“It was fun, right?”
Tim Seeley’s second arc kicks off in Green Lanterns #35 with the first part of “Oh Bolphunga, Where Art Thou?”, pitting Earth’s newest ring bearers against a classic opponent infamous for his encounter with Mogo. The subplot from last issue centered on a plot on Ungara to discredit the Green Lanterns also picks up a little steam in an issue that has a lot going on but seems to really go nowhere at the same time.
One thing I’m glad to see from Seeley is how he makes some connection back to Bolphunga’s recent appearance in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #23 both through flashback and an appearance by John Stewart. Both moments do more than just serve to explain how Bolphunga made it off of Mogo as Seeley smartly ties the warrior’s time in the sciencells to the introduction of a new threat and Bolphunga’s motivation for this issue’s encounter.
What I didn’t care for was Seeley’s characterization of Bolphunga. While he’s always been a bit of a blowhard Bolphunga was never a pushover and in this issue comes the revelation that Bolphunga is pretty much a complete fraud, creating a reputation for himself through lies and exaggerations. Combined with how over the top Seeley writes the character this appearance does more harm to him than good and to make matters worse the narrative framing the whole issue is paper-thin. Bolphunga, on the run from the mysterious new character Singularity Jain, leaves his sector and travels across space to find help from a Green Lantern, choosing Earth of all places. And how does Bolphunga know who Jessica Cruz is, let alone what cafe she works at?
The battle with Bolphunga consumes most of the issue and in the end the whole thing seems so pointless once you realize it’s all a big put on just to get the Green Lanterns alone long enough for Bolphunga to recount his sad tale and introduce us to his father, Boff, who Bolphunga was to kill in order to satisfy his deal with Singularity Jain. It would have been less of a waste perhaps if the fight had at least felt like there were some stakes involved or had some entertainment value, but in the end it’s all just noise to fill pages.
Simon Baz has very little to do this issue other than show up mid-fight after a booty call with a heroine named Night Pilot, who he finds for a hookup thank to, wait for it, a superhero dating app. Yes, that’s right, there’s a dating app in the DCU just for members of the superhero community who are looking to get their cape on. I’m sure the intent was to be humorous but let’s hope that’s the first and last time we see it.
Baz’s one night stand serve one other purpose and that’s to bring us around to Ungara and Regent Vok who is called to the scene of the murder of one of her officers and implying that he died at the hands of a Molite, the species that Jessica and Simon rescued last issue. I found this part of the issue the most interesting due to the mystery surrounding the motives for setting these event in motion and what the endgame is that the Ungarans have in mind.
Singularity Jain seems like an interesting character, and based on what we see this issue she does have some fascinating abilities. Seeley doesn’t come out and explain anything yet, but the implications are that she can control the way she appears to others, perhaps through adopting the visage of those who fall prey to her. There’s enough there to pique my curiosity about what Seeley has in store with her.
Carlo Barberi serves as the issue’s artist and his work here is serviceable if unremarkable. I’m not sure if the fault lies with him or the colorist, but the lack of detail with Simon’s costume did disservice to him this issue. Simon’s costume has always been a mixed bag and without some of the green highlights it looks pretty dull. The fight scenes which make up most of the issue’s content doesn’t really look all that interesting despite the chaotic imagery that Barberi puts on the page, with Simon and Jessica spending more time avoiding a fight than ending it as quickly as they should have been able to.
Green Lanterns #35 suffers from trying to do too much and in the end doing very little. The introduction of a new antagonist has some potential as does the slight progression of the Ungaran plot, but all in all the issue is like Tim Seeley’s depiction of Bolphunga, all thunder and noise and no substance. Five out of ten lanterns.