REVIEW CONTAINS BLOCKED SPOILERS
When we last left John Stewart, he’d rescued the missing Daxamite Lantern (and former holder the Ion being) Sodam Yat and uncovered the Durlan’s ultimate goal: mimic the race and expose themselves to as much yellow sun radiation as possible, thus becoming an unstoppable force. Va(AAAAAAAAAAAAA)n Jensen retakes the Uprising reins and gives us a very different story than what we’ve been used to of late: one of espionage, secrecy and intrigue. Any story involving shapeshifting aliens is going to have spycraft built in, but there's always been an overtone of intense, breakneck action. From the moment the Lanterns land on Planet Daxam, there’s some incredible tension and not just because Jruk wants to bash the face of everyone who looks at him funny. While this issue has its explosive action moments, it is overall a very low-key affair with a brief interlude on Mogo providing one of the biggest turning points in the story yet. There's even a moment that COULD have come off like a convenient plot contrivance, but because of the character's great sacrifice, it completely works.
Bernard Chang does, indeed, continue on large swaths of the issue and his linework looks great. We still get the monochromatic panels when something shocking happens (though once reserved for death or extreme injury, we’re now treated to it at ANY moment of unexpected violence) and the cartoonish style that perfectly matches the strange, diverse cast of the title. Though the Daxamites look, for all intents and purposes, like humans, that doesn’t mean there’s no room for some incredible backgrounds and aliens to inhabit them, even if the latter IS from off-planet. Marcelo Maiolo's colors do an incredible job of highlighting the best parts of this book, and unifies both artistic styles, keeping the tone at least somewhat consistent. It's not the easiest thing in the world to have a book THIS vibrant and bright that maintains a tone of tension and drama as well as this does.
There is one very specific moment in this that feels very, very much like a deus-ex machina moment. I won’t spoil it, but if you’re picking up the issue, you’ll definitely know it when you see it. It’s a fairly minor moment, all told, but it stuck out to me when the rest of the plotting is so expertly executed. That said, the ending was highly eyebrow raising for very spoilery reasons, but this time I feel I have to get into them: Sodam decides to stay behind and help rebuild his people, or some such. I’m hoping this isn’t the last we see of the character, and it may very well not be, but for the time being it feels like he was brought in as a massive plot contrivance.
The linework shifts between Chang and Moritat and, while I don’t dislike the latter and would, in fact, like seeing him on another title, the shift is jarring. Chang’s linework is sharp and distinct while Moritat winds up looking like concept art for an old-school Sega Genesis game. It isn’t bad, but it looks flat and the characters look off and doesn't fit the tone of the story as well.
This issue is another great chapter within this event and now that we’re past the halfway point, we’re definitely getting more plot development. While I’d recommend buying both titles if you want to get the full story, they’ve so far demonstrated that fans of one book, but not the other, won’t be left out in the cold. This issue continues from the previous one seamlessly and continues the story of John Stewart and his Corps without needing to have read GREEN LANTERN. Though, if you did, it certainly won’t hurt and DOES contribute to a greater enjoyment of the title overall.