Green Lanterns #2 Review

"Insufficient willpower"

We are into the second month of DC Comics' Rebirth initiative and to start the month off is Green Lanterns #2 wherein we learn a little bit more about Atrocitus' plan for Earth, the "Red Dawn" in which the Earth is targeted as the new home base for the Red Lanterns.  Writer Sam Humphries doesn't provide a great deal of information up front as to why Red Dawn will save Atrocitus and his followers, but the opening sequence, aided greatly by Robson Rocha's art, does a nice job of portraying the nature of the threat.  As Humphries' first story arc unfolds we'll hopefully find out more about why the Red Lanterns are dying and why Ysmault is no longer a suitable base of operations.

While Humphries' work on the lead characters doesn't thrill me, I do like his take on Atrocitus
Of course this plot should sound familiar to readers who've been around for the past couple of years.  It wasn't so long ago that Earth faced a similar "Rage Plague" in the pages of the Red Lanterns series (issues #38-40 to be exact).  Simon Baz was Earth's Green Lantern then as well, and since he's supposedly only had his ring for a month or so this must have just happened so it should strike a familiar cord with him as well.  Like that story this one also relies on the reader ignoring the fact that there's a whole superhero community on Earth who would find it rather difficult to overlook a whole bunch of the population suddenly raging out.  I turned a blind eye to this particular part of the plot before and will do so again, however the similarity between the two stories takes some of the punch out of Humphries' premise for the first arc of the series.

This issue is fast paced with the bulk of the issue spent moving from one action sequence to another with a bit of character work sandwiched in between.  Unfortunately the issue is bogged down by way too much time devoted to inner monologues which not only undermine the pace of the action, but are written too clunky for my taste.  There's way too much exposition here and I don't need to be constantly hit over the head with Jessica's anxiety disorders and self doubt.  On the positive side the flashback showing Jessica and Sara provided more on their relationship which reinforced Jessica's desperation to save Sara, however it comes with some very corny dialogue.

Um, yeah, totally "bro"
Simon Baz is another story all together.  Humphries continues to do a disservice to Simon, who is written tragically out of character when you look at how he's been written in the past.  Baz is admittedly one of my least favorite characters but I nonetheless take exception to the cliched approach Humphries uses with him.  While I've gone on record with how much I disagree with DC's direction I don't like seeing Simon relegated to the role of pompous jerk just to make readers rally behind Jessica.  It's a cheap amateur tactic as far as I'm concerned and it is a major turn off for me as a reader.  

Robson Rocha's art on the other hand is one of the few things I can say I like about this series so far.  His Atrocitus looks properly menacing and the design work on some of the new Red Lanterns is inspired.  I also liked the page of Jessica's recounting of her history that created a checkerboard pattern on the page between panels which had a more muted color palette and a sketchier visual approach.  Kudos to Rocha, inker Jay Leisten and Blond on his color work there.   In contract there's something about the facial work on Jessica and Sara during the flashback that looks off; I can't quite put my finger on it but their faces seem unnaturally elongated to me.

In the end I find Green Lanterns #2 as much of a test of my willpower to get through as making a construct is for Jessica Cruz.  The issue is weighed down by poorly written superfluous inner monologues and cliched characterizations of the lead characters.  Two out of five lanterns.



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About Myron Rumsey

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!

2 comments:

  1. You say "too much focus on her anxiety" in the narration.

    I say this character speaks to me BECAUSE that's actually how anxiety disorders feel, and I'm looking forward to seeing her gradually overcome that because it can't happen overnight, because it doesn't ever happen overnight, but it will be nice to see someone like me getting better and recovering.

    Other than some of Simon's dialogue I'm not sure what you found "corny" compared to the average comic, and I can't speak to Simon's characterization since this is the first series I've delved into with him (though I do think issue three fleshes him out and makes him more likable) but I really don't feel the narration was bad or out of place in this? It's a slow-paced book compared to most other plot-driven stories, but I LIKE the focus on the characters. I am surprised and disappointed to see a GL fansite so ready to dismiss something - or rather, a character depiction - that I really honestly identified with pretty strongly; to each their own I guess, but it seems like I won't be able to follow your reviews for other stuff since you're so very against this series compared to me. :\ That's saddening a little since I was excited to find this site; despite the fact that GL books seem to sell well, it often feels like fandom online is almost nonexistent. Oh well.

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    1. Don't let BOA define Lantern fandom for you. Head over to Place to Be Nation Comics on Facebook, there are several diehard GL fans over there who are enjoying BOTH series right now. And as you mentioned, the fact that Jessica is written the way she is happens to be one of the main reasons we're enjoying it.

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