In short, Van Jensen and Bernard Chang's first issue of Green Lantern Corps is excellent!
The Writing: The writing is easily a 5/5. It's a strong start to the title with a fresher, more fun, more Green Lantern CORPS tone. Van Jensen displays a mastery of dialogue, a great sense of humor, the ability to incorporate action effectively, and the ability to juggle multiple characters effectively. He manages to actually develop many of the characters in this book in only 22 pages! This book is filled with aliens, but it has plenty of humanity.
This is John Stewart's title, but make no mistake the Green Lantern Corps shines brightly. This is a team book. We see more of the New Guardians. Jensen makes them very likable in this issue. We see Salaak and Soranik Natu start to figure out what new roles they are going to play in the Corps. We're introduced to four new, exciting Green Lantern recruits, who are all different, but who also bring a great deal of life to the book in a few short pages. These guys are what this book has been missing. It reminds me of the best parts of the Green Lantern: Emerald Knights cartoon. Last but not least, John Stewart really shines here. He hasn't been written this well since Bruce Timm used him. He's put in some really exciting situations and he drives much of the action in the book. We're going to see John mature as leader and a hero here.
Like I mentioned earlier, Jensen is great at balancing several different storylines in a short span of time. He also turns the Green Lanterns back into what they haven't been in a very long time: space cops. The villains remind me of something out of Mass Effect or GL:TAS. They don't get much screen time, but they are interesting and have a classic feel to them. Jensen gives us a great start at a mystery that will leave you wanting more. I'm on my 4th re-read of this book in one hour. It's that good!
-NB: There is one bit of philosophical dialogue that is referenced in sector 1632 that really made me chuckle, but it's kind of an easter egg joke for political science and philosophy students.
The book picks up threads from the Johns/Tomasi era and makes them more interesting than they have ever been in this book before. While you don't need to read the Green Lantern book to understand what is happening in this title, the two titles are definitely sister books. You get a feeling of a shared universe right away.
The Art: The art is a very strong 4/5. Bernard Chang has a background in architecture and it shows. We hop around several different sectors in the universe, and no two sectors look the same. They all have their own environments, architecture, and feels. And it's not just the backgrounds that are stunning. Chang does great facial work, his anatomy is tight, and his new character designs are fresh and interesting. He's skilled at using angles effectively. He handles action incredibly well. His lines are clean, but his art is not flat. My only gripe with his pencils is that they could stand to be a little more consistent on the long-range shots, but this is a very minor nit-pick.
I'd like to dedicate a special paragraph of this review to the constructs. Almost every character gets a chance to use constructs in this this title, but personality and history shines through all of them. It's cool seeing combat architecture done right. It's cool seeing a Green Lantern from a water world using an appropriate construct.
Finally, Marcelo Maiolo has very lush colors that pop off the page and add to the quality of the art.
This is a great time to be a fan of the Green Lantern Corps, my friends! If you didn't like the previous era, give this one a shot. This is a great jumping-on point, and the future is looking bright!