Green Lantern in good hands with Venditti
My first ever comic book review! So this will probably be a bit short, and not a very exhaustive one. Anyway, I'll give it my best shot...
I'm going to give Green Lantern #21 4 out of a possible 5 stars. Specifically, I give Robert Venditti and his writing in this issue a solid 4/5. Very good job just diving into the action, not letting his debut be weighed down by the conclusion to Johns' run. Many writers might have felt the need to pay service to Johns' epic conclusion last issue, but Venditti does a nice job moving the story forward and not getting stuck in the leftover details that might still be rattling in our brains from last issue (is the future Johns put forward really going to happen?). The first few pages we are already thrown in to new, never before seen perils: Hal being the new Corps leader, the main power battery on Oa is dead, and we see our first official glimpse of the new villain Relic. I have to say, even though this is supposed to be a set up issue, Venditti masterfully keeps us on track with his story, moving us along briskly, all while keeping the sense of danger and the action high. I made sure to check out an X-O Manowar issue to get a little introduction to Robert first and I wasn't disappointed. I really think Green Lantern is in good hands with him. I definitely can't wait to come back and see what he has in store and mostly I'm excited to see more of this 'Relic'. The design for Relic is just outstanding and I can't remember a new villain to come out who has looked this cool and menacing.
Now, for the art. This part left me a bit wanting. Obviously Billy Tan hasn't had the chance to establish himself on Green Lantern like Ethan Van Sciver, Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke have. There is promise in his artwork, but I think the art deteriorated slightly towards the end of the issue. There's about 3 or 4 panels I can pick out where the eyes looked funny and/or weren't proportional to the direction the head was facing, and that's not including every time Kyle Rayner was present. I think it's safe to say DC made a wise choice not putting Billy Tan on New Guardians as he just plain doesn't know how to draw the Kyle Rayner mask. It actually worried me a bit as I thought new readers might not suspect this Kyle character could be human, what with his eyes so staggeringly far apart. One more complaint about the art is that when Hal is in the seat of that gunner he constructed, there was a panel where it appears he has on his old Silver Age costume, with the green wrapped around the pelvic and crotch regions of the suit. In one panel it stops at the waist, and the next it's a completely different uniform. It could have been a mistake by the colorist, but I'd have to think that would relate to the penciller maybe making poor lines. Either way, that was just inconsistent. And that's pretty much how I would describe the art in this one - inconsistent.
However, all that being said, I do think Billy Tan is a talented artist. Though it seems I have many complaints, it's mainly directed towards the inconsistency of his art - the first few pages were gorgeous, then about a few more pages in and you have an alien-looking Kyle Rayner with impossibly far apart eyes (sorry, but it's bad) - but I'll give him a chance to fix those things as he could very well be aware of his shortcomings. Plus, it's hard to rate his art that bad when considering that great cover and those scenes on Oa. His action scenes are very good and he knows how to draw a lot of different Green Lanterns distinctly (and a very good Kilowog I might add), which is really the most important thing for me when reading a Green Lantern comic (especially the Kilowog part). He also nails expressions and body language very well; the characters convey enough without Venditti having to explain. Overall I give the art a 3.5/5. So good, not great, and room for improvement. My initial thoughts were why couldn't they get some high level artist to draw this one, but to be honest, many of the ones I had in mind already drew for Johns and it's time to move on and usher in the new. And still, I have high hopes for this book and that Tan's art will become more consistent, because I know from viewing his best panels here he has the chops to draw some really great stuff.
Overall a very good issue for the new team over in Space Sector 0, and I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us. Until then, remember, all will be will!