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“I am the acolyte of the spectrum”

With last week’s Green Lanterns #25 sets the stage for the next arc of the series, elevating Volthoom’s arc to the major thrust of the title.  Along the way writer Sam Humprhies takes Simon Baz’s relationship with his brother-in-law and best friend Nazir and pushes it into new territory by using it as the background framework for this chapter’s narrative.

Humphries introduces us to two new characters from his “First Lanterns” concept, in this case a Tamaranean named Tyran’r and a Coluan named Kaja Dox.  While I didn’t find Kaja’s story particularly compelling, Tyran’r’s story is pretty interesting.  The immediate reaction I had when Tyran’r appeared on the page was one of surprise as, like most DC fans, Tamaran immediately conjured images of Starfire.  Tyran’r’s appearance is very reminiscent of the Omega Men’s Tygorr, a member of the feline species from the planet Karna.  That both planets are in the Vega System it’s intriguing to think that some of these races may very well share a common origin and through evolution became the various species we’re read about all these years.  It’s a nice touch of universe building on Humphries’ part, that’s for sure.
Volthoom makes a triumphant return

The journey to the Vault of Shadows leads Volthoom to get his hands on the first major piece of the the puzzle that he needs to return home, and once Volthoom does his best impression of Voldemort he emerges as the colossal threat he should be.  Clearly a superior foe, it doesn’t take long before he has the upper hand against the series’ lead characters.  In a twist that immediately tells us why Tyran’r recognized the Earth Lanterns, the tiny part of the Travel Lantern inside Jessica’s ring conflicts with the ring’s programming, sending Jessica and Simon what will no doubt be in a journey into the past.

The fact that Tyran’r recognizes the two Earth Lanterns despite their never having met before is the source of the issue’s weakest point.  While Jessica and Simon question the whole thing briefly, the two sit and commiserate about how much they miss Earth rather than do the obvious thing of trying to find out more about the Tamaranean.  With both of them wearing power rings it’d be an easy task for one of them to make use of it to query the ring about him.  Sure they might not get an answer but not asking seems pretty stupid to me – and getting a non-answer from their rings should raise some suspicion since Tyran’r is wearing a ring.Framed around the story is Simon Baz’s letter to Nazir and how Simon has done some soul searching about their relationship.  It shows Baz in a good light and it’s an effective way to inject some heart into the story.  That ultimately the letter is being read by Nazir on his birthday and Baz’s absence serves as the final nail in the coffin for Nazir is a poignant moment counterpointed by the immense struggle that Baz is experiencing way across the universe.  Humphries drives home the complexity of being a Green Lantern whose duties frequently prevent them from having any kind of real life without the ring.  This has been tackled by writers before, most notably all the times that Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris have been on the outs, but Humphries does a better job than many of his predecessors in large part to the effort he’s put into fleshing out the dynamics between Simon and his extended family.

Nazir finds himself let down by Simon’s devotion to being a Green Lantern

Robson Rocha’s pencils look great in this issue and there are some panels which really shine in this installment.  Alex Sollazzo does the color work in this issue and I’m not quite sure how I feel about his efforts as a whole.  I really liked how his style gave the flashback on Tamaran look but I didn’t care for how muted it made the present day material look.  One thing I wish that the editor would do is define how Jessica is supposed to look and get the art teams to be consistent.  One issue her hair is black, another it’s brown.  Sometimes her skin is fair and sometimes more olive colored.  If DC really wants this character to have staying power it would be helpful if they could develop consistency with her look.

Green Lanterns #25 is one of the title’s better issues and is a good way to start of the second year of Sam Humphries run.  While there’s still room for improvement both in the narrative sense and artistically, this installment is a solid chapter in the story of Earth’s newest ring bearers.  Seven out of ten lanterns.

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