Written by Peter Tomasi
Illustrated by Fernando Pasarin
When deadly conflicts emerge across the universe, it’s up to Guy Gardner, John Stewart and an elite Green Lantern strike force to keep the peace — or else.
As noted everywhere, the Green Lantern books, although getting some creative team shuffling and two new titles (and losing one old one), aren’t changing all that much. So, that being said, does this book pick up exactly where we were pre-Flashpoint, or does it offer a new place for the eight people who loved the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern film to jump on?
Find out after the cut.
Correctly or not, I had always broken down the difference between the flagship Green Lantern comic and Green Lantern Corps as such: GL was about one Lantern and his adventures in his sector; GLC was about huge stories featuring lots of Lanterns in faraway sectors. So it was a surprise in this issue to find much of the action take place on Earth.
Specifically, we see Guy Gardner and John Stewart trying to create a life away from the Corps, with Guy as a football coach and John as an architect. One interesting thread picked up here is to having the two un-masked Lanterns dealing with the choice to not be masked, albeit years after making that decision. Both men are essentially out of the superhero closet and each has to deal with their own limitations in the real world in light of their day jobs: Guy wants people to believe he’s reliable, but the ring makes him always a candidate to go AWOL, and John wants to hold people in business to a higher standard, one more in line with a Lantern’s moral code instead of an investor’s.
There is some fertile ground to cover here, and I’m conflicted if essentially resolving that conflict with “Oh well, we’re Lanterns, let’s go Lantern around” is the best way to go. Granted, I don’t want to see Guy going on job interview after job interview, or John arguing with every contractor in the United States, but I think often times we don’t see how being a hero affects the day to day of being a human being. That said, this isn’t the book for that — this is the book for space battles and alien races, not how to date someone without them being shoved in a refrigerator.
This is an odd issue in both its content and its place in the grand relaunch of the “New 52.” The Green Lantern part of the DCU remains just about the same, so re-starting this book from #1 is more for synchronicity’s sake than for anything else. Back in the fold is Peter Tomasi, late of Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors and a veteran of Green Lantern Corps. Tomasi gets Gardner’s voice especially well, which is especially important for this issue in its attempt to act as a new beginning for a book that isn’t really starting over. Even though the plot may be a little forced, the dialogue and characterizations are spot on.
I don’t know if this compliment should fall on the side of the artist’s or the writer’s, but I have found that since the re-launch, the one aspect of the Green Lantern books that has changed is improved ring constructs. One of the criticisms I hear often about the Lantern books is “If they can create anything they can think of, why is it always a gun, a tank or a boxing glove?” Here, we see Guy doing little tricks during his job interview, and we can see every small detail of John’s building designs. It stands to reason that if you are always wearing the ring, it becomes part of your everyday existence, so it is nice to see that addressed here.
Fernando Pasarin’s art is what kept drawing me to Emerald Warriors, even when the story seemed lacking to me. His space is my favorite space of any artist working right now; he captures both the grandeur and remoteness of a job flying through solar systems. His violence is also something that deserves comment — any violent scene he draws tends to have actual stakes. The punches seem painful, the reactions seemed shocked, unlike so many other artists who draw superheroes beating the tar our of each other with ho-hum expressions. The opening scene of this book is suspenseful and engaging in Pasarin’s hands; in another’s, it may have just been boring.Continued below
The elephant in the room is the awful title of this issue: “Triumph of the Will.” For those not paying attention Junior Year of High School, Triumph of the Will is a Leni Riefenstahl documentary/propaganda film commissioned by Adolf Hitler to show German supremacy. It was groundbreaking in technique (George Lucas stole the last scene in A New Hope almost shot for shot from Triumph of the Will), but it is forever linked with Nazism. How in their right minds could Tomasi, editor Brian Cunningham and the top brass at DC allow a comic to come out with a first issue titled “Triumph of the Will?” I know that GLs draw on their willpower, but c’mon — this is the equivalent of giving a new moustache to Deadshot to replace his lamented lost one, but instead of a stylish new look, he shaves it all except the spot right under his nose. Sure, others have worn the “Hitler ‘stache'” (most recently seen being rocked by Michael Jordon for God knows why), but that style is forever now a Nazi thing.
It is either a total dismissal of world history or a glaring oversight that this title remains intact. Either way, this is unacceptable and is a real misstep on the path to picking up new readers. To be fair, so is the unusual story told within this issue. I have high hopes for this creative team on this book, but this first issue is a bit of a mess.
Final Verdict: 6.1 – Browse