In Review: Green Lanterns #5

Simon is more enjoyable than Jessica who's become a fear filled cliche.

The covers: Robson Rocha, Jay Leisten, and Rod Reis have Jessica going into action against Atrocitus, with Simon following up. It’s great to finally see the newest Green Lantern in action and not screaming or quaking in horror and what’s happening to her. Here she’s throwing a punch against the oversized leader of the Red Lanterns and it’s Simon who looks distressed. This is an incredibly busy frontpiece with several glowing lantern logos filling the spaces around the characters. Reis does a solid job making the aura around the lanterns glow, and is the Jessica stand out character with her costume being a deeper green than Simon’s. It’s the Variant cover that I picked up, however. This cover is by Emanuela Lupacchino and Tomeu Morey. Atrocitus is still giant sized and he looks absolutely ravenous as he holds a lantern in each hand. Both of the heroes struggle to be free of his grip, but it’s not looking good for them. The blood globules flowing around them make the visual deliciously icky. The colors are very dark and they make the fate of the lanterns seem hopeless. Outstanding! Overall grades: Regular B and Variant A

The story: Jessica confesses to the reader that she’d rather be anywhere with anyone doing anything than what she, and Simon Baz, have to do right now, which is save the Earth from “these guys.” Atrocitus commands four of his red lanterns to defend the Hell Tower and streak through the air to attack the two green lanterns. “It’s just them between us and the Hell Tower,” says Simon. “Oh just them? The claymation rejects?” Jessica responds. This doesn’t damper Simon who asks, “You ready?” to which she responds, “Hell no.” Yet the heroes rush the villains. Simon constructs a fist and hammers Skallox, while Jessica creates green flame to singe Haggor. Atrocitus watches the battle, musing over Bleez’s abandonment and commanding Dex-starr to take the Hell Seed into the Hell Tower to fulfill the prophecy of Red Dawn. Sam Humphries has this issue as a straightforward action, with the greens versus the reds. Jessica takes on several of the red lanterns, and things go badly, while Simon takes on Atrocitus, with things going badly for him. The only possible character growth of the issue is Baz having a moment of Emerald Sight, which allows him to see the future. Whether his visions are actually true are not revealed, but serve as a good story thread to have Simon involved in. Conversely, Jessica is still the frightened little lantern. Five issues in and she turns tail and fails during a fight. Can this be over now? It got old a few issues ago, and now this is beating a dead horse. The readers get that she’s nervous, Mr. Humphries, but her feelings negate everything about being able to wield a green ring: Where are the fearless aspects of her nature? I enjoyed the Simon sequences much better than the Jessica scenes simply because she’s become a cliche with her lack of courage. Overall grade: C+  

The art: Two sets of pencillers and inkers, Robson Rochan and Eduardo Pansica pencil and Jay Leisten and Julio Ferreira ink. It’s not stated who is responsible for what (C’mon, Assistant Editor Andrew Marino and/or Editor Mike Cotton, help a reader out!), but the characters don’t look consistent. The book begins with an excellent splash of Simon and Jessica standing in a jagged landscape that’s filled with clouds and several flying lantern logos. Both characters look good, but it’s not stated why they’re surrounded by glowing lantern icons. Atrocitus commands all of Page 2 and he’s an appropriate fright as he screams out to his minions, who are shown on the third page. I wish that the villains were more clearly shown, but it’s enough to know that they’re angry looking aliens. The double-paged spread of 4 and 5 is okay, but it’s not an outstanding illustration as the heroes aren’t the focus, since the antagonists are too close to the reader. Dex-starr looks good in his first appearance, but at the bottom of 6 he looks as though he’s put on a few pounds. Pages 8 and 9 have good visuals to show what the characters are thinking about as they’re involved in the action, with the close ups at the bottom of each page very well done. The splash on 10 is okay, but it doesn’t have the impact it should because of the light coloring. 11 is much better, as the character considers what’s just occurred. The art on 13 is markedly different from what’s been shown before; it’s neither worse, nor better — just different, and it sticks out as being so. The splash on 16 needed more work put into it; yes, there’s a ton of energy being released, but it comes off as unfinished or rushed with all the energy lines. Things are much better on 19 where a major action occurs — this looks terrific! The final page has a nice layout, showing where each character is, setting up dueling cliffhangers, but Jessica looks terrible. She’s now too young. As with the story, Jessica’s not working well in this book. Having one pair of artists would have made the visuals more consistent. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Every red and green construct looks terrific. The energy surrounding each lantern is also strong. The visuals, though, really determine whether Blond can bring a page to life. The first page uses a slight orange-red background to have the greens from the heroes emanate with energy. This color also allows the red lanterns to stand out strongly; Atrocitus looks fantastic on Page 2 — check out all the different shades of red on him! The background colors on 4 and 5 hurt the focus on the characters; here Blond could have cheated with the colors so that the setting doesn’t overpower the villains. The flashback moments on 8 and 9 nicely telegraph to the reader that he or she is looking at flashbacks. It’s impossible to find a focus on 10 because of the colors. Everything is too pale; it should have been extremely bright for the character at the bottom, to show that the rest of the page is coming out of this individual. Notice how bright the following page is: the preceding page should have been as strong. 16 is also not well done, but this is due to the lack of detail in the art; Blond is doing all that’s possible to make this work. Mixed results due to mixed art. Overall grade: B-

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), Atrocitus speech, the story’s title, the book’s credits, yells, Dex-starr sounds, ring speech, and the tease for the next issue are brought to life by Dave Sharpe. Having Atrocitus and Dex-starr’s speech in a font different from the rest of the characters gives them a much more alien taint, and the yells continue to be strong, such as the one on Page 4, remaining a hallmark of Sharpe’s work. I’m not keen on the narration being the same font as the dialogue, with colors employed to show how it’s a different form of communication. Still, I’m happy with the majority of this work. Overall grade: A-

The final line: Simon is much more enjoyable than Jessica who’s become a fear filled cliche. She needs to change quickly from this mousey path. The visuals are mixed, with some pages looking better than others. Character growth and consistency are what this issue needs. 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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