In Review: Green Lanterns #2

A great book, even though one hero is not acting very heroically.

The cover: A pair that are equally fine this month. Robson Rocha, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis are responsible for the Regular cover that has Bleez looking at the reader angrily, her torture of Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz (both hanging upside down) interrupted. Wow! Great image, showing the villain at her most villainous and the heroes looking totally beaten. If only this had actually happened in this issue (Whine, whine, whine). The Variant cover is by one of my favorite artists, Emanuela Lupachino. This has Jessica being hit by energy (or is she emanating it?). The blast is so powerful that another lantern, Hal Jordan (?), is being blasted aside. I like the power of the image and this is a great image of Jessica (Any, yeah, he’s not in this issue. Whine, whine, whine). Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A-

The story: A reader knows that things are going to go poorly for the heroes when the book begins on Ysmault, the home of the Red Lanterns. Atrocitus tells those before him that the Red Dawn has begun, the moving of the Red Lanterns to a new world. The Hell Tower is already active on that world as it changes the geography and effects those within its range. The Hell Tower is active in Pima County, Arizona. The ground is exploding as the massive crimson castle-like structure grows from the ground. Fireballs propel themselves onto the citizens and those hit are instantly tainted by rage, making them creatures of destruction. In Portland, Oregon, Jessica was shopping in a store with her sister Sara when the customers around her start chanting “Rage!” She has her ring and powers it up to find her sister and help the possessed people, but she still doesn’t know how to use it completely. This could have been a complete slugfest, and that’s what I was expecting because that’s what’s been done in the past with the Red Lanterns. Writer Sam Humphries does have the required super hero fights, but an impressive amount of time is spent on Jessica’s relationship with Sara. This greatly expanded both characters and puts some heart into this book. Simon, however, really disappointed in this issue. Outside of his appearances in Geoff Johns’s run on Green Lantern, I’m unfamiliar with this character. He’s coming off as a wannabe Guy Gardner. But the DC Universe already has that character, and that’s Guy Gardner. Simon is very bossy, surprisingly unconcerned with a hero who puts family first (since that is a major part of his origin story), and he steals an item in this issue. For a character that’s motivated in this issue to get Jessica to see the bigger picture of the threat, his ability to commit that action on Page 17 sticks out in the wrong way. Thankfully, the issue ends on an extremely dramatic cliffhanger to make the reader momentarily forget what’s in Simon’s left hand. Jessica is the much more enjoyable character, so far. Overall grade: B 

The art: Good visuals from penciller Robson Rocha and inker Jay Leisten. Three new Red Lanterns start the issue off and it’s always neat to see an artist design the freaks that comprise this corps. They look even better when shown on the second page, as does their leader Atrocitus, which is saying something as he’s proven to be somewhat troublesome to render for other artists. The top of Page 3 is an excellent horrific scene as people try to escape the fallout from the Hell Tower. Page 4 is full page splash of Jessica enjoying activating her ring, though there is a tiny inserted panel of her being surrounded in the store. This is an excellent showy page for the character, showing her filled with joy as the emerald energy swirls about her. The transformed customers look great, with her sister particularly nightmarish. The entrance on 6 is good, but all I could think of was Guy Gardner. Pages 11 – 14 are really outstanding flashback sequences; they have action, though not at the level of the rest of the book, but they give the sisters so much personality — one can truly feel the love that each have for the other coming of the page. If the relationships can be made so real by the visuals, they will make the heroic actions that later occur seem all the more impressive. Rocha and Leisten do this. The nine paneled Page 16 is terrific. I’m always impressed when artists use this in books and this pair pull it off handsomely, telling two different stories simultaneously. The final page is another full page splash and it really puts things in perspective for Jessica and the reader as to how precarious the Earth’s situation has become. I’m really liking these artists. Overall grade: A

The colors: I was impressed that colorist Blond doesn’t go overboard with reds on the opening two pages when Atrocitus and his minions are shown. Instead, browns, blacks, and yellows get equal time, showing Ysmault to be a colorful, though still inhospitable, environment. The reds start to rev up when Atrocitus gets focused on, but they really blow up at the top of 3 when the Hell Tower is shown, and the colors really make it hell. The fourth page is a colorful change with the focus moving onto Jessica’s emeralds showing. The remainder of the book really brings puts the color green on display, sometimes it dominates the page, with the constructs of the rings being gigantic, or they serve to show smaller abilities of the rings, such as when they communicate with their owners. Blond makes the last page a spectacular horror with the color that dominates the final splash; heck, even the dawn is the same color. This book gets a strong visual punch from Blond’s work. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharp demonstrates on the first page that a letterer has much to do with a book’s look. The initial page has him creating scene settings, narration, an alien’s unique speech, Dex-starr’s utterance, Atrocitus’s speech, a logo for Red Dawn, the story’s title, and the book’s credits. He then goes on to create two more unique alien speech fonts, yells, screams, the “Rage!” of the infected, sounds, the rings’ communications, and the tease for next issue. It’s impossible not to note how outstanding Sharp’s work is on this book. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A great book, even though one hero is not acting very heroically. I’m expecting the focus to switch to Baz soon; hopefully quickly. Overall grade: A- 

To find out more about this book and others that feature 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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