Review | Green Lantern Corps #1

Review | Green Lantern Corps #1

Here’s the thing about new ringslingers in the Lantern Universe: As soon as one’s introduced, the reader wonders: Will this character get developed over time, or is this alien mere cannon fodder? The answer usually becomes clear quickly—and that’s the case here, in the first four pages of the new Green Lantern Corps, when both green-ringed space cops from Space Sector 3599 fall prey to an invisible assassin. This being the New 52, the murders happen with a fair amount of blood and dismembering. It’s an unwelcome trend seen in the majority of the new number-one issues—including the excellent Batman and Robin, written by the same writer, Peter J. Tomasi (which oddly features basically the same opening sequence, though there it was a would-be Russian Batman slaughtered by an invisible foe).

But here’s the thing: Tomasi is the most underappreciated scribe in DC’s stable. He might write some seriously stabby comics, but he also delivers quiet character moments. The combination keeps me coming back for more. While writing the pre-reboot GLC for most of the past five years, he turned it into a book that often surpassed the main Green Lantern title by superstar Geoff Johns. Tomasi can spin a plot like nobody’s business; he’s equally great with characterization. Any writer who can finally turn that one-note loudmouth Guy Gardner into a fully human character commands attention.

Backing up Guy, the secretly acknowledged star of this team book, is perennial second-stringer John Stewart. He’s the African-American GL who only got his due = in the ’90s Justice League cartoon. Here’s betting Tomasi will finally raise him up in print, fleshing him out like he did Guy. In this issue, Tomasi conceives a nifty earth-bound sequence without a costumed villain in sight, in the mundane setting of a construction site. Stewart, the architect, uses his ring a bit brashly to teach a lesson to some greedy developers. It’s great to see him (and Guy) dealing with day-to-day life on Earth, as Johns is doing with Hal Jordan in GL.

Rest assured, Oa makes an appearance too (in a gorgeously rendered splash page), and the issue doesn’t end without more deadly action—specifically, the genocide of an entire race on an aquatic planet (!). With Tomasi’s old GLC partner, artist Patrick Gleason (another of DC’s unsung finest), joining him on Batman and Robin, the penciller here is up-and-comer Fernando Pasarin. Inked by Scott Hanna and colored by Gabe Eltaeb, the book is one of the best looking of the New 52. The Corps is back in good hands.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)