Writer: Sam HumphriesArtist: Robson Rocha
Next Release: Green Lanterns #12 on December 7, 2016
First off, a little background on me as a reader…
When I started the NCR Podcast, I had just begun reading every issue of DC Comics. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Green Lanterns, and not because I didn’t like the stories, but because I had never really been exposed to the books. I started reading DC Comics lightly in The New 52 but never really read any of the Green Lanterns standalone stuff until the last couple of months. I can now say wholeheartedly and without a doubt that the Green Lanterns are my favorite sect of DC Characters.
In the beginning...
Starting off, the first Lanterns that we are exposed to in the beginning of this story are Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. Sam Humphries gave me a great introduction to these two characters in the first couple issues. Simon is a headstrong, cocksure dude who is fueled by his enormous ego and rushes into situations constructs blazing. You can see evidence of his attitude in the totally wild constructs that he creates. It’s also worth noting that there are slight overtones of Guy Garner’s attitude in this character, which I totally love. Jessica Cruz, on the other hand, is the polar opposite of Baz. Jessica is a girl who has been overcome with social anxiety her entire life, which makes for an interesting Green Lantern. I almost wonder if she will end up being the strongest of all the Green Lanterns in the end, just because she had such a huge amount of fear to overcome.
Sam Humphries took these two newbies and forced them to work together, using Hal Jordan as a conduit for the partnership. Hal came down to Earth and slapped Simon and Jessica’s lanterns together, making it so that the two cannot charge their rings unless they’re in the same place. So watching two people who are vastly different from one another try and work together through insurmountable odds was a great way to go, narrative wise.
What’s going down in Green Lantern town?
Currently, we have a great story arc unfolding with the Phantom Lantern, Frank Laminski, surfacing as the main antagonist. Humphries has taken the time (almost an entire issue) to develop Frank Laminski as a villain. Frank was a loser and a victim for his entire life. Although he seems to have good intentions, his actions are driven by greed and the desire to be seen as ‘more than your average Joe’. Humphries really explored this character’s history and it is evident in the reader’s attachment to the character. Taking an entire issue to develop a villain is something that is not done enough in comics as a whole these days, as more and more villains are just labeled as “the bad guy”. Generic, substandard superhero stories typically follow this type of storytelling. But not with Green Lanterns: Here we’re being exposed to a genuine conflict within both the villain and the heroes of this story.
The old & the new
DC Comics is filled with traditions that have been going on long before I was born and will be going on long after I have left this planet. Humphries honors these traditions by including characters like Volthoom and the Guardians, tying current events in with the old story arcs almost seamlessly. The ability to keep all of this tradition alive while still writing a fresh story with a new perspective is no easy task. But I have to say that Humphries is totally up for the job. Green Lanterns is the first book that I pick up and read on new comic book Wednesday (my favorite day of the week by the way!).
What about the artwork?
A great story can be totally sullied by substandard art. I’ve read many comic books that have a great story, but just aren’t quite as enjoyable when the artwork is off-putting. This is not the case with The Green Lanterns book. Pagination in this book is solid and reading through it is almost effortless because of the way that Robson Rocha and his creative team have constructed their panels. The character’s facial expressions match everything that they’re feeling and are super enjoyable to take in. Color spectrums are a huge part of why I love the Green Lanterns stories so much, and the colorist on this book is definitely doing their job right.
But it can’t all be good, can it?
I will admit that this story arc did not get off to the greatest start. Picking the Red Lanterns as the villain for the first story arc of this series was probably not the best idea. However, it appears as though the Red Lanterns conflict is a gem that has been hidden away for a rainy day and will probably resurface when Simon and Jessica are a little more adept at conquering it (see Green Lanterns #1-#6).
Overall, I would have to say that, so far, the story has been wonderful. Some of the dialogue can be a bit hokey at times, but even that is endearing and speaks to the genuine nature of the characters that Humphries is developing. It was off to kind of a rocky start with the Red Lanterns thing, but I think that’s going to be something that resurfaces later in an awesome and epic way. The artwork is definitely one of the best things coming out of DC right now. And I don’t mean to prattle on and on about how great this book is, but it really is definitely worth noting.
If you’re new to the Green Lanterns or DC Rebirth as a whole, I would highly recommend going out and grabbing the first trade paperback of this book when it comes out. It’s a great introduction to the characters and a super fun ride.
Ben DuPey | Nerd Church Radio