The “Polarity” arc reaches its conclusion in this week’s Green Lanterns #21 although it’s not really as much a conclusion as a “to be continued somewhere down the road” ending which may leave readers unsatisfied. At the end of the day the arc serves to do little more than reintroduce Dr. Polaris into the DCU while giving Simon Baz some food for thought.
Sam Humphries’ strength is in writing character and this whole arc has been a character study of Neal Emerson as he psychologically battles against his id driven Dr. Polaris persona. While this part of the story has been pretty good it’s a little overkill for my personal tastes. Three issues in to what is essentially an origin tale would be fine with a character like Sinestro, but Emerson is no Sinestro. Polaris’ turn would have been just as effectively told in one issue and maybe we could have gotten a more complete story out of the arc.
Humphries finally give Simon Baz his due and we see how he struggles with his own experiences with Nazir’s coma as he tries to bring forth another miracle by saving Seth. There are a couple of things that separate Baz’s revival of Nazir from this, however, and despite all his best intentions Baz discovers he can’t summon a miracle on demand. Bringing someone out of a coma that Simon has a deep emotional connection with is in the end far different from bringing someone you barely know back from a dead state. Baz’s failure hits him hard and it was good character development during the denouement to see him reflect on it and the support he gets from Jessica Cruz.
Something that really bugged me about this issue, besides seeing a power ring say “Ready to rock”, was the lack of continuity between this issue and the last. Last issue we saw John Stewart tell Isamot Kol and Vath Sarn to go back to Earth and escort the Green Lanterns and Rami back to Mogo. However Humphries has John appear at the end of the issue and pull the Lanterns from Earth by force with not a single mention of Rami. Does Humphries even pay attention to his own scripts?
Robson Rocha is back and his pencil work looks great throughout the entire book. He does a fantastic job conveying emotion which matches well with the melodrama that Humphries’ story calls for. The scene where Simon tries to revive Seth is very strong as is the moment when Simon and Jessica charge their rings and the rescue of the Justice League Watchtower. The coloring was a bit too muted in my opinion and I don’t think the color work was as a whole on par with the quality of the pencil work.
Green Lanterns #21 doesn’t serve as a strong finish to the “Polarity” story arc which may leave readers underwhelmed. Despite good character work the narrative seems incomplete and rushes to the next story headlong, contradicting a subplot started in the last issue. Robson Rocha’s looks great but the art alone isn’t enough to save the issue. Six out of ten lanterns.