In Review: Green Lanterns #23

Training and a villain's discovery of new things make this issue a winner.

The covers: Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz! The newbie lanterns are surrounded by several, more experienced lanterns who look as though they’re going to haze the heroes. I love aliens in my comic books, the more the better, and Mike McKone has created several for this cover. The colors by Jason Wright are equally good, showing the wide range of hues that the members of this select group have. I really like this. However, I’m a huge fan of Emanuela Lupacchino and I couldn’t pass on the Variant cover that shows Jessica in winter garb, bearing a huge construct backpack, making her way up a snowy hill. She looks great, with her tattered jacket and fur boots looking stellar. Michael Atiyeh does a great job with the colors, with the greens looking fantastic against the snowy white setting. Overall grades: Both A

The story: Talk about starting right in the thick of things, Guy Gardner is yelling at Jessica Cruz, asking her to state what her duty is. Basic training is not going well for her, as Guy makes Kilowog look like a cream puff. He makes the rookie fly as fast as she can through space, walk up a mountainside with a huge construct backpack — in a blizzard, put an engine together while blindfolded, raise boulders to create a structure, and fight with ring constructed baseball bats over a raging lake of lava. He smacks the woman over a cliff, who is able to save herself with one hand that grasps an outcropping. He stands above her, smugly stating, “You gonna hang in there until next Neveruary? Do you want to be a Green Lantern or not?!” Jessica grimaces and thinks, ‘I wish I were home.’ Sam Humphries is putting his leads through the wringer in this issue, with each receiving very different training from their drill instructors. While Jessica is going through hell with the most condescending of lanterns, Simon is being trained by Kyle Rayner. This stuns Simon. “I mean…you’re the happy-go-lucky cartoonist guy. Not exactly the big bruiser type. No offense.” This causes Kyle to smile and state that Simon’s training is complete if he can punch him. This is not as easy as Simon thinks it will be. The training sequences are great, with Jessica getting some inspiration from an unlikely source. The final two pages show that Jessica has had enough of Guy and she makes a completely justified action, but one that could land her out of the corps. Before that incident occurs, the middle of the book features Volthoom, disguised as a Guardian, going through a forbidden text, trying to learn if it’s possible for him to alter time and return to his true form. He realizes he needs to get specific items and this allows Humphries to tell the tale of an early lantern, a really early lantern. If the book had just been on this lantern, Alitha, I would have been more than happy. This was a great issue, showing how lanterns are trained and giving some new history on the corps. This was my kind of Lanterns issue. Overall grade: A

The art: This was an extremely good looking issue, with Eduardo Pansica on pencils and Julio Ferreira on inks. The opening splash page shows Guy screaming in Jessica’s face as she recoils before him. The visual succinctly defines both characters in one image and sets up the interaction between them for the rest of the issue. The four different tasks that Guy puts Jessica through on 2 and 3 are excellent looking, with the large panel of her flying having some wonderful background items, which are racing almost as fast as she is. The volcanic setting on Page 4 is a shocking locale due to its rocky formations and flammable substance below the characters. The fourth panel is a slick point of view shot of Guy, followed by an intense close-up of Jessica who looks to be at the breaking point. The constructs with Simon and Kyle are not as primitive as Jessica and Guy’s, showing that both are more experienced, starting with the enhancement to his fist that Simon creates on 5. A turn of the page shows that Simon is not going to have as easy a task as he thought. Page 9 begins the flashback to the past and Pansica and Ferreira have changed up their styles, which is no easy task. They use a very thin line to illustrate everything, giving the visuals an aged look. This change reminds the reader that what they are looking at is the past, and it works exceedingly well. The character who assists Jessica looks outstanding. The final page is a full-paged splash and it’s a fantastic way to end the issue. I especially like the way that one character’s cheek looks. This book features really strong art. Overall grade: A  

The colors: Right out of the gate, the coloring looks exceptional, with terrific use of greens on the characters’ costumes and an awesome orange background. The space scene on 2 and 3 is beautiful in blue, with good pink objects flying alongside them. The oranges and yellows on 4 are awesome, instantly bringing me to a level of alertness, because it looks so deadly. The heat keeps up with Koron’s red world, which make the green characters really pop on the page. A variety of greens is used on page 6 and it’s a wonder that Blond didn’t go insane doing that one page. The colors change considerably during the flashback sequence, becoming very light and not as blended, making the story seem older than it is. The pinks on the character that speaks with Jessica are super, but it’s the colors on the final page that stand out for me, making the image that much more stronger. Blond is the bomb on this issue. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Scene settings, yells, dialogue and narration (the same font), ring speech, sounds, and next issue’s tease are created by Dave Sharpe. I would have preferred to have seen the dialogue and narration be differed by a change in font, rather than by the color of the balloon that contains it, but it is readable. There’s a lot of yelling in this book, due to the training going on, and Sharpe uses several different types of font to show the levels of the characters’ bellows. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy looking at the way these characters yell: it matches their stress levels and is just beautiful lettering. Sharpe is aces. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Training and a villain’s discovery of new things make this issue a winner. The training sequences are fun and Volthoom’s reading could fill an entire issue. Also of merit are the book’s excellent visuals. This is a Green Lanterns issue worth getting. Overall grade: A

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Green-Lanterns-2016-23/digital-comic/493211?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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