Review by Karl Verhoven
Edge of Oblivion continues from Lost Army, in which the bulk of the Green Lantern Corps found themselves cast back in time to the universe that preceded theirs. It’s in the final stages of decay, although any mass power surge via the Green Lanterns attempting to return to their time could set off the death throes. It’s an ethical conundrum bequeathed to the replacement creative team of Tom Taylor and Ethan Van Sciver, who largely sidestep it, with the Green Lanterns taking the view that the universe is dying anyway. Taylor’s replacement query is whether or not there’s a moral obligation to transport a planet full of refugees from various races who’ve survived the destruction of their homeworlds. There’s another difficulty. As John Stewart puts it, “We’ve come across beings who wanted to destroy planets before. Generally not the planets they’re standing on”.
Van Sciver’s artistic approach differs from Jesús Saiz, but he’s equally good and equally diligent, instead tending to tell the story in larger panels, still involving full figures, but seen from closer. The plot requires he design new characters, not just the background Green Lanterns that any artist gets to fiddle around with, but people needed to sustain the plot, and these are suitably imposing and tragic as needed. Sadly, Van Sciver only lasts for half the story, and obviously departed at short notice as layout artists, pencillers and inkers are needed for the final three chapters. They’re all good artists when given usual deadlines, but some pages are definitely simpler than they might have been.
Aside from the need to return home, and spotlighting the same core Green Lanterns, Taylor discards almost all aspects of the plot from The Lost Army, which would be disappointing were his own ideas not equally good. What people truly are is the core theme, exemplified by Guy Gardner, who’s contextualised nicely with a flashback to his youth in a scene that’s echoed in what follows. The ending, however, is ambiguous, and could have been handled better. Anyone picking this up as a second hand cheapie a few years removed from publication isn’t going to have a clue that it ties into events of DC’s 2016 re-boot for their entire line of superheroes, and a cleaner ending would have been more respectful. Leaving that aside, the changing artists also hurts, but Taylor largely keeps his end up. The plot twists surprise, the characters are well defined and the pages turn quickly as the situation becomes more desperate. That’s what’s wanted from a superhero graphic novel and Edge of Oblivion provides it.