Just who has been pulling Simon Baz’s strings? It turns out it was Cyborg Superman all along. Left in a weird stasis in the Fortress of Solitude reliving happy memories, Hank Henshaw somehow found a way to infect the Green Lanterns’ rings, turning them all against each other. He tricked Simon into setting him free and now the Lantern will have so much explaining to do to his colleagues.
I’m going to put this right up front. I did not understand this “twist” at all. Cyborg Superman’s explanation for how he pulled off this ruse is a long, confusing monologue that seems right out of a James Bond movie. I like this character a lot and there’s a lot that can be done with him, especially with his past with the Green Lanterns, however this comes across as overly complicated.
In the scheme of things, it might just be something thrown together to explain what happened to him since the Fortress of Solitude was recently destroyed. People were probably wondering if he died in there. This makes some sense as writer Dan Jurgens was the one that put him there in the first place back in Action Comics #999. If this is a way to close a plot hole, it took a pretty long way to get there.
Henshaw is also rather grandiose in his delivery, gloating over Simon as he fights him through the Fortress of Solitude. Letterer Dave Sharpe creates these big, bold sections of dialogue where Cyborg Superman is reveling in the details of his maniacal plan. This is especially true for when he reveals himself to the reader.
Although the story is rather frustrating, Marco Santucci’s artwork makes up for it. He captures the wild madness in Henshaw’s eyes. The classic look of Superman is morphed into this monstrous and inhuman entity. He may have the profile of the Man of Steel, but he has none of the heart.
Simon does his best to fight off the Cyborg Superman’s blows, but to no avail. His constructs are destroyed one after another. You can sense his desperation with each new attack. He’s pushing himself to the limit, but it just isn’t enough. This brings back a flood of memories and self-doubt for Simon. He’s fought for so long to become comfortable with his role as a Green Lantern and whether or not he deserves to be here only to fall short when he’s needed the most.
The green energy is pulsing not only in Simon’s constructs, but through his suit itself. Colorist Hi-Fi shows the energetic quality of the Green Lantern which contrasts well with the cold, emotionless steel of Cyborg Superman’s body.
The rest of the Green Lantern gang is relocating the survivors from Penelo. Their planet was recently ravaged by…well…the Ravagers in a seemingly unconnected plot point that has taken up quite a bit of space. I really hope these aliens play a part in defeating Cyborg Superman in some way. Maybe they have some special power that can cleanse Henshaw’s influence from the rings. That would tie some of this together.
I should really like this story arc. It’s got a number of the elements that I love including a batch of Green Lanterns, Cyborg Superman, and all kinds of crazy sci-fi action. The combination of these things is leaving much to be desired, like something’s off in the recipe. The story has dragged on for five issues and will presumably wrap up in the next chapter, although there’s a whole lot of loose ends to tie up.
Green Lanterns #54 from DC Comics is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology.