no surprise to regular readers, but I find Hal Jordan to be the most annoying and least interesting of all Green Lanterns ever. He's just an overblown douche, but he's been the star of this Geoff Johns series from the get-go, which means even making it a buddy cop movie with his archenemy Sinestro wasn't enough to keep me interested. However, starting with Green Lantern #0, we've got a new guy in the driver's seat – a guy named Simon Baz. Who knows how long this will last? I'll enjoy it while it does, though.

We saw the set-up last month – a downtrodden car thief has the awful luck of stealing a car with a bomb in it, and his attempts to salvage the situation by driving it to a place that he knows is abandoned so no one gets hurt looks a lot like he was trying to suicide bomb his former place of employment as a disgruntled terroristy kind of guy. Then, as he was about to be Gittmoed, because an Arab-American in this situation is obviously always guilty, a glitchy GL ring shows up and breaks him out.

Now, in Green Lantern #13, we see what happens next. Amanda Not Really Waller takes it all the way to the president. A suspected terrorist with a GL ring is raising all sorts of alarms. Meanwhile, Simon's family is getting a lot of dirty looks now that his arrest and suspicion is public knowledge – particularly his sister Sira, who works at the Secretary of State's office in Dearborn, Michigan, which looks oddly like a strip mall. Simon catches up with her and asks her to track who the bomb-van was registered to, then runs off to figure out his next move. He doesn't understand the ring or the weirdo message Hal-Sinestro gave him through it from beyond the Black or wherever they are now, and so he's ignoring it to handle his own business. A security camera spots him, and he concocts a mask to hide his face… which doesn't make much sense, considering that everybody trying to arrest him already knows who he is and that he's got a GL ring. Meanwhile, the Guardians' Borg-like Third Army absorbs some truckers into the collective in the effort to eradicate free will.

It's a compelling story, even if it feels a little stiffly told by Johns. We do like Baz, even though his life is a mess. The Doug Mahnke art is good stuff, too, with great variation in faces, although they seem slightly rigid as well. There's a great emotional moment where Sira walks into her job with a cheerful, optimistic 'good morning' and gets nothing but daggers and a 'don't come to work again until we call you' for her efforts. It brings home the injustice of it all, even if Simon brought some of this on himself for being reckless.

It's nice to say I'm on board to keep reading Green Lantern. At least for the short term. Once Baz is shuffled off to Justice League of America, Jordan will likely slip back in and drag everything back to Sucktown.