Comic Review: Green Lantern #21
Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciller: Billy Tan
Inker: Richard Friend
Colourists: Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Previously, in Green Lantern: The threat of Volthoom, the First Lantern, caused every Lantern Corps to arrive on the Oa in order to combat him. Even the combined might of Atrocitus and his Red Lanterns, Kyle Rayner and the New Guardians, and the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps didn’t seem like it would be enough to stop him, as Volthoom methodically took them apart and stood poised to change reality to his own liking. But there was something he hadn’t counted on.
Hal Jordan returned from the dead, with a Black Lantern Corps of his own at his command, as well as their one-time leader Nekron on a leash. Nekron’s power was strong enough to kill Volthoom once and for all, and Hal was restored to life. In the aftermath however, Sinestro escaped judgment after murdering all of the Guardians of the Universe for their crimes. Now the Green Lantern Corps must recover from the losses of not just multiple recruits, but also their leaders.
It’s only been two weeks since issue 20 and the Green Lantern universe altered hugely, losing all of the current creative teams and getting some big status quo shifts too, and yet here we are with issue #21, starting almost afresh and welcoming new writer Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan to the series. Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke have left some big shoes to fill, so how did their first issue turn out?
Well, it was okay. This is a very quiet issue in terms of plot development, as Venditti takes his time putting the spotlight on most of our cast, showing us their new roles in the workings of the Green Lantern Corps in the wake of the death of the Guardians. For some people, these roles seem like an odd fit, like having Kilowog take up Salaak’s job as chief administrator (or whatever Salaak’s title was – general dogsbody and Guardian doormat?) whereas others seem to fit a bit better, such as Hal being chosen to lead the Guardians, even if he doesn’t think this is a good idea.
There’s also a few pages dedicated to re-examining Hal and Carol’s relationship, which whilst first seeming to retread old plotlines seems to be doing something a little different this time around. This section, and some of the earlier pages, seems to suffer the most from clunky dialogue, but most of Venditti’s efforts in this issue seem to impose a specific voice to the characters, and it’s definitely not a bad starting point for him to build on.
The fun comes from a flash-forward that shows us some dire straits for the GLC, and the appearance of Larfleeze in the later few pages. Larfleeze’s motivations aren’t exactly well defined as yet, since he just appears and seems to want everything; though to be fair, that’s his usual modus operandi, but I’m hoping Venditti gives him a bit more to it than this, otherwise he risks reducing him to a one-note villain which he is anything but. There’s also a tiny appearance from Relic, the newest villain to plague the Lantern books, and an interesting cliffhanger that all ties back into the first few pages, so there’s plenty of intrigue and mysteries to solve already; Venditti hits the ground running in this respect. There’s also a page at the back of the issue which teases the next few months worth of stories, which has one or two surprises that I won’t reveal here.
The artwork from Billy Tan is excellent, having come on leaps and bounds over the last few years. His work is now almost Jim Lee-esque, with the same attention to detail and way of capturing characters. The two or three splash pages are beautiful work, especially the Larfleeze entrance page which depicts the entire Orange Lantern Corps. The colourist team of Avina and Sinclair have their work cut out for them and probably broke all their green colouring pencils this issue, but there’s every sign that they, as well as Tan and inker Richard Friend will be turning out great pages month after month.
This issue is a solid start to Venditti’s tenure as writer, and whilst it probably won’t set anyone’s world on fire, it lays a sturdy foundation for things to come. There are some teething problems, but this is to be expected, and there’s no reason to believe that this title won’t soon be at the top of everyone’s reading list as it has been for the past 9 years.
GO Rating: 3/5