“Hey you no-talent hack!”
“A World of Our Own” comes to a conclusion as Liseth Vok tries her best to convince her fellow Ungarans that they are better off turning their backs on the universe at large and it’s up to Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz to stop her. Writer Tim Seeley is joined by artists Ronan Cliquet in this latest installment of the Green Lanterns series with its thirty-ninth issue.
The best part of this story for me has been the characterization of Podmaster Vob, the Molite leader who has found himself questioning his own sense of nobility in the face of the hostilities projected on his people by the Red Tide. Last issue saw Vob make a humbling admission to Simon Baz and now as he once again finds his people in grave jeopardy we see a changed being facing what appears to be the end with grace and dignity. That the Ungarans show their true colors sets up a dawning of a new day in the relationship between both peoples that was nice to see. Once can almost see Vob rising to an important role on Ungara given time.
Otherwise I really found the conclusion to this story very flat and uninspired. At the end of the day Liseth is portrayed as a very one-dimensional villain whose job is do little more than serve as a narrative catalyst. There’s no insight into her perspective that gives the reader anything in terms of a reason to care about what happens to her. Seeley in recent interviews says that he wants this series to be the “progressive” Green Lantern title whatever that means but I’m not seeing anything particular forward thinking here. A thinly veiled point of view is given without the intellectual debate that would make the reader pause and think about themselves or those who think differently than them. Good science fiction challenges us by posing interesting moral and ethical situations which inspire and motivate us to think about ourselves, the human condition and how we fit in the universe. The various Star Trek television series often spoke of the real world through allegories which left viewers thinking, however Seeley has opted to hit the reader over the head with a singular point of view that does pose a question so much as ram the prescribed answer down their throat. The “win hearts and change minds” line just makes me cringe.
We also have Simon Baz once again displaying a new ability that leaves me weary about how special we’re supposed to expect him to be. First it was healing Nazir, then it was Emerald Sight and now apparently Simon’s healing ability leaves green energy inside the recipient which Simon can withdraw when convenient. Green Lanterns have a given power set and while we’ve seen cases where Lanterns have exceeded the limits of their rings this growing set of specially special powers has become ridiculous. Lost along the way are traits which have once defined our protagonists which come and go whenever the writer finds it advantageous to capitalize it. The issue opens with both Simon and Jessica trapped inside capsules with corpses, yet neither of them has any adverse reactions to that despite Simon’s problems with tight spaces back in issue twenty and Jessica’s issues with just about everything. Continuity seems to be a dirty word these days but I stand by the notion that characters need to be writing with some sort of consistent set of traits regardless of how fast and loose we want to play with the lore.
I was glad to see Ronan Cliquet’s name in the credits for this issue as I’ve grown to really like his visual style. Cliquet’s depiction of Liseth as she morphs is both disturbing and exciting to look at. It does seem a little rushed in some places and there is a lot of unused page space but the artwork is solid nonetheless.
Green Lanterns #39 is a lackluster ending to a story that has a rather shallow plot. Tim Seeley’s attempt to make a social statement comes off heavy-handed, turning what could have been an interesting study of a complex issue into something rather pedestrian. Four out of ten lanterns.