They say every comic book can be someones first. They are typically never named but let me say to that anonymous collective out there that they are probably right, and it is because of sayings like this that issues like Green Lanterns #4 make for a highly problematic read. Well, at least for the veteran reader. Let’s just proceed with the review and look around for spoilers beyond this point, shall we? We shall.
Ignore my preamble for just a moment please, because I have to start this review by discussing art. Last issue was a mess of a collaboration of artists and did an outstanding job of taking me out of the story. That is not the case here, despite three different artists and six, yes six, inkers all working hard to crank out another issue on time. Well, I’m reading it so the job was done and done much better than the issue prior. That bit, I have to reiterate. It’s disappointing that the originally announced team of Robson Rocha and Ardian Syaf have not been rotating consistently. As discussed on The Green Lantern Corps Podcast (cheap plug!), Ardian is not the fastest artist and unfortunately its his name that is missing from these last two issues. Who knows that happened to his role in the series but seeing artists Ed Benes and Tom Derenick (who stepped up to the plate last issue as well) fill in in the nick of time provides this issue with much needed consistency.
Ed Benes is not nearly as detailed as Robson Rocha (who oddly is credited inside the issue but not on the front cover) but has a similar enough style base that it does not stray from the overall look of the series. That’s important because we’re only at issue four. We haven’t even hit the end of our first arc and we have art issues. Its important to maintain quality at the start of your series if it plans to be good throughout a long run, which ideally Sam Humphries and the DC Comics staff want just as much as we do. So, thanks to Ed Benes and his mimicking abilities. Thanks to the the inkers who go overlooked every week (Rob Hunter, Mark Irwin, Vicente Cifuentes, Jay Leisten, Tom Palmer and Marc Deering) for their hard work. Without you, we wouldn’t have that awesome page of Simon and Jessica falling down the Hell Tower covered in the blood napalm vortex. That being said, I very much so wish Robson Rocha a speedy return to solo duty as lead artist.
Now lets turn our attention back to new readers. Most of the time, if its not a first issue, they typically don’t get named and that’s a shame. If this is someones first issue, then they should be quite pleased. Hell, I’m quite pleased and I’m a good two decades into my comic reading career. Humphries does a good job of reiterating who these characters are without spitting out the same words over and over again, even though Jessica and Simon both seem to be stuck thinking about the same things over and over again. They are both very concerned about being Green Lanterns. They are both very concerned with their family, and their interactions here make for some great insight for us who have been reading since the Rebirth issue and the same for those who will stumble upon this issue by chance or recommendation. Aside from our brief intermission pages where the displaced Guardian plays around at Sira’s home, I thought this issue was solid. The fight between Simon and Jessica was long overdue and apparently not over as Atrocitus takes his ques from Joker via The Dark Knight and wants to see them kill each other. Unfortunately, that’s all we get from the Red Lanterns. Atrocitus and company only show up on the final page and its just to inform us what we already know, that these Green Lanterns aren’t really suitable to be a threat to him. Points to the creative for providing an interesting issue of Simon vs Jessica, but points off for only leaving your villain with a page full of trash talk. I don’t know how much we’ll see of Sira, Nazir and Farid going forward but it will surely be interesting to see a Green Lantern series with fleshed out supporting characters that aren’t superheroes. Good luck with that Sam Humphries, the pressure is on.
Green Lanterns #4 earns a 3/5