GREEN LANTERN (2021-) #1/ Script by GEOFFREY THORNE/ Art by DEXTER SOY & MARCO SANTUCCI/ Color Art by ALEX SINCLAIR/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Cover by BERNARD CHANG & ALEX SINCLAIR/ Variant Cover by BRYAN HITCH & ALEX SINCLAIR/ Published by DC COMICS
The Green Lantern Corps have stood as a symbol of law and order for many eons. Chosen from among the most fearless of sentient beings by the Guardians of the Universe and empowered by rings that draw upon the will of the wielder, they have served as the universe’s first line of defense against the forces of chaos and those who would prey on the weak. But a new order has come to the universe in the form of the United Planets, and there are many who see no place for the Green Lanterns or the Guardians in it.
To that end, the Guardians agreed to host a conference of the United Planets on their home world of Oa, to make a case for their induction and for the Green Lantern Corps to continue to act as a peace-keeping force under the United Planets’ supervision. It is a golden opportunity for the Corps’ many enemies to strike. It is also one of the many colossal headaches Corps Leader John Stewart of Earth must cope with, as he’s forced to play the soldier and the diplomat.
It’s been some time since I picked up a Green Lantern book. While Hal Jordan was a favorite hero of mine growing up, my ability to enjoy the concept as an adult has varied wildly depending on the writer. I loved Geoff Johns’ and Peter Tomasi’s development of the various Corps members, having always preferred the Green Lantern stories that were written like Hill Street Blues in space, with a focus on the ensemble rather than individuals. We get some sense of that in Geoffrey Thorne’s script for this issue, which establishes a new status quo for the Corps that, if anything, reminds me of Babylon 5, due to its politics and the suggestions of a bigger universe slowly coming forward.
The chief focus here is on John Stewart and that’s not a bad choice for this first issue. In addition to being one of the best-known Lanterns, John has a unique insight as a man who once had the power of a Guardian and a role leading the Corps without any outside influence. This is casually mentioned during a conversation John has with two of the Guardians he is escorting and most of the characters’ personalities are revealed in the same “show, don’t tell” fashion. The same is true of Simon Baz and the new Teen Lantern, Keli Quintela, who also play key roles in this first issue.
Another interesting character introduced in this issue is Ameyra Khalan; a Thangarian who holds both the rank of Captain in the newly formed United Planets Brigade and some outspoken opinions about the Green Lanterns. The character got some early press due to her red hair and green eyes making her resemble the Hawkgirl from the Justice League animated series and some have speculated she may be set up as a love interest for John Stewart. While it’s possible Thorne may be setting up a will-they/won’t they relationship between the two warriors, Ameyra is a bit more blood-thirsty than Shayera Thal was in the cartoons and is fully prepared to nuke Oa from orbit once given a valid excuse. (Minor SPOILER – She is given a valid excuse.)
The artwork is outstanding, with both Dexter Soy and Marco Santucci proving more than capable of conveying a variety of odd alien appearances. The perspective is continually shifting in this book, moving to view the characters from above or below, even in the scenes involving characters who aren’t flying. This subtly holds the reader’s interest, even in the more static scenes of characters just speaking to one another. The colors by Alex Sinclair are suitably vibrant and vivid. The letters by Rob Leigh are also notable, as he uses large fonts in place of word balloons to denote characters speaking loudly through an electronic device, such as when John puts out a call to all the Corps members on Oa or when a vote is being cast in the United Planets assembly.
Overall, this issue is a fantastic, fun read and a wonderful entry point for newcomers. If you haven’t read Green Lantern in a while, or ever, this is a great place to start. This series has found a place in my heart and on my pull-list. Highly recommended.