In Review: Green Lanterns #20

The villain's perspective is focused on and it doesn't generate any sympathy.

The covers: The Regular cover is by Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, and Jason Wright. This is really tough to find a focus. Doctor Polaris is the bottom center of the image, with Jessica Cruz in the foreground and Simon Baz behind the villain, both restrained by some metal piping the villain is manipulating. One problem is that the antagonist’s costume is too similar in color to the metal pipes, making him difficult to see. The pipes are also too random; instead of looking as though they are intended to confine the heroes, they are placed all over the cover to fill space. The lanterns are also dully colored. The title of the book and the rebirth logo are also dull, matching the colors of the pipes. This comes off as a cluttered blob. The Variant cover by Emanuela Lupacchino and Michael Atiyeh is much better. This has both characters being tossed about against a black background with shards of glass flying everywhere. The colors makes this appear to be the metal ball the pair were imprisoned in at the end of the previous issue. Both characters are clearly seen, the glass provides some nice visual hazards, and the colors make it seem to be night or an enclosed space. I picked up this version of the cover. Overall grades: Regular D and Variant A-

The story: “Polatiry, Chapter Two: Drowning” by Sam Humphries begins with the two lanterns 600 feet below sea level in a metal ball constructed by Polaris. Surprisingly, Simon is having a meltdown: he’s raging about being in the orb, unable to break out. All his constructs aren’t working and he’s panicking. Jessica, in a welcome change of pace, remains cool, calm, and focused. It’s she that is able to free them from their sinking prison. They head back to the hospital where Polaris’s brother is, but they’re too late. A doctor tells them, “He burst in, and all the beds and machines started levitating! They flew out with him.” The book then provides some background on why Polaris became a villain and why he’s helping his brother. There’s also a moment of reflection for Simon, paralleling his relationship with his brother to that of the villain. This is okay, but Polaris is an insane criminal in this story, so it’s difficult for Humphries to make him sympathetic. There’s a cameo by a member of the Justice League that helps the lanterns, and it was neat to see this character. There’s no resolution to this story, as it continues next month. This issue read like the middle of the story, establishing the villain’s motivations, and leading into the climax for next month. Better were the two pages devoted to four key members of the Green Lantern Corps who have learned of someone’s existence and are going to have to intervene on Earth. That’s a story that sounds interesting! Overall grade: C+

The art: The book opens with a very dramatic full paged splash. It’s primarily black, with the bottom right corner having a circular image of Simon and Jessica in an orb that’s leaking. This was a very slick way by penciller Eduardo Pansica and inker Julio Ferreira to show the plight of the heroes. This is followed by a partial double paged splash of Simon trying to get out of their prison. The series of small panels that go across the center of these pages create a nice flow of movement for Baz as he attempts to break out. Jessica’s panels, underneath these, should have been just as large; not only to give her equal time, but to show that her use of the power ring is much different from her partner. Page 4 has a sensational large image of the lanterns escaping from the water with Jessica looking spectacular. The parallelism on 5 is well done, showing where the equipment used to be and where it now is. I’m not big on Page 5; the artists do what they can, but the story is forcing them to do this mental shtick. There’s a two and a half page flashback sequence that has a large panel that creates a strong sense of energy. The two pages featuring the corps members has one member nicely showing the lack of gravity at the location with his hair billowing about. However, that lantern on the right in the top panel on 16 has a really murky face (Where’s his right eye?) and his head is almost a perfect oval. Better is the close up of Baz on 17 as he enters a structure. The full page splash on 18 has the villain looking okay, but his face is so blackened, it’s difficult to make out. Additionally, he’s surrounded by several common objects, but given their perspective they make the entire page look out of sync with the rest of the book. There’s also a completely unnecessary blurring effect on 19 to make the art seem more active. It doesn’t — it looks like a bad computer effect. I know that this effect is sometimes done by the colorist in comics, but I don’t know if that is the case here, so I’m noting it under the art grade. The visuals are mostly good, but there are a few noticeable hiccups. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Two colors start off this book smartly: blues are used for the story title and credits, to illustrate the possible damp death of the lanterns, and greens for the trapped lanterns. Blond uses several shades of emerald throughout this book to give the illustrations depth and to differentiate them from other greens, such as the light greens used for constructs. Page 4 uses a lot of greens for the lanterns escape, with the water being a medium aquamarine to combine the opening page’s colors. The flashback sequence has the most unique coloring of the book, with the colors being a faded green. This technique reminded me of the coloring on Nathaniel Dusk from Gene Colon, as if these pages were colored with pencils. The choice to use violet as the background color on 18 hurts the visual of the villain, as he blends into the background with his costume’s colors. Overall grade: B

The letters: Scene settings, ring speak, the story’s title, the book’s credits, yells, dialogue and narration (the same font), and the tease for next issue all hail from Dave Sharpe. Sharpe’s scene settings, sounds, and yells are some of the best in the industry, and this issue shows several as examples. I would have liked to see the dialogue differed from the narration by font, rather than the coloring of the box, but what Sharpe does is well done. Overall grade: A

The final line: The villain’s perspective is focused on and it doesn’t generate any sympathy. This is an okay story, with some better than average visuals, but nothing to write home about. Only for hard core Lantern fans. 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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