In Review: Green Lanterns #41

The visuals do not help this story and are the weakest contribution to this issue.

The covers: Now this is a great action cover! Scrapps is using pistols to keep Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz at bay. I love the shield that Simon’s created, with a great motion line done for his left fist to infer he’s about to use it to take the Omega Man down. Jessica is in the foreground, looking to use her ring to take out the antagonist. The details on Scrapps are great as is the background surrounding all: the details make this look like something found in Oceania. The colors are also terrific, with the sky giving this setting a very alien feel. This Regular cover is by Will Conrad and Ivan Nunes and is extremely successful. The Variant cover is by Brandon Peterson and it’s the one I purchased because of the focus on the characters. Against an ivory backdrop, Simon and Jessica are having words with each trying to wrestle a power battery from the other. Seeing the entirety of each character is great and the emotion that Peterson has created for each is excellent. This just looks terrific: end of story. Overall grades: Both A

The story: One month ago Simon went on a date with Night Pilot. He’s lifted her into the thermosphere to show her the view. She asks why he went out with her. “You’re a superhero. You live two lives. You can fly. You can go fast. You’re a Muslim. It’s nice to talk to someone who actually understands every aspect of me for once.” She agrees and Simon says he’s glad the super hero dating app Caper exists. Before he kisses her he says, “…I hope I don’t ever have to use it again.” The flashback ends on this note with Simon looking at his phone which is showing Night Pilot’s picture on Caper. He and Jessica are on a ship that’s arrived on the edge of Sector 17, near Hellhole. They’ve brought with them captured Omega Man Scrapps to help lead them to whomever is kidnapping superheroes from Earth. Tim Seeley’s second installment of “Superhero Trafficking” brings Hellhole back to the reader if one is unfamiliar with the locale, which first debuted in Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #1 in 1992. It’s a location that would be deserving of the phrase “You’ll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” To fit in to this location both lanterns have to go undercover and the disguises and names they pick are great. Whom Scrapps leads them to are also great. It’s on this world that the Order of Steed are introduced, who are looking to play an important part in this storyline. There’s a solid action sequence, a fantastically disgusting escape (Page 10), and one of the most interesting compromises I’ve ever encountered in a comic book. Seeley is creating a twisted tale full of all the classic elements of a Lantern story, as well as inserting some clever twists. The only reason my grade doesn’t go higher is that I’m really interested to see what’s going on with Night Pilot and there are only a few pages of her in this issue. Overall grade: A-

The art: Three artists on this issue with Barnaby Bagenda with Mick Gray on inks and Tom Derenick, who inks his own work. I couldn’t tell where one artist begins or ends, which is compliment to all involved for having a unified look on this book, though most pages are just not strong. The opening page is an example of this: the characters look great, the background is unfocused. I realize what the look was intended to be, so high above the planet, but this isn’t working. The next page looks much better with the focus on the characters close up. The rest of the book suffers from characters becoming too simplistic when shown from a distance. Look at the first panel on Page 3 that contains Jessica, then look at her in the panel that follows. She looks good with the portrait at the bottom of the page, but look at how simplified Simon has become in the distance. The next page has both characters looking good, but neither is far from the reader. Hellhole is introduced on Page 6 and every element of this large panel contains suggestions of characters rather than definitions: the characters are blobs when pulled so far from the reader. The villains that are revealed in the bar appear unfinished, with Tomb-or having the potential to be an incredibly memorable visual character, but coming off rushed. Examples of this can be found on practically every page, so continuing to cite such examples would be repetitious. Suffice to say, this art is not servicing the story. Overall grade: D+

The colors: Ulises Arreola is the book’s colorist and he does some solid work in this arena. The lanterns’ greens are radiant in every panel they appear, making them instant eye catchers. The interiors of the lanterns’ ship are also emerald, but Arreola uses every possible shade of this color to give it depth and a strong sense of reality. The shading on the characters’ flesh on Page 4 is really good, with some particularly good work on Simon. Hellhole’s introduction is different, with the right top of the panel having an odd florescent tan. It’s odd, but did make me think of methane, which added to the location’s gag factor. The two characters introduced in the bar are colored fine, but had they had more details there would have been more for Arreloa to work with. The final page has a nice lighting effect achieved with colors, with the reflection on the floor well done. Overall grade: A-

The letters: The text that Dave Sharpe creates for this book includes scene settings, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, ring speech, a character name, sounds, a new setting, yells, and the tease for next issue. The wide array of fonts always makes the text of this series a visual treat, and the reader instantly feels like they’ve begun an epic with the beautiful story title and book’s credits. The sounds are always incredible from Sharpe, who really outdoes himself in this issue with the disgustingly perfect SPLHRGK and SPLORP! Overall grade: A

The final line: The visuals do not help this story and are the weakest contribution to this issue. Science fiction comics depend on the visuals to sell the fantastical elements of the story and if they’re weak they’ll hurt the book, as they do with this. Still, if one likes Green Lantern tales, this will be an okay read, but it does nothing to encourage new readers. 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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