Posted on
Most of Peter Tomasi’s Green Lantern Corps run focused on Guy Gardner who was, after all, the writer’s favorite character and the one who’s voice Tomasi found the easiest to channel.  While John Stewart had a few moments in the sun now is definitely his time as evidenced by this weeks Green Lantern Corps #21, written by Van Jensen and co-plotted by Robert Venditti with art by Bernard Chang.  A number of fans have for some time thought that the four Earth Lanterns each deserved their own book and as the franchise plunges into a new era it seems that DC has chosen to do just that….and it’s a very, very good thing.

While this issue comes out one week after Green Lantern #21 the issue features events which transpire prior to that issue and for some readers it may be a little jarring, however it does serve to provide more background information about Salaak’s decision to step down as the Corps’ Protocol Officer.  It’s clear to the reader that the actions of the Guardians have done great damage to the reputation of the Corps and there are plenty of factions in the universe who see this as their time to assert themselves in a universe that is on the edge of anarchy.  In the middle of it all are Green Lanterns struggling to rebuild a once noble and respected force for peace and new recruits who want nothing to do with what the masses now consider a corrupt and unjust group of monsters.

Perhaps addressing fans directly, Venditti and Jensen get their point across that John is here to stay.
Jensen and Venditti have a clear direction that is familiar to long time fans but doesn’t feel confined by what has come before.  While Tomasi’s run might have been characterized as being action montages interwoven with character moments Jensen’s script for this issue is all heart.  The blossoming romance between John Stewart and Yrra may have been consummated on Mogo but from an emotional standpoint there are still a lot of issues to be worked out, especially for John, who struggles to find a way to navigate between the complicated history they have and his feelings for his former adversary.  While the story is being told on a galactic canvas the underpinnings of this plot is very down to Earth and it serves to soften the edges of John’s personality.
While John and Yrra deal with a planetary crisis far out in space there’s plenty of activity on Oa where the Templar Guardians attempt to console a guilt ridden Salaak to no avail.  The Templar Guardians’ inability to understand the Green Lantern’s state of mind leads to their decision to go out and explore the universe and here the events dovetail nicely with Green Lantern #21 when they hand leadership over to Hal Jordan.  Salaak’s emotions are further tested when his fellow Corpsmen hold him accountable for the actions of the Guardians and it’s then that Soranik Natu inserts herself into a confrontation.  The two find common ground in their feelings of guilt and helplessness but the arrival of Larfleeze interrupts their reverie.
Salaak’s feelings of guilt are pushed further by his fellow Corpsmen
Expanding on Hal Jordan’s decision to send the rings out into the universe to find new bearers this issue introduces four new characters who each react to their sudden abduction in different ways.  While there’s not  a lot of time to develop Jruk, Ergann, Feska or Maro, Jensen does a great job of giving us enough of a glimpse to establish who they are despite the brevity of their appearance and it will be interesting to see how they all develop…..that is if they all survive the arrival of Relic.
Bernard Chang’s art looks great, giving the book the right artistic vibe and playing up the science fiction elements of the Green Lantern universe.  The four new characters all have a unique look and they don’t appear to be just a set of cookie cutter alien creatures.  I’m really looking forward to seeing him continue to unleash his creativity as this new run unfolds and we encounter more and more new races.
Maro joins the ranks, but does he want to?
While John and Yrra investigate the planetary crisis they encounter what will turn out to be a greater threat in upcoming issues.  The Durlans are back and they clearly have an ax to grind with the Green Lanterns.  Their ability to shape-shift will allow them to remain hidden in the background until the time is right for them to strike.  The nature of their grievances with the Guardians and the Corps remains a mystery for now but I’m sure it’s only the beginning as the news of the death of the Guardians continues to spread across the universe.
Venditti, Van Jensen and Chang are off to a great start with their first issue which has a little bit of everything to offer.  The balance of treating the past with reverence while still striking off in their own direction is evident and I continue to have a great feeling about the future of the Green Lantern universe in the hands of the new creative teams.  Striking a great balance between moving our established cast into a post Johns reality and introducing new elements, Green Lantern Corps #21 is a great freshman issue and earns four out of five lanterns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.