Green Lantern Corps #1

This week marks the debut of the third Green Lantern title this month, Green Lantern Corps.  Returning to the GLC title is the creative team of Peter Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin.  Tomasi has always done a great job with expanding the Green Lantern universe by creating new threats and really painting on the canvas of Green Lantern’s mythology in broad strokes, really establishing for readers that there is whole universe out there than can be explored.  With that in mind the first issue of the new run of the GLC books continues with the universe building trend while still grounding the two Earth Green Lanterns starring in the book as they try to fit back in on a world unaware of the all the things going on in the universe around them.
The Story –
Another GL pays the price
At the sector house in Sector 3599 the two Green Lanterns of the sector are locking up a recently apprehended baddie when the they are attacked by an unseen assailant.  In a gory display of violence all three beings are are sliced in two, but not before we a glimpse of the attacker’s gauntlet, which looks a lot like Libra’s, not that it’s likely to be him peering out from behind the glowing green eyes of his mask.  The murderer mysteriously rambles that “Where there is a force of will…there is a force of destiny” as the scene shifts to Earth.
Guy Gardner is sitting in, of all places, a planetarium, and he appears to have a lot on his mind as he comments on the seeming insignificance of Earth in the grand scheme of the universe.  Reminded that he’s late for an interview we are transported along with Guy to a high school and, surrounded by people who recognize him as one of Earth’s Green Lanterns, he becomes the subject of an endless barrage of questions.  Unlike the past, Guy isn’t enjoying the attention and seems bored with the banality that surrounds him, like someone who has clearly outgrown the novelty of stardom.
Guy’s inability to integrate with “normal” society is underscored by his interview, where the impact of being a Green Lantern results in him being questioned about the safety and insurance issues as well as the ability to balance a high school coaching career that would take a backseat anytime his duties got in the way.  It’s then that the female interviewer drives the point home that the world doesn’t need Guy Gardner the football coach, it needs the Green Lantern more than ever before.
Meanwhile John Stewart is likewise having a hard time fitting back in, with his notoriety as a ring bearer makes him publicity fodder.  But John can’t rectify the local politics with his code of ethics in the construction of a housing complex.  John becomes frustrated with the lack of vision and after trying to make others see the bigger picture he flies off in disgust with the small mindedness around him.
Far across the universe on the planet Nerro in Sector 3599 a been of energy cuts through the water world’s inhabitants, creating a whirlpool that begins pulling all life under the surface towards it.  Before they know it there is a burst and all life is pulled towards the sky.
Guy and John sit together in Earth orbit, riding a satellite as the two men compare notes about the decision they made to go public with their roles as Green Lanterns and how that has made blending in an impossibility.  It’s a great moment for these two men in a cosmic version of “you can’t go home again” having seen the greater universe and realizing they’ve been so changed by their experiences that they can no longer find common ground with the common man.  The affect of always being on call is very similar to what Hal is going through in Green Lantern and what many people who have these types of lives deal with and that’s the inability to detach from the job and not able to function until the next mission comes along like a drug addict waiting for his next fix.
The weight of the universe sits heavy on the two Earth Green Lanterns’ shoulders
 The two Earth men head to Oa where they meet up with Salaak, requesting that the two be assigned other duties and leave Sector 2814 to Hal and Kyle.  Salaak remind them, and us, that Hal is not a Green Lantern anymore and doesn’t mention Kyle as John notices the screen that Salaak was looking at.  Beside the two corpsmen who perished in the sector house, a patrol sent there to confirm the deaths responded to a distress call from Nerro and have gone missing.  Salaak just so happened to be putting together another team to check to investigate, providing Guy and John with the opportunity they needed to get their minds off their situation at home.
One war over, another begun
A team of Lanterns, including Isamot Kol, Brik and Hannu, leave Oa and arrive at Nerros only to discover the the water world is nothing more than a barren rock.  Landing on what would have been the ocean floor the team finds a scene of genocide complete with the skewered remains of the patrol on the final panel.
The Writing –
It’s clear that Pete Tomasi has the voices for all the characters down pat, and we continue to see Guy Gardner and John Stewart evolve.  I was kind of shocked on my first read through to see that he didn’t try once to pick up the female interviewer!  This isn’t the same old Guy Gardner of old and there is a lot going on underneath the ginger haircut.  Clearly both Gardner and John are men who are now fish out of water in their own ocean, strangers in a familiar land.  And Tomasi clearly channeled Denny O’Neil in his scene between John and the construction crew, displaying some of that anger at the “man” who can’t see beyond his pocketbook to do the right thing. 
The villain in this issue is intriguing with just enough shown to whet our appetite.  Despite the similar appearance to Libra’s gauntlet, this must be some new cosmic threat that will likely be revealed in issue two.  While I’m not sure if this issue is new reader friendly or not, I don’t think it would be too hard for someone with a very rudimentary knowledge of Green Lantern lore to jump in with both feet.  What makes it a good entry point is that Tomasi knows how to blend the science fiction elements with a crime drama which makes the story accessible to anyone who’s ever watched a crime show.  The first chapter in this new volume of the Green Lantern Corps title starts and ends with a bang.
The Art –
If this issue has a bang it’s Fernando Pasarin’s art that supplies the sound.  Everything looks gorgeous this issue and the art drives home the brutal nature of the violence, the introspection by Guy and John, and the cosmic wonder of Oa and deep space.  The color work is also spectacular and despite some of the gruesome imagery it all looks beautiful.
What Do I Think?
The Green Lantern Corps comes out of the starting gate immediately establishing itself as a contender for the best title in the family.  From Guy and John’s inability to transition to life back on Earth to the murder mystery and the appearance of a new threat to the universe this issue has it all.   I consider it an equal with the main Green Lantern title and ahead of the debut issue of Red Lanterns.  Four out of five lanterns.

About the author

Life long Green Lantern fan and co-host of the Podcast of Oa. I'm a Barbecue snob and aficionado of blues music. Hal Jordan is my co-pilot!

Related

JOIN THE DISCUSSION