The premise behind "Lights Out" is that a giant from "the universe before ours," Relic, believes that the emotional spectrum is finite. Every time a Lantern uses it, it hastens the end of the spectrum and then the universe ends. The story opens with the Blue Lanterns wiped out, and Relic attacking Oa, draining the Green Battery and destroying the planet. The Green, Red, and Indigo Lanterns band together as Kyle Rayner is infused with all the emotional entities. Despite no explanations from anyone, Kyle believes Relic is right, and tries to help Relic breach the Source Wall and refill the emotional reservoir. When Relic decides he has to kill the entities to do so, the Lanterns assemble and send him into the Wall, Kyle in tow to make sure. Relic confirms the reservoir has been refilled with his dying breath, and the Lanterns reconvene at their respective planets. The Green Lantern Corps sets up shop on Mogo with a new battery, but the majority refuses to power up their rings and put the universe at risk again. Meanwhile, Kyle breaks back out of the Source Wall, declaring that he can't remember what was on the other side, but the entities are all dead.
Apparently the underlying point of the crossover was to set up new storylines for the Green Lantern family of titles, because it wasn't to tell a story with a beginning, middle and an end. The first chapter starts in medias res, with Kyle and Star Sapphire warning Hal Jordan just as Relic shows up. Relic's point is never elaborated on or even proven; he's set up as the villain of the piece, even though he might be right. If we're to believe the ending of the story as it's presented, he was right all along.
Inside baseball; when I write reviews of comic events like these, I try to evaluate just the story, not it's impact on the ongoing series it takes place in. Maybe Relic was fleshed out more prior to this story, maybe he'll get more later. But as it stands, he's a literally gigantic crazy person who the writers decided was actually right. This holds no bearing for Hal Jordan, who does whatever he wants the whole series, and apparently will continue to do so at the end. The conclusion has no real consequence outside of a new planet to live on, and a few plot points (The Red Lanterns getting their own sector, Kyle Rayner figuring out what happened, Greens giving up) to get followed up on later.
Readers who start at the beginning and put down the books at the end forever will be let down. There's no arc or character development. Events just happen to everyone, and they're dealt with in ways that result in the new status quo not being that different. So why bother?
If this is meant to be a turning point for several ongoing series, I'll review it on those bounds; it's still stupid. Oa has been destroyed before and will be restored again. Major events like blowing up a hero's home base never last. If the new plot thread going forward is "how to be a Green Lantern without making the universe die faster," that would've been a great premises for an event. Instead of Relic as a raving lunatic villain, someone who could actually be a participant and figure it out would be useful. That wouldn't have resulted in a new character that'll have to be resurrected to preserve a copyright years from now. And hasn't Kyle Rayner been on enough "vision quests" since Green Lantern: Rebirth? Give the character a premise beyond "finding an excuse to exist."
All in all, "Lights Out" is a stupid premise and a poorly executed story. Maybe as a first chapter in a longer run it'll have some payoff, but right now it's not worth picking up.
The hardcover of "Lights Out" will be out in June 2014 according to Amazon. If you're picking up single issues, here's a reading list:
- Green Lantern #24
- Green lantern Corps #24
- Green Lantern: New Guardians #24
- Red Lanterns #24
- Green Lantern Annual #2