In Review: Green Lanterns #12

This is an average Green Lantern installment.

The covers: Jessica and Simon are throwing everything they’ve got at the Phantom Lantern, Frank Laminski. However, since he’s able to harness the power of all emotional spectrums, what they’ve got doesn’t seem to be good enough. Penciled by Robson Rocha, inked by Joe Prado, and colored by Rod Reis, there’s lots of power in this front piece. The energy coming off and out of each character is good, with Simon looking the best of the heroes, while Frank looks ghostly with the way he’s been drawn and colored. And it’s with Frank I have issues — he’s really difficult to make out on this cover. I can tell who he is, but just barely; he comes off as a muddled character. The Variant cover is by Emanuela Lupacchino and Michael Atiyeh and it’s a much better piece because all the characters can be seen much more clearly. Frank is still in his ghostly character, but much larger, dominating the picture as he turns to face the lanterns behind him. I like that his new ring is also easily seen. In the foreground below him are the heroes, who look worried at the pain the Phantom Lantern is about to bring. Excellent art and good coloring. Overall grades: Regular B and Variant A

The story: Part Three of “The Phantom Lantern” by Sam Humphries begins with a Simon Baz giving a brief summary of how emotions work the power rings and how the Phantom Ring can employ all the emotions. “But it has one big problem…it has no safety. No throttle. If you don’t know how to use it…you become like this guy,” he narrates, revealing Frank going crazy in a self created tornado of chaos. He’s overtaken by avarice and wants a green power ring. He’s destroying a house to find one and both green lanterns swoop in to stop his ranting and save the home’s inhabitants. He speeds off west, prompting Simon to say, “There’s only one place a guy obsessed with becoming a Green Lantern would go.” Coast City is the pair’s next destination. At this point the story goes back “years ago” and shows a three page flashback of what inspired Frank to be a Green Lantern. It shows Hal doing something that’s he done just in the last year, which has me thinking this is the most unsafe carnival ride in the DC Universe. Back in the present, Frank’s battle to control the ring is shown, as his his mentor tries to get the errant lantern to focus. The villain meets up with the heroes after they have their obligatory bi-weekly discussion of how they feel they’re misfit heroes. I’m over these heroes doubting themselves and I’m tired of this villain, who is too similar to Volthoom (though for a good reason). This story line is retreading too much in GL’s recent past and their doubting of their abilities should be more than enough reason for the rings to leave them. I’m only reading this issue because I’m hoping for better soon. Overall grade: C-

The art: Eduardo Pansica provides the pencils and Julio Ferreira the inks for this issue and they do a good job. The second page splash showing Frank in the middle of the swirling chaos of the house is done well, and having the reader looking up at the villain makes him look like an evil god. The arrival of Sonia and Simon is good on Page 2, but when Frank uses his orange energy to blast the pair the colors overpower the art, making the visual seem blurry. The point of view is moved around well, with page 4 returning to that on the ground and looking skyward for a dramatic effect, and the third panel on the page nicely shows the destroyed setting and the characters. The flashback looks good, with Hal’s intervention being solid. However, it’s the bottom two panels on 7 that are really good, showing off the insane focus of Laminski. The struggle that’s enveloped Frank on 8 and 9 are great, with his red and orange incarnations strong. I don’t like the character shown on the splash on 10 — he looks terrible. In fact, this character looks terrible in every appearance he makes. This could be due to the design of the character, which the artists for this issue are not responsible, but his visage is taking me out of the reading experience. Pages 14  and 15 capture the magic of the lanterns’ ability to remain airborne; I wish that they had the green aura that surrounds lanterns when they fly, but that’s a little nick — this looks beautiful. The device that’s constructed in the final panel on 18 is sweet and I hope the upcoming stories give these artists more opportunities to be creative with the lanterns’ projections. The final page is full page splash that teases the action for next issue. It looks okay, but all I could think of was Venom and Carnage. This book’s visuals are decent. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The first page of the book needs strong colors to educate the reader about what he or she is about to read. Blond pulls off the emotional spectrum nicely, with the colors fading the further they get from their respective rings. Orange brilliantly dominates the second page, comprising most of the Phantom Lantern’s body and the sizzling energy that surrounds him. I’m always impressed by the neon green effect that Blond gets around the lanterns’ bodies, making it seem like the energy is real. Having John’s narration in bold green boxes is an excellent way to have his inner monologue communicated to the reader. The flashback is in glorious black and white tones, which dates the story excellently. The final two panels of the flashback turn slightly purple, creating an excellent visual transition to the the present on the next page. The blue skies that the heroes have as a backdrop are beautiful and the yellows of the final page are great. I’m really enjoying Blond’s work on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dave Sharpe, the go-to Green Lantern letterer, creates narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, scene settings, ring dialogue, screams, the book’s story title, and the book’s credits. Sharpe never disappoints, packing a lot of text into small spaces without ever overtaking the art. His yells and screams are superb and he creates the most engaging story titles in the business. Overall grade: A

The final line: The story feels repetitious and the art is passing. This is an average Green Lantern installment. I’m waiting for better. Overall grade: B 

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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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