In Review: Green Lanterns #13

I need this series to be much better, and so do Simon and Jessica or this book won't last.

The covers: Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are confronting two of their greatest fears that have been created by the Phantom Lantern, Frank Laminski. This Regular cover is by Tyler Kirkham and Tomeu Morey and, unlike most covers, it shows an actual event from this issue. In fact, this is how the previous issue ended. The lanterns look strong and the creatures that are out to get them are appropriately monstrous. I love the look of the constructs and the coloring is fantastic, with the logo really standing out, outlined in vibrant green against the constructs’ yellows. The Variant cover is by Emanuela Lupacchino and Michael Atiyeh and it’s a close up of the construct that has been created to fight Jessica. It’s a toothy nightmare that’s holding Jessica and Simon’s costumes in her gigantic clawed hands. This is a pretty disturbing image for a super hero comic, but it does suit the situation. Overall grades: Both A

The story: “Ten billion years ago…” writer Sam Humphries begins this installment of “The Phantom Lantern.” Volthoom is shown being victorious over the Guardians of the Universe. Standing atop the bodies of several dead Guardians, he holds his ring high and proclaims, “Finally! I will destroy your civilization. Wipe out your entire species. Face the wrath of — Volthoom, the First Lantern!” The remaining Guardians realize they have to do something to stop this unstoppable foe, so they call forth Rami who has crafted newer rings that should not cause their wearers to go insane. He didn’t have much time to create them, so they focus on only one emotional spectrum — “the green light of will.” He releases the seven rings and a saga is begun. This is an opening that justifies Rami’s place in the story and it’s okay, and it also provides some connection between himself and the book’s villain, but I really am more interested in reading about the Green Lanterns, more so than the villain and this Guardian. Both lanterns are getting beaten down in the present by two constructs created by the Phantom Lantern, Frank Laminski. Both creations are hitting the heroes hard with the thing that inspires the most fear within them and they do overcome them (Let’s be honest, that’s hardly a spoiler), but what Simon takes away from the end of his tussle is something that I, and several other fans, have been waiting for — and I’m willing to pay extra to make this happen! Anyhoo, just as it seems as though the heroes might have a way to get the ring off of Frank’s finger, they go and do something that contradicts everything they’ve said in the previous panels. Then the conversation on the penultimate page contradicts their actions of the previous page! This writing is making the characters come off as confusing. I’d like to be done with flashbacks, be done focusing on uninteresting backstories, and instead focus on the lanterns. Can this be done now? Overall grade: C-

The art: Ronan Cliquet is responsible for the visuals for this issue. He opens with a super splash page that shows Volthoom victorious over the Guardians and it’s a great image: he looks powerful and manic. The next two pages are just boring. Yes, it’s a “talking heads” sequence in the story, but there’s nothing interesting in this. Even with Rami’s introduction and the rings, there’s nothing visually fun to see. However, Page 4 is a stunner with the wildness of deep space as the rings go zipping about. This shows that Cliquet can make a page spectacular, but the turn of a page is a muddled mess of a splash where the construct overpowers the hero and the other hero and villain can’t really be seen. When the scene shifts to the Phantom Lantern, the art looks as if it’s done by someone else; it’s wonderful! But when the story returns to the heroes on 7 it’s not great. I don’t know what’s going on, but the lanterns come off iffy and the Phantom Lantern looks terrific. If the villain outshines the heroes visually, the heroes had been have some outstanding action to show why they’re the stars. That doesn’t happen here. I was very disappointed with this book’s art. Overall grade: C-

The colors: There’s no slighting of Blond’s skills in coloring this book. The opening page shows that he can highlight a villain, yet maintain an excellent sense of darkness. I also like how the scene setting and Volthoom’s proclamation of his name are in a brilliant green. Page 4 explodes in an outstanding psychedelic collection of colors that make it the definite stand out visual of the book, and that’s due to Blond’s abilities. The best colored pages are the ones with the Phantom Lantern because those are the best illustrated. The lanterns’ get some decent colors, but they can’t compete with the Phantom Lantern’s pages. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, yells, ring dialogue, narration, construct speech, a moan, the story’s title, and the book’s credits are brought to life by Dave Shapre. There’s no mistaking certain fonts as Sharpe’s, see the GAAAAH–! on Page 6 and the “I WANTED TO GO HOME!” on 12. That’s pure Sharpe magic and I’m glad he’s contributing to this book. Overall grade: A+

The final line: The heroes aren’t learning anything and the visuals aren’t strong. I need this series to be much better, and so do Simon and Jessica or this book won’t last. Overall grade: C

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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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