In Review: Green Lanterns #45

Jessica's trauma is revealed and Simon ventures into unknown territory with the help of an infamous DC character.

The covers: Two covers to track down as Jessica’s painful past is revealed. The Regular cover is by Nelson Blake II and Hi-Fi. Jessica is in the bottom left corner looking frightened at her four dead friends who have appeared out of a green mist. Their arms are open wide and their mouths agape as if accusing the lantern of some misdeed. This is the first age appropriate image of Jessica I’ve seen in a awhile; I believe her to be in her early twenties and she looks that age. The spirits are well done — creepy and sympathetic. The colors are also good, with the greens for the ghosts great and Jessica getting focus because of the dynamic violets behind her. Well done in all counts. The Variant cover by Brandon Peterson is a tribute cover to Superman’s 80th anniversary. The Man of Steel flies forward with a smile into the reader’s face. Behind and just beneath him are the pair of lanterns, taking joy at his leading them. All fly above an orange-blue planet with a bright blue sky, with the sun just behind Superman, giving him an angelic glow. This is a solid tribute and a great cover. Overall grades: Both A

The story: The first two pages begin the reveal of the shocking incident that’s scarred Jessica Cruz. She’s on a hunting trip with her friends Jeanette, Matteo, and Marc. After setting this flashback, writer Tim Seeley moves the story to the present where last issue left off: a black hole has opened over Jessica’s apartment. Her sister Sara has contacted help and the Justice League (Superman, Batman, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman) have arrived. Wonder Woman tries to reassure the fretful family member that all will be well. The Flash arrives, saying he’s done what he can to keep the press and the police back, but they’ll want in eventually. Simon then arrives with Singularity Jain in tow, stating that this all has something to do with her. Batman asks to question her and Jain begins to use her manipulative speech until a golden lasso is suddenly thrown around her neck. She spills the beans on what’s up with Jessica, the reason for her psychological trauma, and in the process begins to make a Justice League member succumb to her will. Another JL member is called in, the “British street wizard” in Simon’s words, John Constantine. Between the flashbacks that show Jessica and her friends making their way to their fates, Constantine gets Simon into the black hole. What Simon encounters is scream worthy by the reveal on the final page. FINALLY! I was waiting for this aspect of Jessica’s origin to be addressed and now I’m on fire to see what Seeley is going to do. Overall grade: A

The art: There’s no fighting in this issue. Aside from the brief conflict encountered by Simon in the book’s final pages, there’s no action. The majority of the book is conversations. Ronan Cliquet is a good choice to illustrate this because his character work is strong. The opening panel is a close up of Jessica’s left eye and the final panel on Page 2 is her right eye. This is nice bookend technique for the flashback, visually showing that everything that’s occurring is going on in her mind. The second panel on the first page shows Jessica instantly contrasted with Jeanette: the friend is wearing camouflage jacket, Jess is in a tank top and her friend is setting up the camp, while Jess is feeding a squirrel. Her smile at the squirrel visually makes her out of place for a hunt in the woods. The arrival of the boys is good, but look at how Jessica is again set apart; in the fourth panel she brushes back her hair and looks sad. In two pages Cliquet has set up visual differences with the characters, with Jessica as the outsider. The third page shows the black hole and the Justice League apprising it. Last issue I stated how much I hate computer blurring in comics for speed effects and this full-paged splash justifies my criticisms. It looks awful. I’ve seen Cliquet do other books and have absolute faith in his ability to create a black hole without this terrible effect. That aside, the Justice League characters look great. Wonder Woman and Batman get the most to do, with the last two panels on 5 showing the Dark Knight looking great questioning Jain. The layout on 6 that has Jain reveal Jessica’s trauma is really good, especially with the giant split face in the center of the page. Wonder Woman gets a great moment on 7 that has Cliquet doing fantastic work on her. The arrival of Constantine is fun, with him doing a quintessential action, while keeping his cigarette in his mouth — fantastic! The flashback sequences are beautiful, with the settings idyllic. Only the last panel in the past foreshadows troubles, and I love that Cliquet did it with the sun in the reader’s eyes. Where Simon ends up is nebulous and still fairly unclear, though the threats he encounters are creepy and the character on the last page left me screaming for more. As with the story, I can’t wait to see what Cliquet does with the visuals. Overall grade: A

The colors: Hi-Fi really gets to use a lot of greens in this issue. That would seem unsurprising given that this is a Green Lanterns book, but there’s actually very little lantern appearances. Instead, the flashbacks, set in the woods, allow several different shades of emerald that are more grounded in reality than lantern constructs. The book begins with a neatly colored close-up of Jessica’s eye and then moves to a tranquil scene deep in the woods. I like that the greens lighten the farther the object is from the reader, such as the distant trees and brush. Hi-Fi also did something sweetly subtle in the second panel: brown was placed on either side of Jessica for the ground, but it highlights the character, allowing her to stand out in this ocean of green. She and her friends are wearing camouflage that have appropriate splotches of green. The black hole has violet around it, but I couldn’t say what colors are the objects being swept up into it due to the computer manipulation. Simon’s arrival with Jain is against different shades of violet, making them pop. This violets brighten considerably when Constantine arrives. I like how the sun is fully revealed when Simon begins to enter the portal, matching the sun that the characters see at the end of the flashback. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dialogue, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, and the tease for next issue are crafted by Dave Sharpe. The sounds are minimal in this issue, with small sounds as the friends try to keep quiet as they hunt. The funniest sound is when Superman uses his heat vision for a humorous task. The text used for the story’s title, credits, and tease are eye catchers for looking powerful. Otherwise, the book is primarily dialogue. It looks good, but, as with last issue, isn’t thrilling. This isn’t Sharpe’s fault, as the story doesn’t demand the dialogue look stunning. Overall grade: B

The final line: Jessica’s trauma is revealed and Simon ventures into unknown territory with the help of an infamous DC character. This was a big improvement over last issue, with all the reveals. I’m always overjoyed to see the “British street wizard” in any book. The visuals have strong character work, with teases of supernatural threats to come. Enjoyable. 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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