In Review: Green Lanterns #31

A solid conclusion to adventure in the past, with one character set on a dark path, while two more become rejuvenated.

The covers: Standing among the bodies of deceased Green Lanterns, Volthoom turns to the reader as he crushes one of his victim’s skulls in his hand. Behind his back is his power ring, which illuminates with all the colors of the spectrum. An odd composition from Brad Walker, whose pencils are inked by Andrew Hennessy. The skull being pulverized is the focus, but then the reader’s eye goes everywhere: Volthoom, the odd black cloud on the left, the wispy black tendrils rising from the villain, the bright flare of colors from his ring, and the remains on the ground. The coloring by Jason Wright isn’t helping find a focus. A surprisingly disappointing cover from all. The Variant cover by Brandon Peterson is a different story: it’s great. This is a close-up bust shot of Simon hunched over, with two power rings on each hand. He grits his teeth as the emerald energy courses through him. This is fantastic and full of so much power. I love this! Overall grades: Regular C and Variant A 

The story: The conclusion of the Out of Time saga by Sam Humphries opens in the present at the Vault of Shadows, located on the edge of the known universe. Rami tends to ancient Tyran’r, who is dying. The lantern says to the Guardian, “…we would have failed. We would have been blood in the mud, Rami. Except — Volthoom sent us our secret weapons. He sent us Jessica Cruz…and Simon Baz.” The story moves to ten billion years in the past on the planet Maltus where Jessica and Kaja watch Simon pound Volthoom. His ring was destroyed several issues ago, but now Simon sports four lantern rings, from those of the original seven Green Lanterns that Volthoom has killed. He hammers the villain until the gray haired foe switches to rage, sending Simon flying. He wants a travel lantern to go where he wants and suddenly believes that the rings that Simon has can help him. As he reaches to the unconscious man, wielding the power of the orange spectrum, Kaja hammers him from behind and Z’Kran grabs him by the throat. This proves to be a fatal choice by one of the seven. Volthoom is defeated, but how it’s done is a very clever twist by Humphries. The arrival of some characters on Page 10 changes the outcome of the battle, with Jessica and Simon desperately trying to plead their case. I really liked the dialogue in the final panel on 12 and the top of 13, showing that this character has made his decision. Where the title characters are sent isn’t surprising, as it had to happen eventually, but what happens at this location is very cool, with the action on 16 terrific. I was extremely happy at the outcome on 17, as this character is extremely enjoyable and what he’ll contribute to this series could be tremendous: epic and humorous. A solid conclusion from Humphries that is resolved, but containing many elements that could be readdressed in future books. Overall grade: A

The art: After the visuals of the previous issue, the art by Ronan Cliquet is a letdown. It’s good, but it’s not at the epic levels as in Issue #30. This is disappointing as the visuals in a story should be consistent. The first page demonstrates this: the visuals are fine, but don’t have fine line work. On the second and third page the constructs are easy to identify, but look at the windows and the glove work — not as fine. With that established, Cliquet does a decent enough job to close out this series. There’s a lot of action and he makes it easy to follow, with plenty of energy coming out of the characters, especially Volthoom. The death on 5 is dramatic, but the dying words of the character in the fourth panel are covering the individual! After what this character has done and what the character is should allow the character to be seen clearly one last time. This was a disappointment. Cliquet is best when illustrating Tyran’r, both old and young. When that character goes into fighting mode he’s just awesome. A good job is also done on the many emotions of Volthoom, who goes from sane to crazed in one panel, making him a visual madman. The arrival of the characters on 10 is neat, and the warp effect on 13 isn’t as tremendous as previously shown, but is effective. 16 is a full-paged splash with a character returning to their former self, which is an overdue moment. There’s too much going on in the panel, however, to make it memorable, with the mask looking unfinished, rather than in motion, and the shine coming off the ring overdone. The last page is also a splash, and it’s also not effective, this time because of the layout: the characters’ faces can’t seen clearly, the energy coming off the characters is messy, and their destination visually unclear; if it wasn’t for the text, I would not have know this place. The visuals wrap the story up well enough, but readers have seen better recently. Overall grade: C+

The colors: Hi-Fi is responsible for the colors and they do a good job. The first three panels of the opening page are appropriately dark and lead in to a fantastic pink for the sky of Maltus. The greens on the lantern’s constructs on 2 and 3 are good, but would have been better had the art been stronger. The reds at the bottom of 3 are incredible, creating a great sense of power. There’s also a great wash of colors on Volthoom on 5, both on his face and chest. The colors on Tyran’r’s fur and hair are equally impressive, giving him much visual depth. The final panel on 9 is a beautiful combination of green, blue, and white. The characters that arrive on 10 have strong blues and reds, making them dominate each panel they’re in. I’m very happy with what Hi-Fi has done on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, yells, Volthoom’s insane speech, sounds, ring speech, an iconic oath, the story’s title, and the book’s credits are brought to life by Dave Sharpe. I’m a broken record when it comes to Sharpe’s skills: sensational scene settings, stunning screams, powerful sounds, and entertaining titles and credits. Sharpe is an A-list letterer. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A solid conclusion to adventure in the past, with one character set on a dark path, while two more become rejuvenated. If only the art had been more consistent between issues. Maybe it would be if this title wasn’t published twice a month. DC…? Overall grade: B+

To order a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Green-Lanterns-2016-31/digital-comic/544766?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

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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