The Indigo Phoenix Is the Third
I've never been one to criticize Doug Mahnke's artwork, but I think this issue might be his best yet. The scenes of the landscape of the Indigo homeworld and the Indigo Battery are just GORGEOUS.
But the real meat of the issue is the 'Indigo Tribe Secrets' this issue promises. Hooo boy do we get some nice ones. We get another piece of the puzzle that is the Indigo Oath, and we find out what NOK means! Which is a lot of things actually. But more than that, we find out the origins of the Indigo light, and THAT'S the stuff that's the most mind blowing. Sure Hal was shocked to find out all the Indigo Lanterns are brainwashed criminals, but dedicated readers have pieced this together by now. No, what's REALLY shocking is the true reason the Indigo Tribe was founded, and what happens to its keeper when he learns what he's missed in the universe. It's shocking on its own, but the 'wow' factor is double when you realize just how much sense it makes, it's brilliant really; Geoff Johns really shows that he's planned this saga out extremely well, and it's this series that always makes me question why his Justice League stuff is so terrible. How can this be the same writer at the same time!?
This issue may have had less action, but to me it was probably THE most fulfilling issues since the relaunch. It didn't feel like it was over too quickly because of all the revelations we got. We weren't fed in miniscule nibbles, we were given a whole mouthful, and that really made this issue shine.
That said, the cover bothers me, if only because its not really fitting AT ALL for this issue. I think this and the previous cover should've been reversed. Black Hand was huge on this cover, but barely in this issue. He had a big presence for Hal last issue. Plus the 'Forbidden Jungles' Hal escapes into this issue is what he was presumably running into on the previous issue's cover. Or, based on the end of this issue and the title of the arc starting after the next issue; maybe those covers should be switched. Next issue's cover has brainwashed Sinestro on it and this issue ENDS with Sinestro FREE from brainwashing. And of course this issue has Black Hand on the cover, the next issue likely bridges the gap leading into Revenge of Black Hand.
In Conclusion: 5/5
There wasn't a whole lot of action in this issue, but there was a TON of juicy filling anyways. As I said, this is easily the most satisfying issue since the relaunch. It didn't feel too short, unlike the previous two issues in this arc it didn't feel like it was holding back, we were actually GIVEN secrets of the Indigo Tribe. And perhaps the Indigo Tribe WAS in need of a Rebirth like the Yellow and Red Lantern Corps as I discussed in my recent New Guardians and Red Lanterns; and my recent blog post. I don't feel like getting into it here, but if you look up at the top of this page, the related Blogs/News or whatever, its right there; Phoenix in Space: Rebirth to Attain Greater Purity. Basically these three corps were tainted by some form of ego in their creation that made them a less pure channeling of their emotion in the spectrum; and they are all undergoing forced rebirths set off by a savage decimation. It's interesting to see all of these happening at once, and it makes this massive saga feel all the more thought out and epic. And now that Indigo seems to be in on the rebirth, I'm wondering if Blue is meant for one as well considering the upcoming 'Fall of the Blue Lanterns' in New Guardians. Ganthet created it with pure intentions, though his rebellion against the rest of the Guardians could've let some ego seep in there? I'm not sure, I'll have to see more of the Fall of the Blue Lanterns to see if the Phoenix has spread there as well, but I'm not sure it was needed, so I hope Johns isn't spreading the Phoenix just to spread it, and is only doing it for Corps that needed it due to the very core of their foundations.