The team behind LARFLEEZE saw the challenge of "create a solo book centered on a breakout character from another series, but make it interesting enough to stand on its own" and said "MINE!" Everyone's favorite avatar of avarice from BLACKEST NIGHT is surprisingly good at making a solo debut that doesn't lean on its origin point.
It's great to see Larfleeze's New 52 origin story with no mention of the Green Lanterns. There's a passing remark about a Guardian, but this book is distinctly Orange. I enjoy seeing how all of the various corps interact with each other, and I'm sure we'll see plenty of that as the series goes on, but for the beginning, it's great to just focus on Larfleeze. The series is set in space, after all, and there's a lot going on in the universe that allows for the various Lanterns (especially the one who operates alone!) to have some independent adventures.
Since it's a series debut, there's plenty of backstory catch-up. It's done via flashbacks, but sprinkled with cheeky banter between Larfleeze and his butler (Yes, he has a butler! Bruce Wayne isn't the only guy in the DCU that gets one!). We get all of the need-to-knows about Larfleeze, and head right into action, setting up for next month's battle with no time wasted. One of my favorite things about his New 52 origin is that Larfleeze is so much more than just "the guy with the orange ring that says 'MINE!' all the time" -- he's still very centered on greed (like a more articulate Gollum), but he's decisive and in-control, and he has a stronger sense of identity (even if that identity might be embellished, by his own admission).
I'm not going to lie -- I had to double-check that the Lanterns were a DC property. This book feels very Marvel in tone, in a good way. Little details, like the quirky, footnoted credits page, make this book feel so much more fun than most of the New 52. Even the title of the issue is whimsical. There's still action, there's still a dark, ugly backstory, but there's also a sense of humor. (It's possible that Larfleeze has been hogging all of it. I wouldn't put it past him.)
The colors are a little bit glowy for my tastes. I dig the neons when Larfleeze is doing his Lantern thing, but the emotionally darker flashbacks are rendered just as bright. I'd like to see the orange pop more against everything else that's going on -- let Larfleeze be greedy with the glows.
Count me in for this series. Giffen and DeMatteis tell a refreshingly fun story, and make the solo Orange Lantern anything but one-dimensional. I'm looking forward to a fierce battle next issue, and curious about the "Revolt of the Orange Lanterns" that's teased for later.