In Review: Green Lanterns #1

A good start that establishes both characters clearly and the threat they face.

The covers: The Regular cover is by Robson Rocha, Joe Prado, and Marcelo Maiolo. Green Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz are powered up in the bottom half of this image for action, while high above them is the mysterious Guardian, Larfleeze, Atrocitus, and Bleez. Last issue the two Red Lanterns and the Guardian made an appearance. Is Larfleeze close behind? Good image showing the two leads and four supporting characters. The Variant cover is one to track down. It’s illustrated by Emanuela Lupacchino and shows Jessica Cruz powering up her ring from her power battery in space. This is poster, print, and tee shirt worthy. Overall grades: Regular B+ and Variant A+

The story: Part 1 of “Rage Planet” by Sam Humphries begins with a one page quick overview of the Green Lantern Corps, including a reference to the Blackest Night. This retelling is interrupted by code three twelve alert by Jessica Cruz’s ring. She joins up with Simon Baz who’s also received this report of an unauthorized alien on Earth. As they speed off to a home in Arizona each is lost in his and her thoughts: she has to keep telling herself the ring will keep her safe, while he doesn’t trust his ring or his partner. The pair construct a battering ram with the power of their rings and enter the home only to find a shotgun wielding man with glowing red eyes. On his shirt is the logo of a familiar team. This man isn’t what they expected, but the greater discovery is what is in another room and in the man’s basement. This seems like a fairly cut and dry incident of a horrible crime, but Humphries ups the tension by having something happen to a new character on Page 10 and then things go truly cosmic on 11 and 12. I enjoy a story that starts small and then leaps to the extreme and this story has certainly got that. The arrival of a infamous unit on 13 was a welcome addition to the story and it’s smart thinking by Humphries to include a group that will keep tabs on the lanterns. Pages 14 and 15 introduce the big bads to this story line and I’m overjoyed to see them. I do have a concern about what’s happening to all the innocents in this issue: there was a fairly similar story line in a recent series that had the same thing happening to others, with Guy Gardner ultimately tasked with solving the issue. Wouldn’t the lanterns’ rings have a database that would recognize what’s occurring, as would the group that appears on 13? Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to what’s going to happen, but the characters, especially super heroes and their tech, should be smarter than this. Overall grade: B

The art: The visuals of this book are created by penciller Robson Rocha and inker Jay Leisten. The two do a solid job with the book’s visuals. It was neat to see that neither hero is fully revealed until their explosive entrance into the home on the full page splash on Page 4. The scenes with the crazy man are strong, with lots of welcome detail in the setting, including lots of debris and smoke from their battle. The reveal on 8 is also a full page splash and it’s shocking and it’s graphic. It creates just the right effect in the reader to mirror the reactions of the title characters. Just as I thought there could be no more shocks after this page, the bottom of 9 showed me otherwise. Equally horrific and graphic. If Rocha and Leisten weren’t so skilled, these images wouldn’t have such a strong impact on the reader. The transformation of the character on 10 is equally impressive. Again, this artistic pair up the ante with the structure on 12: very, very cool and threatening. The group on 13 is the first I’ve seen of any of these members in a decade, so I drank in their look and hope to see more of them in upcoming issues. Another full page splash is employed on 14, showing the scale of each villain and how they interact. Epic is perfect word to describe them and their setting. The next two pages show the two heroes out of their costumes and trying to have a normal day. Naturally, something happens to interrupt that and how they’re taken out of their lives is great, with Jessica in the bottom panel of 15 (Love her reaction!) and Simon’s dramatic response on 16. The final three pages are all full page splashes, the first focusing on the deluge of information Simon is flooded with, the next with Jessica’s current peril, and the final with the big bad looking in glee at the heroes’ discomfort. Powerful illustrations that leave me hyped for next issue. Overall grade: A

The colors: As I’ve said in other reviews, Lantern books must have bright colors to make the power of the characters’ rings come to life. Blond more than ably has this occur. The beautiful blues, violets, and greens of the opening page instantly transport the reader to a location beyond Earth. The greens of the lanterns radiate energy off the page, and it’s neat to see that their green colors aren’t the same, as demonstrated in the top two panels on Page 3. Blond also doesn’t blanket pages in the same color of emerald, but uses very many shades to create perspective and show the strength of the lanterns. The shock of red that appears on the crazy man is great and is also echoed on the sound effects when he’s attacked. The crimsons on 11 and 12 are beautiful — creepy, but beautiful. Red is the primary color on 14 and 15, and as with the greens from earlier in the book, Blond uses many different hues so that the characters and settings look realistic. Blond is a great colorist as he shows on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and dialogue, ring speech, settings, the story’s title, book credits, sounds, yells, a character’s unique dialogue font, signage, and the tease for next issue hail from Lantern go-to letterer Dave Sharpe. His work is always top notch, and it’ll be hard not to hear your heart long after you’re done reading this issue. Overall grade: A

The final line: A good start that establishes both characters clearly and the threat they face. I’m slightly concerned about the villain’s goal being similar to a recent story, but I’m such a Lantern fan I’ll follow this book. Overall grade: A

To find out more about this book or other titles with Green Lanterns go to http://www.dccomics.com/

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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