In Review: Green Lanterns #43

The visuals are outstanding in this final chapter, with several new heroes for the DC Universe.

The covers: The expected pair of covers to collect if one is a fan of this series. The Regular by Will Conrad and Ivan Nunes has Jessica and Simon right in the thick of the battle as they are attacked by the Order of the Steed. The members of this cult are super powered individuals who have had their brains hijacked by the leader of this faux religion. It’s as if the lanterns are being fought by a legion of super-heroes (You see what I did there? Hey, DC, why tease the reader and just bring this series back already!). This is a decent image in black and white, but the colors aren’t bright enough to find a focus, with every element of the art blending into each other. This is a sadly messy image. The villains are difficult to make out with the colors, causing the reader to really strain. This is a big disappointment. The Variant by Brandon Peterson is much better. Jessica sits atop a giant green power battery. She has her left hand on her thigh and she holds her right hand up as her ring begins to glow with emerald energy. The smile on her face completes this joyful image of her. The illustration is great and the colors perfect. Heck, this looks like an illustration for a statue…Hint, hint, hint. Overall grades: Regular D and Variant A

The story: The conclusion to Tim Seeley’s “Superhuman Trafficking” opens with Jessica explaining to one of the infected flock what’s being done to her. The second page shows that this conversation isn’t just occurring with one character but with twelve other individuals. As she’s trying to get these heroes back to normal, Simon has his hands full as he fights one of the acolytes who happens to be a Durlan, a shape changer. Constructed chains can’t hold the Durlan and it gives the hero a quick left and right. Simon slams into the ground and the foe begins to analyze him, stating some painful truths. She states that wit is used by humans “to distract from the truth. A kind of mating-ritual camouflage. It covers up what lies beneath your exterior. It masks your insecurities…You fear that you’ll always be the outsider. The villain. Alone and cast out, trapped in a box. All by yourself.” This gets Simon to leap at the Durlan, who catches the lantern’s fist and continues to mock him. Meanwhile, Night Pilot is battling Scrapps, a member of the Omega Men, who unknowingly recruited the superheroes for the Steed. That’s the premise for this issue: Can Jessica cure the Steed? Can Simon beat the Durlan? And will Scrapps be killed by Night Pilot? I buy this book to see lanterns in action and Seeley delivers that, but I also enjoyed the choice made by Scrapps, which was unexpected. I was not a fan of the recent Omega Men series, so to see one of the characters break out from that too-dark-for-me series was good. The final four pages has Simon address his relationship with Jessica, which was due, but the ending is a cliffhanger that states it’s only getting started. Typical Lantern fun that’s very readable. Overall grade: B

The art: The artwork on this book, which features pencils by V. Ken Marion and inks by Sandu Florea, is outstanding. I like the opening that shows the device that turns heroes into willing slaves of the Steed and what Jessica is trying to do to save the individual shown in the last panel: it’s a neat series of visuals that shows the reader what she is doing. The reveal on Page 2 is great for showing that she’s not just attempting to save the one character, but all of the infected flock. The device that she’s constructed to do looks neat and the object before her eye reaffirms that she’s using some form of technology to save them. The battle between the Durlan and Simon is the energy of the issue, with fists flown, characters flying about, and lots of unhappy faces. I like the breaking chains on 3 and the moment the Durlan takes to change to its natural state. The four small panels at the bottom of 8 is a great way to show what tempts Simon, reinforcing what the reader already suspects. What Simon does to get the upper hand on her is really neat on 9, with the second panel showing some terrific details in the villain. When the villain joins with another, Marion and Florea really deliver the goods, creating a massive monstrous creature. Night Pilot and Scraaps’s battle is quicker, but still illustrated well. I really like the details that are put into each character and the setting. Both characters’ jackets are exceptionally well done. The energy flying on 12 looks great — it’s a good payoff for this story’s conclusion. The bird’s eye view on 13 is smart way to show all the characters that Jessica was trying to save. The final panel on 16 is telling without being obvious, which leads to some good emotions on the final four pages. The final panel of the book is really well illustrated and comes off as very troubling. I would love to see this pair of artists on a series full time. Overall grade: A

The colors: With such highly detailed visuals, colorist Dinei Ribeiro really gets to show off his skills. They could have been grossly colored, but the four panels that show a character’s brain are neat with all the different shades of pinks it has. The work on the character’s hair and skin in the final panel on the first page looks great. But this is merely a warm up, as the second page has several heroes in different colored outfits, plus a tremendous amount of green energy coming out of Jessica. Greens are tricky in a Lantern book, because they can be over or underdone. They look outstanding on every page of this issue. The sounds are also looking smart, with them colored or outlined in bold colors to have them stand out. The Durlan in its monstrous form is neat for all the shades of orange it sports. If one thinks that Ribeiro is only talented with the wild creations of space, take a gander at the strong work he does on the final four pages set at Jessica’s apartment: realistic colors cement these pages as believable. I especially like the work done on the chair Jessica is in and her clothes on the floor. A great job, though and through. Overall grade: A 

The letters: Dave Sharpe crates this issue’s dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, transmissions and ring speech, sounds, yells, weakened speech, scene settings, ominous characters’ dialogue, and the tease for next issue. The story’s title is neat, but those credits are really tiny. It’s not Sharpe’s fault though, because this page is so packed with characters he wasn’t really given much space to place these. I have no issue with the transmissions and the ring speech being the same font since the transmission is done through the rings — it makes sense. The sounds are really cool, erupting off the page with every punch. The weakened text is a good visual way to show the reader how beaten one individual is. The closing text is the speech of some new characters and its design shows them to be evil. Sharpe is never everything but outstanding. Overall grade: A

The final line: The visuals are outstanding in this final chapter. The story contains no true surprises until the final four pages, confirming what fans have suspected. A fun conclusion that now has several new heroes to expand upon in the DC Universe. 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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