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Green Lantern Corps #21 - Chain Reaction Review

5

John Stewart and Fatality confront an unknown threat while Salaak and Soranik try to hold the Corps together with all six of their combined arms.

The Good

Green Lantern writer Robert Venditti impressed with his debut on Green Lantern last week, and he’s given a “co-plot” credit on this issue of Corps, but the credit for this startling debut has to go to Van Jensen, at least from a writing perspective. I’ve often complained, vocally, that GL Corps is less a book about John Stewart and the various other members of the Corps, and more the Guy Gardner Experience feat. Green Lanterns, and right off the bat Jensen makes it clear whose book this is: and there’s no one answer. John Stewart is on half the total pages with the other half being alien Green Lanterns or, my favorite, new recruits. Van immediately addresses the shortage of Lanterns that recent events have left by plucking four new recruits from vastly different backgrounds and at least one of them answers a question I’ve always wondered about: if the rings have a sense of morality. Certainly Sinestro’s subjugation of Korugar indicated the rings prize willfulness over goodness, but that was AFTER he became a Lantern. At least one of the new recruits reinforces that notion (and another doesn’t even WANT to be a Green Lantern). I honestly can’t wait to see what’s in store for all the new recruits as they all seem absolutely fascinating.

Art, meanwhile, is in the capable hands of Bernard Chang with Marcelo Maiolo on colors, and what colors and art they are! An anime-inspired look that doesn’t sacrifice realistic proportions is a rare sight to see in comics, but it’s also absolutely stunning in this context as it makes for thrilling, unique visuals. The line work is crisp and well-defined and Chang keeps immaculate panel control, it’s never difficult to see what’s happening on a given page.

The Bad

If you’re looking for Guy Gardner, you really are going to have to wait for Red Lanterns, he makes not one appearance in this book. There’s also an urgent situation on Oa that only gets teased but is actually addressed in the mainline Green Lantern book, so that feels like a SLIGHT cop-out. Neither of those things are even close to being major flaws, this is an amazing issue and a fantastic debut.

The Verdict

Van Jensen has introduced four all-new characters from four COMPLETELY different backgrounds and races, and I honestly cannot wait for the next issue to see what comes of them. Additionally, Green Lantern Corps seems to be getting back to the heart of what the Green Lanterns are: space cops! As much as I loved Johns’ run, there were so many times when a sweeping, epic space opera obfuscated, or forgot, that the Green Lanterns aren’t a standing army, they’re galactic police and though Johns didn't write all the Green Lantern books, the events that he wrote permeated all of them. There are so many unturned rocks for that context and that idea, that I am absolutely thrilled to see someone tackling them.

11 Comments
Edited by Captain13

Corey 'Undeadpool' Schroeder is Full of Right!

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 hasnt 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.

Final Score: 4.5/5

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. The future is looking bright!

PS. Don't forget to pick up your free Green Lantern ring with this issue!

Posted by Trevel8182

Posted by Avenging-X-Bolt

John getting decent "screen time"?

Fan favorite Lanterns back?

Amazing art and story?

THIS IS MADNESS!!!!!

Posted by wisesonAC

@captain13: jup im so buying this now. you made it 10x easier

Posted by Rich711

They need to make it more like Alien Legion.

Edited by blkson

Man, this was such a fun issue. I'm so pumped for issue 22. I can't wait to see how John interacts with Jruk. I also can't wait to see whats next for Feska because, the ring just slapped itself on her finger. She clearly did not want that. She seemed like a single mom, struggling to keep things afloat. It was kinda sad how the ring just took her away from her son.

Overall great issue. I've been waiting a long time for the Stewart in comics to BE the Stewart that I grew up watching on television.The Stewart that my friends and family grew up with--hell, the Stewart that an entire generation grew up with!

Funny though, it took the huge media fiasco that was the alleged death of John Stewart for DC to finally shine some light on their most prolific black hero.

Posted by OutlawRenegade

awesome issue!

Posted by JairamGanpat

WHERE IS SODAM YAT??????????

Online
Edited by Herokiller12344

@jairamganpat: In the old52.

Hey does anyone else get the vibe that DC is running out of decent titles for their stories?

Edited by Black_Claw

@blkson: It's good to see John finally getting the respect he rightfully deserves from writers. Now if only Static and Cyborg can get that same respect.

Edited by TrickMonkey

BWAH!?!? I would say this was a below average GL Corp. Can someone explain to me what John Stewart's vulnerability is other than being incredibly boring? The new corp members are interesting and hopefully they will save this book from the monotony of John Stewart's personality.