I’ll be the first one to admit that I’m not too enthusiastic with the direction that this book seems to be going and this is only issue one. This isn’t a case against Simon Baz or Jessica Cruz mind you, but rather a yawn directed at the focus on the tired concept that is the Red Lantern Corps. I’m not throwing in the towel on this series right away but I’m praying to Oa that the true strength of the series relies on both rookie Green Lanterns. It’s ideally a new era for the Green Lantern family of titles, so let’s see how Sam Humphries and Robson Rocha plan to kick it off. Spoilers ahead!
Since 2004 cops and Green Lanterns have become more synonymous with each other, sometimes that distinction disappears complete depending on the writer or the story at hand, but one can’t deny the term space cops means Green Lanterns. Since this series will be on Earth Sam Humphries has basically made both Jessica and Simon act like cops, using similar terminology, the suspect alien in question, even how Amanda Waller tells them how they are off the case. These particular segments felt like something out of a Law and Order episode, just with a dash of alien technology. The Red Lantern segments do supply that sci-fi feeling but with the Atrocitus and Bleez sections taking place on Ysmault, there is a disconnect between the grounded and the sci-fi.
The strength of this issue thankfully is the partnership of both Jessica and Simon. Seeing how both interact with other during the crime scene as well as reading their inner dialog lays out how the current status of their partnership. It’s refreshing to see two brand new characters react to situations that are relatively new to them, it’s such a fresh dynamic and while they could play off each other a bit more organiclly it’s a solid start so far. That being said Jessica Cruz’s characterization was the star for me, and we got a sneak peak in the Rebirth issue. Seeing her vomit at the site of a horrible crime scene, or simply feeling claustrophobic in a supermarket gives her an identity and it allows readers to hook their teeth in her character. Simon Baz on the other hand I feel, just feels a tad forced. I understand the racial profiling of Muslims is a real and terrible part of society but I honestly hope it’s not brought up constantly each issue to remind us that racial profiling is evil.
It limits Simon’s character to only that one aspect of his story and potentially could limit his character going forward. Look at Alan Scott via the New 52 for an example of this type of characterization.
Instead of Ed Benes on pencils, Robson Rocha is the artist for the first issue and for the most part a very solidly drawn issue. Storytelling was precise and I enjoyed how zoomed in the panels were during the initial shootout with the random alien,giving the sense a bit of extra bit of tension that severely needed to be there. The only problem I had with Rocha’s art was his exaggerated facial expressions and it just pulls me out of the scene when I’m looking at Cruz or Baz react to something on the page. For Atrocitus, it works because those are not human beings, that form of expression works in that case. Definitely than a better drawn issue than Benes, but still needs more work.
Despite my dislike that the Red Lanterns will be the primary focus of the series initially, my hopes that Simon and Jessica dynamic will carry the book going forward has been ignited. A very promising start for a new series featuring new characters.
Green Lanterns #1 earns a 4/5