In Review: Green Lanterns #21

A familiar story told with strong visuals.

The covers: A pair of copies are yours to be had, with both focusing on the evil Doctor Polaris. On the Regular cover the villain has each lantern by the throat. He smiles as he squeezes the life out of them as the world crumbles. The three characters look fine, but the setting is really abstract — it disappears the closer to the center one looks. The splatter of debris look just like splatters, rather than actual objects. Everything on this cover is colored very dark, even the lanterns’ outfits. Brighter colors might have made this a stronger cover. Lee Weeks and Dave McCaig created this frontpiece. The Variant cover is by Emanuela Lupacchino and Michael Atiyeh. This is a better drawn cover with the colors being brighter, but much of the image is focused on the debris that’s crushing the heroes rather than on them. Pulling in tighter to the leads would have much more preferable. Overall grades: Both B-

The story: Chapter Three of Polarity, titled “Flatline”, by Sam Humphries, begins inside the mind of Neal Emerson, who is Doctor Polaris. He’s screaming that his brother Seth can’t die, who happens to be kneeling next to him, while Polaris watches on smiling. Seth says, “Neal…You’ve always had so much potential. Even when you were just a mixed-up little kid playing with magnets. You’re brilliant. There’s so much good you can do for the world. So what’s stopping you?” The sound of Seth’s heart rate monitor flatlining brings Neal back to the real world, where Simon Baz’s point of view takes over. He brings the reader up to speed with what happened last issue, ending with Simon stating that he’s feeling like he’s reliving a nightmare. He tells Jessica that they need to take the man to a hospital, but Neal lashes out, sending every piece of metal in the room to bind them. Polaris is trying to save his brother by doing something that only he has the power to accomplish. That’s when Simon makes a dramatic proposal. My hat’s off to Humphries for bringing back this ability that Simon has only attempted once. This is, indeed, the time to use it. The tension is high and Simon really acts like a hero in this moment. Then everything goes south with Polaris doing something major to level a city. This provides an extended cameo by a Justice League member who was also in last issue. His presence does make the situation larger as he provides a play by play of what’s occurring. The issue ends with the return of another Green Lantern member and Jessica and Simon off to see him. This conclusion was okay, but was a by the numbers outing: decent, but it’s been done before by other characters. Overall grade: B-

The art: A trio of artists worked on this issue: Robson Rocha provided the pencils and Daniel Henriques and Joe Prado the inks. I was really impressed with the look of this book. There are lot of details on the page, even when there’s nothing cosmic occurring. For example, the first page looks terrific. Neal and Seth look amazing. The incredible work on the faces continues when reality hits, with Simon and Jessica joining in. The top of the third page has a tiny, tight panel establishing where all the characters are in relationship to one another and the details on all are high, including the wooden floor. When Polaris attacks the lanterns at the bottom of the same page, it’s a lush panel: the characters, the wood, the metal, the smoke — all look excellent. Rocha nicely jumbles the panels at the bottom of Page 4 to show the frantic nature of the villain. The confrontation that comprises the largest panel on 5 is practically photorealistic. 6 has a superb panel focusing on Simon, but much of the top is dead space, with his thoughts being too small to fill that much of the panel. The full page splash of 12 looks very different from the previous pages, as if it object shown is made of clay. The power up on 13 looks super and the construct that begins to be formed on 14 is beautifully fluid. 16 is another full page splash and again looks as though the item is made of clay. The character that appears on 19 looks great and has me eager to see this individual next month. The final page has the final full page splash with the characters looking wildly out of proportion, as if they were moving against their will. They are, and that makes this final page look very cool. It will remind older readers of classic comic images of the 1970s featuring similar heroes. I’m liking the majority of his issue and I’d love to see this trio do something else. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Because the visuals are so good, the colors really amplify their intensity. Every scene set within Neal’s mind is just a rendering of what he’s trying to deal with. They’re not really the most intense moments of the issue, but with this artwork and the colors by Alex Sollazzo they look fantastic. The first page is beautiful. Even on my first read, the second panel had me stop and look at its beauty: I love the coloring on Seth. The coloring on all the characters’ skin is exceptional. Combined with the work done on the settings, this is amazing looking work. The greens on Page 6 are incredible. The lack of colors in the final panel on 8 mirror the condition of the character before that bellowing individual. When Polaris goes into action, purples take over and they, too, look sumptuous. All the colors on this book are top notch. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dave Sharpe puts another feather in his cap for lettering a Green Lantern book. On this issue he is responsible for yells, dialogue, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, transmissions, and the tease for next issue. The heart monitor’s sound effects are absolutely chilling, and no one beats a Sharpe yell, of which there are several in this issue. Each variation in a character’s yells visually shows how loud one is screaming. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A familiar story told with strong visuals. The drama with Polaris starts well, but goes into frequently trod super hero territory. Next issue should provide a story to match the visuals. 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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