In Review: Green Lanterns #26

Volthoom and Rami's backstory is visited and it brings needed clarification to their relationship.

The covers: Guardian Rami snarls as he tears a green power battery apart, while Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz futilely reach for one another. Good thematic Regular cover by Mike McKone and Jason Wright. I like how this image reminds the reader of the events of the previous issue, so they’re ready to start in with the continuation of the tale. Rami looks great; I don’t know what it is about oversized villains, but they look great and he’s awesome here. The colors are strong, with the tear between the heroes casting a spectacular stream of light. The Variant cover by Brandon Peterson was the one I had to purchase for this issue. Mirroring the last page of the previous issue, Jessica and Simon are disintegrating. They’re not just shattering, they’re also unraveling — look at both characters’ hands. I love how they’re coming apart and the coloring is great, especially the light streaming between them. Overall grades: Both A

The story: This is a filler issue that fills in a lot of backstory with Rami and Volthoom. My hat’s off to writer Sam Humphries for keeping me entertained while revealing nothing about the fates of Simon and Jessica who were ripped apart in the last issue. Humphries shows the pair meeting for the first time on Maltus, with Volthoom helping Rami in a simple task. Rami shows him his project: rebuilding the machine that Krona built, so that he and the other Guardians can look into the future to prevent disasters. The ring comes up in their conversation and Rami doubts it will work, but Volthoom counters, “Oh, it works…the emotional spectrum gave it to us. Everything from the emotional spectrum is special.” Then and there, they decide to work on the ring together. There’s a telling moment on Page 5 that Volthoom keeps hidden that might have changed the future if Rami was aware of it. The Travel Lantern also comes into play, showing how the device can be used for good, but also how it can create harm in the present. When the big confrontation occurs on Pages 13 – 15, the reader will sorry for Rami, knowing that he’s realized too late whom he has been dealing with. However, it’s Volthoom that really impressed me. I’ve never been a fan of this character, from his first appearance through his appearances in other books. With this story I have a better understanding of the character and he’s very enjoyable. He’s a villain, without a doubt, but now I know what motivates him and how he came to his current state. This issue also shows what spurred Rami to seek out the first green lanterns, and another lantern’s origin is revealed on the final page. This is not a filler in the sense that it’s filling space until the regular story resumes, this is filler in that it’s filling in the gaps of previous stories and, finally, making them palpable. Overall grade: A

The art: Ronan Cliquet does a good job on this book beginning with the very first page which is a full-page splash. Volthoom is in a state of rapture as he activates the power ring for the first time. I like that there’s not just energy coming out it, but smoke as well, giving it an unsafe quality, as if it could explode. When the two characters begin to bond, Cliquet moves in for close-ups on the characters, having their faces add to the text with warm emotions. Volthoom has the ultimate “trust me” face during their exchange, winning over a doubtful Rami, until the Guardian’s face mirrors that of his new friend. Page 6 has a fantastic blast of energy that reveals a terrific setting in the bottom left corner. Cliquet does an equally impressive job with his settings as he does with his characters. This setting is shown from a different point of view on the next page and it’s terrific. The bottom panel suggests some of the tension lurking within Volthoom with the visual making the text strong. As the story progresses and some success is achieved, Volthoom’s smile loses its warmth and becomes very cocky, a nice, subtle change in the character’s personality. The sixth panel on 13 has my favorite panel of the issue, showing one character who is absolutely frustrated. The explosion of rage on 15 is excellent and the bottom of the page reveals the character that long time readers are familiar with. The large panel that follows this page shows the strength of the character, with him having a sad look upon his face, suggesting that even he wanted things to go differently. This is followed up well with the other character also having a look of sadness as he does something. I loved the design of the new lantern on the final page and I’m hoping to see more of her. Overall grade: A

The colors: Volthoom employs every color at once when he uses his ring and colorist Ulises Arreola shows this on the first page. It looks pretty, because it is rainbow after all, and it lulls the reader into thinking this character isn’t so bad. Also on the first page is Rami’s narration, which is enclosed in a unique balloon, but given a light green to alert the reader to who’s speaking. Very nice. Most of the settings are various shades of green, naturally, but when some of the structures are destroyed, other colors are revealed. These green settings also allow the red in Rami’s clothes to make him a stand out on the page. Page 10 has a character enveloped in energy and it’s not a uniform color, but composed of many colors, making this element come to life. 15 uses red excellently, not just for the explosion of anger, but for the outline of energy around the lead character. Every shade of brown is used on the final page and Arreola makes the character wearing these colors look really cool. Yeah, I’m liking Arreola’s contributions. Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Dave Sharpe creates scene settings, Rami’s narration, the story’s title and book’s credits, dialogue, sounds, screams, yells, ring speech, and the tease for next issue. Having Rami’s narration done in the form of a diary is excellent. It sets it apart from all other texts in the story and makes the speech seem more personable, since it was written down. A Sharpe scream is a thing of beauty to behold, much like a Wilhelm scream is to films. Page 6 begins with one and it looks great. Notice how it lessens when the character has to speak dialogue — it’s still intense, but not as much as the wail that precedes it. Page 14 has two of them, uttered by two different characters, but the font and having the dialogue balloon forming around the letters makes the outburst seem so strong. And check out the closing text that teases next issue; it’s slick, futuristic, and completely at home in a science fiction book. Sharpe is always aces. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Volthoom and Rami’s backstory is visited and it brings needed clarification to their relationship. Outstanding story and art have this soaring far above other filler issues. Overall grade: A

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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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