“Get a job that pays for your rent”
Green Lanterns #33 is the first entry in Tim Seeley’s run on the series and readers are interested in seeing if Seeley will make a lot of changes or whether he’ll stick close to the formula that Sam Humphries established before he left to take over the Nightwing series. While certainly any new writer wants to put their own stamp on the books they are working on there’s an art in making that transition palatable to the existing readership. That said, Seeley’s first issue takes a step forward with Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz while still remaining true to the series’ ongoing tone.
The inherent problems with the lead characters is that they are both defined by their situations and if the writer moves the characters passed that then what attracted readers to the characters may be gone and the characters are left with no growth to be had. You could say that Kyle Rayner has suffered in that regard – once he was no longer the torchbearer and living up to the legacy of the Green Lantern Corps DC has struggle to find the hook to keep him a relevant character. In this issue we see that Jessica has made tremendous strides with living with her anxiety and you can kind of see the same thing potentially happening to her. If she’s able so easily deal with what makes her unique then what separates her from any other Green Lantern – particular those who have a deeper, and frankly more interesting character?
Seeley juxtaposes Simon and Jessica’s Green Lantern life with trying to function on Earth with the burden of the responsibility they carry. It seems every Green Lantern has faced the challenge of how to have a “normal” life and still be a galactic peace officer. Let’s face it, how often could anyone stably handle a job when you are getting called at all hours to protect your space sector? It’s old ground for long time readers who’ve seen it all before, but for those jumping into Green Lantern lore with Rebirth it’s likely new territory for them. Falling into the first category I can’t say that I find it terribly interesting. Sure Simon’s legal troubles and Jessica’s mental health add a slightly different take to things but at the end of the day it doesn’t do anything for me.
What I did appreciate was how the sequence mirrored their mission to rescue the Molites. In space the two Green Lanterns are highly respected and have a lot of power in dealing with others while back on Terra Firma both seem powerless in their situation and lack the credentials to be taken seriously.
Speaking of the Molites, Seeley uses their situation to introduce some new characters in the form of two Ungarans, Regent Vok and her daughter Liseth. Seeley reminds us that Ungara was the home of Abin Sur which is a nice reminder to those newer to the mythology. Seeley seems to be planting some seeds for future issues with their appearance here and seeing the solicitations for upcoming issues it does appear that Ungara may very well play an important role down the road. Seeley is getting the Green Lanterns out on their beat more which is at the end of the day a good thing so long as he doesn’t keep the cast too far removed from what supporting cast they have. One thing I had hoped for was that Seeley would ditch the ridiculous dialogue from Jessica’s ring but alas we get to see her ring say things like “duh” this issue.
The mission to Mol is where we see some changes from Seeley to the titular characters. Jessica is far more in control and confident than what we’ve seen in the past, and where she struggle to make any sort of traditional ring construct she seems to be acting like an old pro – creating everything from a giant Wonder Woman to a big spider to oversized Buddhas. She’s also jumping headfirst into lava streams with no thought to her safety and then ribbing Simon when he questions her confidence. This is a big change for Jessica and I do have to wonder if Seeley is moving her along too fast here.
Eduardo Pansica continues to provide a steady presence in terms of the art for the Green Lanterns series. Artistically the book looks good although the coloring style isn’t one I’m particularly a fan of. Once glaring flub in the book occurs in the placement of a lettering balloon which attributes Simon Baz’s dialog to the person interviewing him for a job. The mistake resulted in me having to re-read the panel a couple of times to realize that someone goofed up and it broke my engagement with the story. But otherwise a solid effort from the art team.
Green Lanterns #33 is an okay start to Tim Seeley’s run but I’m left feeling like he tried to do too much too fast both narratively and in terms of character progression. By shifting back and forth between space and Earth so often I felt like I didn’t connect with any one part of the story Seeley is telling, and Jessica seems far too confident at this stage of her career considering the challenges she faces. While the art’s a plus I can’t say that the issue had much entertainment value. Six out of ten Lanterns.