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“Your small existence is not worth my notice”

Simply put, this week’s Green Lanterns #5 is one twenty page long action sequence that serves entirely to promote the notion that neither Simon Baz or Jessica Cruz can make it on their own as a Green Lantern.  Other than nudging the overall plot ever so slightly there is literally nothing that happens this issue.  You literally could skip this issue and jump to the next only needing to know that the Red Dawn is still coming and you’d be good to go.

Underneath the action sequence is the continued mechanism of inner monologue to delve into the thoughts of Simon and Jessica.  Here it’s done to excess as 53 out of the 76 panels feature nothing but thought boxes with only 23 have any dialog on them – and I’m counting a panel with a character making a pain sound as dialog.  Whether this is a good thing or not hinges entirely on whether you’re emotionally invested in the characters.

There seems to be a panel like this in every issue…

I find it difficult to rally behind characters who continually wish they were doing something else other than what being a Green Lantern is, and six issues in to the series (including the Rebirth issue) I’ve grown weary from being continually reminded of Jessica Cruz’s fear of everything.  The character had so much potential as Power Ring and I feel that at this point that potential has been lost by turning her into a Green Lantern who seems to have forgotten everything she learned while being bonded with Volthoom.

This series has been plagued with continuity issues with the greater Green Lantern universe and what I’d hoped was merely an artist oversight proves to be more this issues.  Zilius Zox and Skallox are not only dead, they are very dead, so to see them be an integral part of this issue underscores something bothersome about the whole series when it comes to how much writer Sam Humphries has bothered to research the universe he’s writing about.  Green Lanterns has been a gateway book of sorts to the franchise and Humphries is portraying an inaccurate picture about how things work.  Not that I think that many of the new readers are going to dive into the greater Green Lantern universe anyways but those who do aren’t getting an accurate foundation to build upon.  Then there’s also the poor showing for the Red Lanterns when four of them can’t take down a rookie like Jessica despite her not having any sort of offense.

When it comes to this particular story it revives the nagging issue I always have with Earth threatening crises contained within in a singular title.  Sure the superhero community is a busy bunch but it’s difficult to excuse the writing when something as large scale as a rampant rage plague and Red Lantern incursion is overlooked by groups like the Justice League.  That Simon Baz thinks that only he and Jessica can do anything about it when Superman exists, and as members of the League they don’t bother to let anyone know, is asking the reader to suspend their belief too far.  Geoff Johns did a great job of managing events like Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night and the stories where magnified in scale by his thoughtful inclusion of them.

If only he’d gotten more experience in fights with people like the New Gods or Volthoom….oh wait!

Ardian Syaf was the solicited artist for this issue but Robson Rocha has come to the rescue again, this time with some help on pencils from Eduardo Panseca.  I sincerely hope that nothing is wrong with Syaf that’s preventing him from contributing to the series and it’s a great credit to Rocha that he’s been able to carry the burden as much as he has.  Ethan Van Sciver will be jumping in to help out for a few of the upcoming issues which begs the question of whether or not someone else will be assigned to the series in place of Syaf.

This issue Rocha and Panseca’s styles work well together although there is a noticeable drop in quality on the pages Panseca provides, particularly with the depiction of Dex-Starr and the Red Lanterns.  There’s still the nagging issue of Simon’s disappearing gun holster but I think that’s a detail that will continue to be problematic so long as creators insist on it’s continued usage.  Blond continues to be consistent throughout the series and I really like how he mutes the colors as a nice visual clue when we see past events intermingled with the present.

Green Lanterns #5 is one action sequence which goes on too long and does nothing to promote the growth of the story.  Nearly a ridiculously high 70% of the panels in this issue feature nothing more than inner monologues of the two main characters, and many of those offer no new insight into our protagonists.   This issue screams filler – four out of ten lanterns.

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