I'll admit it, I thought Larfleeze was dumb when I first saw him. I really thought the whole Orange Lanterns/Agent Orange aspect of the Rainbow Bri...ummm, Care Bea...ummm, Lantern Wars was going to be dumb. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Johns continues to prove me more wrong with each issue. There are some plot points here that don't quite make perfect sense to me here, but the overall story is fun, and ol' Orange Greedo is rapidly growing on me.
For the spoiler/recap rundown, Hal is trapped by Larfleeze and makes him a deal...his new shiny blue ring in exchange for an origin story. The rest of the Corps takes a beating from the Orange Lanterns while Larfleeze tells his tale, which involves the theft of a very dangerous box, some murder, and a pact with the Guardians. When the tale is told, Hal can't get the ring off, so Larfleeze takes quick, drastic (for Hal anyway) measures.
I'm still not a huge fan of Tan's art, but it was OK here, and the flashback/origin scene drawn by Eddy Barrows was nicely done. And Johns continues to weave a compelling tale as we get closer and closer to Blackest night. I really liked it.
The only way this issue could've been better was if Divito had actually drawn it. Nova/Quasar confronts Ego/Worldmind, who inform him they are no longer separate beings. Nova receives counsel from manifestations of his old Nova mentor and Ko Rel, learns that Worldmind went a little nuts due to protecting Rich when he had all the Nova power, and sets out to save his friend. Robbie & Qubit meanwhile break ranks to go after the Cohort killed by the Imperial Guard last issue, and Vulcan and crew interrogate/beat all hell out of Malik Tarcel, the Shi'ar Nova. In the end, Rich saves Worldmind and lobotomizes Ego, gains the Nova-Prime power back fully healed, Quasar gets the quantum-bands back, Worldmind takes on a new "guide" manifestation, that of Ko Rel (oh, I foresee much good hijinks from this moving forward), and Tarcel is approached in secret by Garthan Saal, the former super-crazy Super-Nova.
The fill-in art was certainly no Divito, but it was decent enough, and DnA continue to craft the best stories going at Marvel. I loved it.
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
And this book is more of the same greatness. Warlock slips toward the side of Magus while fighting Vulcan and the Guard; Star-Lord gets nowhere with the Inhumans so Martyr (Phylla) takes matters, and a hostage, into her own hands; and everybody gets back to Knowhere just in time to get attacked by both sides, Inhuman and Shi'ar. Poor Star-Lord...
Walker's art continues to shine, especially in his depictions of the fluctuations Warlock is undergoing, and the story's still jam-packed with the usual GotG mix of gut-busting humor and rip-roaring action. I loved it.