In Review: Green Lanterns #40

An interesting story is brought down by some blocky visuals.

The covers: Will Conrad and Ivan Nunes’s Regular cover teases things to come as six cells, a pair stacked atop another and another, show Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz pounding on their glass containers. Below and above them are four characters, each in their own cell, also trying to find a way out of their confinement. The identities of the heroes are unknown to me, but what I can tell is they don’t like being in these futuristic cages. Above the title it states “Superhuman Trafficking, Part One,” and just below the title characters are the words “Superheroes 4 Sale!” This gives more than a tease about this issue, spoiling the first sixteen pages of this issue. The cover would have been better without the text. And I have to add, as an English teacher, I shudder at numbers used in place of words. The Variant cover is fitting for upcoming Valentine’s Day which has busts of Simon and Jessica in the red outline of heart on a marble background. This is great, even if the characters have no romantic inklings towards one another, though it does tease an aspect of this issue’s plot. Brandon Peterson did a great job on this. Overall grades: Regular B and Variant A 

The story: The first part of “Superhuman Trafficking” by Tim Seeley opens with the lanterns heading to a large unnamed city that’s being flooded due to a hurricane. News broadcasts narrate what the heroes do and the actions of their peers, which include Blue Beetle, Ms. Bulleteer, Firestorm, Power Girl, and Supergirl. After the rain has stopped and the heroes have helped, the lanterns take a breather and are approached by Ms. Bulleteer. She says to Simon, “Are you the one who went out with Night Pilot? From Caper?” Simon says he went out with her once, but never called her again. Bulleteer says she didn’t know her real name, but she hasn’t seen her in a week. “I’m worried, but I don’t know how to find her. If there’s anything you can do to help…” Simon and Jessica fly to Watchtower and on the way Simon explains that Caper is a superhero dating site exclusively for heroes. At Watchtower, Cyborg informs the pair that several heroes are missing. This provides the impetus for the pair to go looking and it’s quite a trip. My hat’s off to Seeley for Caper. Such an app never crossed my mind, but based on what’s been shown of Simon’s dating life it makes perfect sense. I really enjoyed Pages 13 – 15, which showed a side of an industry not shown in comics. The action that occurs there is good, but the reveal left me a little cold. The reveal of a character’s relationship to a group in the DC Universe had me groaning: I didn’t enjoy that interpretation of those characters, so I’m not thrilled to see them survive into the Rebirth Universe.The final two pages of the book show where Night Pilot is and it’s pretty creepy. I want to know what Seeley has planned for this character and the Green Lanterns. Overall grade: A-

The art: The pencils on this issue are by Barnaby Bagenda with inks by Mick Gray. When characters are up close to the reader, this team’s work looks good. When the characters are slightly back from the reader, they become a little simplistic, to the point that they become blocky. The opening page is a splash that has the heroes flying toward the drenched city. They look great. The background is little simplistic, but communicates that it’s a drowning city. The first panel on Page 2 continues across the gutter to 3, again with the heroes in the foreground looking good, but the characters aboard a construct being outlines. The fourth panel, that also crosses the pages, has a flooded senior center filled with heroes saving its residents. Look at the face on the woman being carried by Ms. Bulleteer; it’s very simple. The character that the Blue Beetle is carrying, which is in the foreground, is much better rendered. The final panel on 3 has a child that’s blocky. There are several holographic projections in this issue and all of them aren’t very clear. Give them some credit, these artists are drawing several very different settings, with a lot of characters inhabiting them. But a for a cosmic book like Green Lanterns, the devil is in the details. I expect the art to be at a high level. Jessica fares the best in this book, with the bottom of Page 10 having her look perfect. Even with this beautiful illustration, the book is undone by blocky characters, with the final page, also a full-page splash, being disappointing. Overall grade: C+

The colors: Ulises Arreola does a slick job on the book’s colors. From the first page, the title characters have extremely bright colors, so much so that they stand out strongly from the lighter colored background that’s suffering a deluge. The constructs that the pair use on the pages that follow look terrific in an appropriate neon green. Firestorm’s top tuft of yellow and orange look great. Whenever the sky is shown it’s a beautiful shade of blue that makes one wish they were at the same location. The colors on the characters’ faces are extremely well done, giving them a sense of depth. The dark colors used on the character reveal on 18 are nicely dark, matching the character’s, seemingly, dark nature. The colors on this book look really good. Overall grade: A

The letters: Broadcasts and ring speech, the story’s title, the book’s credits, dialogue, quiet dialogue, sounds, yells, and the tease for next issue are created by the dynamic Dave Sharpe. Normally I grouse when one font is used for two different mediums, but having the broadcasts and the ring speech be the same makes sense since they both issue from electronic mediums. The yells are great, though they don’t appear until the battle at the end, and the same can be said for the sounds. Special mention, again, has to be made of the terrific story title and book credits because they are always epic looking on a Sharpe book. Overall grade: A

The final line: An interesting story is brought down by some blocky visuals, but I’m still intrigued enough to see what happens next. 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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