The time has finally come for evil to reign over the DC Universe. Now while many readers will recognize most of the villains that will have their own one shot for the second anniversary of the New 52. However most of these villains are not “new” by any means, BUT Green Lantern readers have been introduced to a brand new character known only as Relic. Needless to say that Relic has captured many readers imagination and the anticipation has been building for the particular one shot. Now does the book give us any details on what Relics’ universe was like? Does Robert Venditti give more depth to Relic as a character more so than we have seen over the past several months? Well let’s open page one and find out shall we?
Well if any comic this year defines the term info dump with minimal characterization, then Green Lantern #23.1 commits this comic book sin. We open up this issue with what appears to have half of a page missing, and it seems that it was done on purpose, but the positioning of this unknown character’s arm gives the feeling of double page spread that was nixed at the last second. We are treated to a familiar scene of wielders of the emotional spectrum warriors warring with each other, Rags Morales does a great job of emulating Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke with his own twist in the clash of the emotional spectrum. The designs for the Lightsmiths are interesting, and they evoke a true alieness that the Lanterns of the regular DC Universe. Maybe it’s because it doesn’t look like earth (if there is and earth) factors in old universe.
Following a quick intro of this version of the emotional spectrum, we are teased with a bit of their history and how society worked. Venditti plays with the less is more approach and it works really well. The reader is given enough information to stay interested, but the reader isn’t overloaded with information that will end up being useless come next month. Rags Morales along with colorist Andrew Dalhouse deliver a beautiful single page spread of what life was like in this universe.
We finally get to the meat of our story and our main focus of the issue, as Relic takes center stage. With the past several issues of New Guardians we have learned that Relic might have been a scientist in the universe he originated from and it is confirmed here. Relic is first shown as pleading towards the Lightsmiths that the power they wield wasn’t simply a distillation of emotion into energy but rather the energy being used is the essence of life itself, and if it all depleted what would happen then? While long time Green Lantern readers know that the Corps is powered by the Will of the universe itself, it would seem that the thought of it being depleted hasn’t crossed most readers minds and it sets up Relics reasons for what he has been doing in New Guardians for the past several months.
With eerie similarities to today’s current political stance on climate control, with the Lightsmith’s representing our boys in red and Relic our boys in blue. Relic is asked to provide “proof” and in turn the reader is treated to wonderful pages by Morales giving us more insight into this unknown universe. It’s a real shame that it seems we won’t be able to explore more of this world, this isn’t a slight against the book, just something this reviewer would like to see more off down the road.
We wrap our issue with Relic’s universe dying, and Relic feeling the loss of his universe and and his transfer to our universe leading into Lights out this year.
This issue was really a disappointment when it came to the characterization of Relic. The reader doesn’t learn anything new about Relic or what he was like before everything went to hell and hand basket. It was nice seeing the emotional spectrum in a different point of view, but it all just a tease that sadly won’t amount to anything in the long run. While Rags Morales does excellent work and hopefully he’ll draw more Green Lantern down the road, it was a bit of a letdown that all his pages were single page movie posters. While they are amazing to look at, they really don’t offer much to the overall story telling that a book with panels would. If you haven’t been reading New Guardians and want to know more about Relic without reading New Guardians, this isn’t a bad issue to read.
Green Lantern #23.1 receives a 3/5