“Burying the Past”
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Colors: Richard & Tanya Horie
Letters: Rob Leigh
Cover artist: Kalman Andrasofszky
Editor: Eddie Berganza
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $2.99 US/$3.65
I admit it… I got sucked in. The cover for this issue, which serves as the concluding chapter of this limited series, as well as the first page, drew me into a comic book that I figured would focus on characterization above cosmic action. That didn’t prove to be the case. But hey, that’s OK, as I enjoy well-crafted cosmic action as well. But that’s not to be found in this comic book either. In fact, I really don’t see the makings of any kind of plot here at all. No epic is brought to a close. The title character seems to make no changes or advances in his life, super or otherwise. As far as I can tell, Ion isn’t really about Kyle Rayner or any kind of space-faring adventure. Instead, I was left with the impression that it was nothing but an exercise in teasing and setting up DC’s next crossover event book, which is rumored to be about the return of parallel universes to DC continuity.
Ion, AKA Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, has a deadly encounter with Grayven in deep space and avoids an untimely death thanks to the intervention of his one-time girlfriend, Donna Troy. Kyle has weightier concerns on his mind than Grayven’s motives (and the mysterious appearance of one of the Monitors), as he rushes back to Earth because of a garbled message about his mother. In a hospital room surrounded by his friends, Kyle is distraught to learn that another woman in his life has died. This time, though, he’s determined to do something about it.
Artist Fernando Pasarin capably handles the art chores on this super-hero story, and his style reminds me a little of the work of Jamal (Firestorm) Igle. Still, there’s not a single visual in this issue that really grabbed me, and the subject matter offers chances for some dynamic (if goofy) visuals. The cosmic heroes and villains — from Ion to the Monitor — really lack any real sense of presence or grandeur, and they don’t even look that exotic in appearance. The hospital-room scene is a little bit stronger actually, but Kyle’s mother really isn’t portrayed as being old enough to have a son Kyle’s age.
Where the book shines from a visual standpoint is in the colors. Richard and Tanya Horie bring a level of energy to the book that really pops, and given the bland linework, it’s a big boost to the book. I love the subtle green auras they create not only for a key character later in the book, but for Ion’s word balloons. That creates the impression of something alien or even divine in the character.
By the end of the issue, the point of the story seems to be for Ion to learn a lesson that Hal Jordan only learned about going insane, killing, dying and returning to life: that he isn’t God despite possessing seemingly limitless power. It makes for a decent, character-based conclusion, but there are problems with it. The scene is a cliched one; we’ve seen this time and time again in the past. Furthermore, this is a lesson that Kyle has already learned in the past (when he first became Ion in Green Lantern a few years ago). The scene lacks any real tension because we know how it’s going to play out as well.
The focus of this issue — and of some previous issues — seems to be on a story that has yet to be told. The Monitor’s appearance here and Kyle’s previous encounters with DC characters from other realities are all designed to get the reader excited about the inevitable followup to DC’s recent Infinite Crisis crossover event. I’m not sure if that’ll prove to be the May-debuting Countdown or some other limited series yet to be named. In any case, it’s incredibly frustrating. I don’t begrudge DC the need or inclination to get some buzz going about another storyline, but the publishers seems to have done so to the detriment of any semblance of a plot for Ion.
Save for the death of a rarely-seen supporting character in this issue, nothing seems to have changed since the first issue of the series. Readers will no doubt wonder what the point of the exercise was. I’d have to say the answer is marketing when it should have been storytelling. 3/10