In Review: Green Lanterns #38

An excellent story gets better, though the art stumbles at times.

The covers: This issue has the expected two different frontpieces. The Regular cover is by Shane Davis and Jason Wright and it’s a beauty. An intense close-up of a smiling Liseth Vok fills the cover. Just below her eyes, Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are flying forward. Whether it’s to aid Vok or do her bidding won’t be known unless one picks this book up. I love the monstrous smiling visage and the coloring is great. This is the cover I purchased. The Variant cover by Brandon Peterson is also equally good. This has a gigantic (almost) profile of Jessica turned to the left, looking shocked at something. Behind her is a colorful array of stars. Before her, from the waist up, is Simon pulling back a fist to punch the reader. This is a slick composition that radiates every possible color. Really cool. Overall grades: Both A

The story: Tim Seeley’s second installment of “A World of Our Own” opens in the middle of a major conflict. The streets of Ungara are in revolt, as members of the Red Tide are in the streets seeking to start an uprising to kill all the Molites, small humanoids whose world was destroyed, but whose population was rescued by the Ungara’s Regent and Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. The Regent is swinging a sword, taking out members right and left, while Jessica is using her ring to take out the rioters without killing them. With the skirmish ended, Jessica watches the Regent interrogate one of the isolationists. What the leader does shocks the young lantern. Not helping is her ring reminding her, “You know we can’t impede an investigation unless requested, Jessica.” The Regent ultimately learns the location of their leader, Kesh Cur. Meanwhile, Simon is in the prisons, speaking with the Molite leader who said he was responsible for murdering the Urgarain that started the uprising. Simon has learned he didn’t do it; he’s there to find out why the religious leader admitted to doing the deed. It’s a solemn reveal, but can’t hold Simon’s attention for long because he’s summoned by Jessica, who has concerns about what they’re doing on the planet. Their discussion is good, getting very antagonistic, before the pair have to go somewhere else. This continues to be a fantastic conflict for the lanterns, who want to do good, but are dragged into a political conflict that’s over their heads. Making matters worse are the final two pages that reveal the true villain of this issue. Great cliffhanger to a great installment of a smart, entertaining story. Overall grade: A 

The art: Parts of this book look great, others aren’t as strong. The book has a overall unified look, but some elements aren’t as detailed as others. German Peralta opens the book with a full-paged splash featuring Jessica zapping isolationists in the background, while the Regent is swinging her sword on others. There’s a lot of details in the foreground, but the farther characters and settings get from the reader, the more simplistic they become: the buildings and the characters in the back don’t look great. They’re serviceable enough to visually show what’s going on, but given a closer look, they’re not fantastic. The point of view in the first panel on the second page is terrific. Everything is communicated with the image, but the people on the ground are simplistic. Better is the Regent’s interrogation, which is outstanding on the remainder of the page and on 3. Simon looks great on Pages 4 and 5, but the guard and the Molite aren’t as strong. The conversation between the lanterns on 6 and 7 are good consecutive pages. 8 has issues with the holoprojection and the character walking forward in panel four. On 9 the characters drop in quality considerably. The first four pages set on the shore of Gulbray look terrific: they are the best in the book. Once in the interior setting, things become inconsistent, with the alien elements particularly uneven. The final page should have been thrilling, but the new character is obstructed partially by a lantern and the design is not great. Very hot and cold. Overall grade: C-

The colors: Ulises Arreola brightens up things as well as he can. The first page has the colors assist the visuals by making this a very alien setting with the color of the sky and the skin tone of the Ungarans. The sword that the Regent uses has got an excellence luminescence that has it standing out in every panel it appears. The lanterns also stand out due to the warm emerald glow that each projects. The exteriors at the shores of Gulbray look fantastic. The interiors scenes at the same locale aren’t as bright, well…because they’re inside, and there’s not much for Arreola to color outside of the characters. The color scheme of the revealed baddie on the last page isn’t great, but this could be a result of the character’s design: all I could think of was Harley Quinn in space. Overall grade: B+ 

The letters: This issue has the story’s title, the book’s credits, narration and dialogue (the same font), ring speech, yells, scene settings, sounds, and the tease for next issue all created by Dave Sharpe. This book’s story title and tease for next issue are beautiful; they always stand out from other books on the stands. I also like the scene settings and sounds, though I do wish to have seen the dialogue and narration differentiated by the style of the font, rather than the colors of the boxes that contain them. Overall grade: A- 

The final line: An excellent story gets better, though the art stumbles at times. It’s also enjoyable to see some believable friction between the heroes; it’s natural and it’s going to come to a head eventually. The cliffhanger is terrific, with the mention of other alien races terrific to encounter. If only the visuals had been more detailed and more consistent. 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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