Can you smell it? It’s the start of the most wonderful time of the year!!! Now many reserve that phrase with winter as the decorations of various holidays, flood store departments as cash registers sing with the sound of the American way. For me, I’ve always preferred Fall since it won’t be too hot nor to cold and I can wear shorts and feel the gentle breeze upon my legs. With fall also comes Halloween, which is where we find both Jessica and Simon this time around as they search for this new Guardian. There will spoilers going forward so read your issue before going forward. You have been warned.
Whenever I review a comic I try to find exactly what they wanted to accomplish. Was it meant to push the story forward? Was a character driven issue that made our protagonist more relatable? Or did the writer simply want to pay homage to a classic cartoon that has been adored by millions over decades? Well if you happen to read this issue of Green Lanterns, then the homage to classic Scooby-Doo is hard to miss. I might be completely wrong in my assumption of this homage, but seeing the how the two Dominators who want to steal the Phantom Ring come off as Scooby-Doo villains instead of actual credible threats. Not to mention the dialog between Simon, Jessica, and even the Guardian felt hokey in comparison to previous issues.
That isn’t a complete criticism, since I enjoyed the pacing and the overall levity that Humphries wanted to provide with this comic. While I am fully aware that the Dominators have proven to be a massive threat, even the greatest of alien conquering races have to play the role of jobber every now an then. Honestly if the entire issue was just Simon and Jessica go trick or treating with Simon’s nephew and it allowed the partnership to develop further without some plot of a new ring that is more powerful than previously established rings. Most of this issue didn’t really push that envelope but rather allowed both Jessica and Simon to stay in their bubble a little while longer. I doubt this remains true as this run continues on, but some advancement for both of them would have been nice.
My actual problems of this issue won’t exactly be the same if you’ve only been reading Green Lantern since this current iteration launched. I’ve only been reading the Green Lantern series since 2008 and one of the biggest and most tiring tropes that I’ve seen various writers pull is that a renegade Guardian creates/does something that causes them to go into exile. From a technical standpoint there is nothing wrong with how these scenes play out. Ed Benes’s storytelling is perfectly fine and Humphries dialog while stiff doesn’t confuse the reader. The biggest problem for me as a fan/reviewer is that I’ve seen this exact scene before with various Guardians (not Lanterns, Guardians as well) and after a while it looses it’s luster. I’m sure Humphries has amazing plans for the Phantom Ring but for this issue the worst aspect was the retreaded again and again.
Ed Benes returns as the solo artist for this issue and for the most part it’s business as usual for Benes. The lack of emotion from Jessica’s face is really jarring since her character is completely based on her emotions, and when Benes does decide to show more nuance to her face it’s that of disinterest. Storytelling was fine from Benes, with the exception of one page that shows Simon’s nephew going to get candy for two panels, then the second panel is of the two Dominators hiding in the bush it took me a second to realize that it was the same house as it doesn’t look like it when you look a the page.
Green Lanterns #8 was something of a mixed bag for me, I did enjoy the homage to Scooby Doo (if that was the case) but once the renegade Guardian took priority it made this issue less enjoyable. Not even Simon and Jessica’s dialog could get me over the hump in terms of fully enjoying this issue. Hopefully the Phantom Ring will provide some entertainment for me and you as well.
Green Lanterns #8 earns a 3/5