Book of Doom: Green Lantern Corps #21

I’ve never liked John Stewart. More often than not, he’s just the token black character. He was the token black Green Lantern back when he was introduced and he was the token black character on the Justice League cartoon. His military background never really interested me. He killed Mogo (although I think he/it is back now) and apparently destroyed Fatality’s homeworld, but what Green Lantern hasn’t done some horrible things in the srevice of the Gaurdians? He’s just boring to me. Green Lantern Corps #21 didn’t really do anything to change my opinion of him.

Thankfully, this book is called Green Lantern Corps. John Stewart might be the star, but the supporting cast is a lot more interesting. I’ve always liked Soranik Natu as the Lantern who has to represent Korugar after Sinestro gave her race such a bad name. I liked Salaak as the protocol officer, but I like his new mission to search for the Gaurdians other hidden plots even more. That could be a really interesting subplot that builds up slowly. And I can only hope Kilowog will become a regular member of the cast as well.

I’m not sure about the four new Lantern recruits introduced in this issue. Granted, they’ve only been given a page of introduction each, but some of them seem miscast as Lanterns. Jruk, the gladiator seems like he’d be a better fit as a Red Lantern. Feska, the mother, seems like she might be a better fit as Star Sapphire. Maybe this will play into the story in the future, maybe not. These two characters also seem to have been recruited against their will. The Green Lanterns are supposed to derive their power from the strength of their will…so if they’d rather be at home with a child or battling in an arena, how effective will they be? The only specific example I can think of someone turning down a power ring is when Batman rejected the Sinestro Corps ring, but I guess I always assumed being a GL was a choice. And if it isn’t, then what’s with all the talk of Salaak and Stewart quitting the Corps?

I did really like the artwork in the issue. Bernard Chang has a great classic superhero style. The coloring by Marcelo Maiolo was also really nice, and I have a feeling that the color schemes in the new Lantern introduction may have been very intentional and a hint as to what may come with these characters.

In summary, this issue didn’t amaze me. Sorry, Van. What it did do, though, was set up a lot of story possibilities. Why did Stewart and Fatality’s power rings go wonky? Was this related to the Durlan attack or a complete coincidence? What’s Salaak’s place in the Corps going to be? Will Kilowog take over as protocol officer? How are these new Lanterns going to react to being recruited against their will? And that (coupled with the fact that I don’t have a lot of monthly titles I follow anymore), is enough to bring me back next issue.

Let’s see what Jim Doom has to say:

I’m late adding my thoughts to this based on some unexpected family stuff that came up this weekend, so I apologize for that.

Going into this issue, I can tell you I wouldn’t have bought it if it weren’t for the fact that Van wrote it. I’ve tried in the past to get into the greater Green Lantern universe characters and they’ve just never really held my interest. I’ve been able to stick with Hal Jordan, but that’s it.

I took this issue (along with the rest of last week’s haul) to my usual Wednesday afternoon comics-reading spot (Don & Millie’s, Saddle Creek & Farnam, 99 cent margaritas) and pulled it out of the bag first. I started reading it, sort of stumbled through the opening pages where John Stewart is talking to Fatality, thinking “This is kind of clumsy exposition,” but at the same time, “I need this exposition because I don’t know what’s going on here.” So anyway, those first few pages, I’m thinking “Yeah, I just still don’t really care for these characters.”

But then a funny thing happened. I got to the part on Oa where that guy with all the arms was resigning his position, and I forgot this was a comic written by my friend that I was trying to fairly assess, and I got sucked right in. I was reading these characters I knew (even though I can only remember him as “that guy with all the arms”) and I was reading the development of a universe I’m familiar with and I just completely forgot the Van aspect. And honestly, I can’t think of a reaction that could make me more excited for my friend who wrote this.

One of the things I liked most about the assembly of this new Green Lantern Corps is that these people seemed almost abducted by the Corps. I guess that kind of always happens, but it seemed especially jarring. I think one of the things that worked well about it was the subtlety of the coloring. Based on the reds, the oranges, and so on, I thought we were seeing recruitment of all spectrums. But instead, we’re getting personalities that would’ve maybe worked better as red, orange, blue, whatever lanterns, but because of the relative decimation of the Corps, they’re being chosen as green. I don’t know why, but I find this much more compelling than the new Green Lantern who has shown up over in the main title (which I subsequently dropped after a few issues).

Another thing I really liked about this issue was the little hint where the multi-armed guy was talking about the Guardians’ secret projects around the universe. I am hoping that was alluding to some pursuit and discovery of those projects and that got me pretty excited too.

This review is unfortunately vague because I don’t have the issue beside me, but I came away from it wanting to read the next issue and being happy for my friend who wrote it. And these days, I’m really happy to find a book I want to keep reading that only costs me $2.99.