“It’s hope in the blackest night”
It’s been two months since we’ve had a Green Lantern Corps comic to talk about but with the release of today’s Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion #1 the creative team of Tom Taylor and Ethan Van Sciver reader’s have been given a lot to think about. This six issue series picks up the pieces left behind from Green Lantern: The Lost Army and moves the character an unknown number of months forward in time, and that time hasn’t done the lost lanterns any favors.
The first thing to get out of the way when talking about this series is that while this is clearly a successor to Cullen Bunn’s tale Tom Taylor’s script doesn’t hold tightly onto the continuity from the previous miniseries. There is no explanation about what happened to the characters so profoundly changed in the conclusion to that series, and there’s no trace of Relic or Krona for that matter, either. There’s also a matter of the roster and seeing characters from the previous series showing up here as disconnected from the main group. Is that a problem? Personally I don’t think so considering that this is a first issue of a six issue tale and if how things changed is important then Taylor will undoubtedly fill in the gaps if it’s necessary. That may rankle the feathers of some fans but in the greater scheme of things it really matters little.
The reality is that the previous series didn’t score well in the sales department and if DC is going to right the Green Lantern ship it’s best that this series is new reader friendly and not tied down to story threads which may server to get in the way of the story that Taylor is going to tell. It’s not hard to imagine that Relic and Krona disappeared into the unknown to attend to their own agendas, and it’s also not too hard to think that the aforementioned changes wore off. As for the roster issue I don’t see it as something which creates a great deal of concern.
But to the story that unfolds here, Taylor taps into a timely subject when the Green Lanterns encounter what may be the final remnants of the universe before our own and their super sized protectors. Taylor does a great job of making sure that each of the characters has a voice of their own and that their perspectives are relevant to their personal histories. Kilowog specifically provides an important point of view being a refugee of sorts himself, which makes the conversation among the lanterns have a little more weight. If anything I’d have liked to have seen this dialog go on a bit more; in my mind the relevancy of the subject is great fodder for a more meaningful character exploration than what we got here.
The whole notion of the Last City seems like an homage to the Green Lantern: Mosaic series in a way with groups of beings from around the universe living side by side. Of course there needs to be an antagonist of some sort and in this initial installment we get the shadowy introduction of beings who don’t exactly have the most altruistic agenda. By the end of the issue readers witness the loss of a ring bearer which helps drive home that the lanterns have a harder road ahead than they think.
There is, too, the introduction of two new enigmatic characters in the form of Ausras and Dismas who at least on the surface seem to be on the same page as our heroes. Since the days of Geoff Johns I’ve been fond of looking at the choices for character names, particularly when they may have a deeper meaning. Taylor’s choices here are intriguing if they hold any significance to the ideology of these two giants. Dismas is the biblical name of the “penitent thief” who mocked Jesus and then recognized him as they both died on the cross. Fascinating given the situation Dismas finds himself in during the dying days of the old universe, but equally interesting is the Greek origins the named is based on, a word meaning “sunset” or “death”.
Ausras has no direct history associated to it, but I wonder if it’s an adaptation of Asuras, which could either allude to malevolent demigods in Hindu mythology or their related demigod existence in Buddhism. Maybe it’s neither of those things and Taylor just made them up but it is something that I’ll keep in the back of my mind as the series progresses.
Perhaps that is one of the things I really liked about Taylor’s story after this initial outing. Edge of Oblivion is a Green Lantern Corps story in every sense of the word. The issue was well rounded in terms of the balance of action to character and narrative with some great science fiction elements thrown in the mix to remind us that this franchise really carries the torch for the cosmic part of the DC Universe. There was enough emphasis on the “A list” characters without them crowding out the rest of the cast which may or may not settle well with die-hard Guy Gardner or John Stewart fans looking for a book centering on them, but scores points for those who really want a Corps centric tale.
Visually the return of Ethan Van Sciver to the Green Lantern universe is a welcome one. Ethan’s attention to detail is something I’ve always admired and just seeing his versions of the Corps reminds me of the excitement I felt when he and Geoff Johns brought life back to the franchise over ten years ago. His design work for Ausras and Dismas slants to the creepy side a little bit, largely due to the coloring of their mandibles. Coloring overall was a bit of a concern when I read the digital version, however the print edition looks better leading me to believe that there’s something amiss with the translation to digital. A great looking issue to be sure and personally I hope that this series leads to more monthly work in the future for Van Sciver – and preferably on the main Green Lantern series.
Green Lantern Corps: The Edge of Oblivion #1 gets the series off to a promising start, presenting readers with a jumping on point if they haven’t been following the Corps’ exploits in recent months. The seeming abandonment of some elements left in the wake of The Lost Army may turn off some readers, however. Any Green Lantern story with Ethan Van Sciver’s name on the cover is going to be a visual treat in my opinion, and this issue’s visuals lives up to expectations. Eight out of ten lanterns.