“Swipe me, you bad boy”
This week’s Green Lanterns #40 kicks of Tim Seeley’s next arc on the title as he returns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz back to Earth where the two get to interact more with some of Earth’s superhero community. Unfortunately for the superheroes there is a new threat out there preying on one of the most basic human needs, companionship.
Part one of “Superhuman Trafficking” is a booty callback to issue 35 when Simon hooked up with a character called Night Pilot and Seeley reveals that Simon has resorted to a superhero version of Tinder in order to find the romantic companionship that seems to elude him in his civilian life. At the time I felt the app was a silly idea and this issue doesn’t do anything to change my mind but at least it manages to provide the catalyst for a couple of lighter moments this issue. I was glad to see Simon and Jessica back on Earth because I think that’s an environment that best suits the characters. For their fans it seems that the personality and character of the two new ring bearers is what they like most and when the writer doesn’t have to do the heavy lifting of establishing aliens and their worlds it affords the opportunity to focus more on the characters themselves.
While helping to deal with yet another natural disaster Simon and Jessica find themselves in the midst of other DC heroes that have stepped up to lend a hand. Seeley incorporates a number of heroes who haven’t really been shown since the Rebirth initiative kicked off so it I enjoyed seeing the superhero community being utilized more. This creates the opportunity for Simon to interact with the Bulleteer who inquires about Night Pilot, who we know has been forced into slave labor somewhere out in the deep space. The trail leads Simon and Jessica to the Justice League Watchtower and then on the development team behind Caper where the duo encounter Scrapps, last seen as a part of the Omega Men mini series.
This issue is very light and where the story seems to fall a little flat is in the lack of any real tension. There’s no real sense of urgency and the story just kind of plods along. Cyborg’s presence only serves to shift the plot and I found it a little strange that someone with Cyborg’s abilities not only didn’t know about Caper, but he wasn’t able to find any connection between the disappearances. Seeley hints of a romantic connection between Simon and Jessica which I hope is only brought up here for the humor or the fact that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. I think Simon and Jessica are best left as friends in my opinion although I’m certain there are a number of fans out there who would love to see the two become a couple.
Barnaby Bagenda provides the illustrations for this issue and I had to wonder if this was either a coincidence or if he suggested using Scrapps to Seeley given Bagenda’s involvement with the Omega Men series by Tom King. I liked that Bagenda threw in a visual easter eggs showing Kyle Rayner which reminded me that at the time the miniseries was published King had mentioned that his story was have some repercussions for Kyle. Perhaps that was all put to the wayside with Rebirth but if not then maybe Scrapps’ appearance is the start of something larger.
I didn’t particularly enjoy Bagenda’s art on Omega Men and I found myself feeling the same about his work on this issue as well. Sometimes the art just lacks detail or the characters look stiff. In this issue there are panels where characters lack facial features altogether which implies to me that the art is being rushed or that the artist feels those elements aren’t important enough to put the effort into making them look natural. It’s a distraction which doesn’t stand out too much in a print edition, but digitally when you’re using the Guided View feature the panel ends up looking stark and unfinished.
Green Lanterns #40 is an okay issue but lacks the punch to get the reader invested in the story. Heroes have been kidnapped and forced into labor which is certainly wrong, but without any threat of imminent danger there is no sense of urgency or reason to get invested in the story. Coupled with the so-so art and this one is just kind of there. Six out of ten lanterns.