By Geoff Johns, Sam Humphries, Ethan Van Sciver, Ed Benes, Jason Wright, Travis Lanham
The two newest Earthlings to join the Green Lantern Corps have to team-up to save the Universe. Can they put aside their differences and do it Lethal Weapon style?
Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz both have short but distinguished careers as superheroes. Baz filled in for Hal Jordon as Green Latern on Earth and Cruz worked alongside the Justice League as Power Ring before being given a proper GL ring. None of that is gone into detail in the issue, but it’s kind of dependent on that information for enjoyment. Thus far, the Green Lantern books miss their shaky new reader friendly goal yet again.
Likewise, Simon Baz’s alleged career as a terrorist and Jessica Cruz’s agoraphobia are mentioned but not given as much time as they should. Somehow Baz is working for the CIA and is supposed to have a handler, who shows up to reprimand him and instead acts like his best friend. Cruz, seemingly from her training with the JL, has overcome her crippling fears and journeyed out into the world. Much like Hal Jordon’s recklessness and love of flying personify why he was chosen as a GL, so should Baz’s checkered past and Cruz’s reluctance to leave the safety of her apartment.
In any case the two quickly cross paths and get on each other’s nerves as they try to fight off a Manhunter drone. It turns out to be a test by Hal Jordon, who wants to see if the two are ready to protect Earth while he travels into deep space.
There’s some cool Green Lantern call backs here, like the Manhunter drone and materializing a power battery out of thin air (or a pocket dimension), even Jordon’s personality as the Lantern with seniority. However, that doesn’t quite match up with the Hal Jordon of the New 52 or the tone the book is trying to establish.The Geoff Johns’ aspects of the book I feel I can spot right away, which leaves me to think everything else is Humphries. A lot of the plot points of this book feel all too familiar, secret weapons, Guardian secrets, Atrocitus, Hal going off into deep space again.
Like the writing, the art is split between Van Sciver and Benes. What’s funny is I kept thinking looking at the pages “Why do some of this panels look like Benes’ work? How did Van Sciver do that?”. Benes work isn’t bad, but is pretty far away from resembling Van Sciver’s hyper detailed hatching style and iconic character poses. I found those much more visually arresting than Benes, which I hate saying because Van Sciver has less pages in the issue. Van Sciver is one of DC’s most popular artists and his work is great. Anyone working alongside him that can’t match his detail or eye for design will inevitably look lesser. It doesn’t help at times that Benes’ work looks like David Finch’s on a good day either. Still, Benes’ does a solid job towards the middle of the book depicting action and character expression before Hal Jordon and Van Sciver take over everything.
The draw of this issue kind of gets buried under the mixed art and by the numbers story. Two of DC’s most recent and diverse minority characters are headlining a book together, which in 2016 shouldn’t make me feel worried about its future. Then again, its a Green Lantern book so maybe its brand will give it longevity like the mediocre bat-books get from Batman. The idea of a buddy cop story set within Green Lantern always entertains me, but I can’t remember it ever being the “hook” before. That hook is all this book has going for it aside from Johns’ name and Van Sciver’s art. Less of a Rebirth and more like a retread, Green Laterns #1 doesn’t have much to offer longtime fans and would probably confuse newer readers.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent