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Green Lantern No. 23, Captain America No. 30

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Green Lantern No. 23

Published by DC Comics. Plot and script by Geoff Johns. Pencils by Ivan Reis. Inks by Oclair Albert.

The Deal: The newest volume of Green Lantern has reached issue No. 23 and the character is knee-deep in a war against the Sinestro Corps. What is the Sinestro Corps? Lead by the villainous Sinestro, it's the opposite number of the Green Lantern Corps, the group of interstellar cops controlled by the Guardians of Oa. OK, OK -- if you have no interest in GL, this probably doesn't help, but read on.

The Good: This "Sinestro Corps War" storyline that writer Geoff Johns has cooked up is one of the most compelling Green Lantern tales in the history of the character. I'm sure there are tons of Marvel Comic "Zombies" who wouldn't be caught dead reading Green Lantern; many folks still look at him as the chump from the Superfriends who flew around wearing a green leotard. Well, the leotard is gone and storylines like this -- dripping with action, mystery, betrayal and character development -- show that Lantern is actually a pretty cool character. The art, by Ivan Reis, is a perfect complement for the story. Utilizing a smooth-yet-detailed approach to pencils, Reis is able to capture the mammoth scope of interstellar battle and, at the same time, depict real facial expressions and human emotion. And Albert's inks are just icing on a very tasty cake.

The Bad: Well this is the sixth part in "The Sinestro Corps War" storyline. So, if you haven't been following every issue of Green Lantern (and, oh yeah, it does cross over with the Green Lantern Corps series, too), it may be hard to follow every part of this particular edition. I'm not exactly sure when this story arc ends, but rest assured that it will be collected in trade paperback form pretty damn soon.

The Verdict: This ain't your daddy's Green Lantern. Buy it.

Captain America No. 30

Published by Marvel Comics. Plot and script by Ed Brubaker. Art by Steve Epting and Mike Perkins.

The Deal: Captain America is dead. He was murdered after the events of Marvel's Civil War, but his book lives on. Instead of starring the comic's namesake, however, Captain America has transformed into an ensemble piece focusing on four characters: former partner the Falcon, former girlfriend Sharon Carter, former teammate the Black Widow and former sidekick the Winter Soldier. All four characters are working on separate fronts to solve the mystery behind Cap's death.

The Good: You've got to give writer Ed Brubaker credit: he's managed to keep a Captain America comic book interesting without Captain America. (He's dead, remember?) Moreover, he's managed to keep the book interesting without even hinting that the character might actually return from the dead any time soon. Brubaker has cleverly crafted an intricate mystery that grew out of Cap's death and put some of the comic's top supporting cast members in the lead roles. This issue doesn't necessarily bring us any closer to unraveling all the clues, but he throws in enough twists and turns to keep things interesting.

The Bad: The art, by Steve Epting and Mike Perkins, is good, but I long for the days when Epting did full pencils. Epting's pencils were much more detailed. The current team still delivers great "camera angles," but the basic illustration flaws shine through in close-up shots. And although this current story arc is engrossing, I'm still kind of thinking, "OK, when is this gonna be over?"

The Verdict: I'm loving the book, but I am getting a little anxious. Despite my misgivings, however, I'll stick around.

Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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