The New 52 – Green Lantern Corps

The third Lantern book of the reboot, and the second returning title, Green Lantern Corps has none-the-less had things rejigged a bit, with Peter Tomasi and Guy returning to the book, while Kyle has exited to star in the New Guardians title.

While I criticised Green Lantern #1 for not coming across as much of a first issue, to me Green Lantern Corps manages to toe that line well, while also not feeling like its written solely for new readers.

From the off, a (presumably) new threat is established, when a pair of Lanterns (and their prisoner) in a sector house are slaughtered by someone who is largely kept off-panel.  Aside from a distinctive green glove, all we’re really left knowing is that they seem to be impervious to the power of a Green Lantern.

From there, its very much a shift, and one that works well as a reintroduction of the main characters.  We jump back to Earth, where both Guy and John are trying, and struggling to re-establish some kind of normal life outwith the Corps.   It was a nice move, to use their public identities in different ways.  Despite his normal bluster, Guy is actually the more reserved of the two, desperately trying to play down his role as a Green Lantern just so he can land a job interview as a high school coach (a nice nod to how the character started out).  Of course, he’s swarmed by the other candidates all desperate for pictures and hounding him with questions, which provides a neat outlet for Peter Tomasi to quickly establish the basic information any new reader needs about the setup of the Corps.

Eventually, Guy gets his interview, but is forced to concede that as a Green Lantern, he’d be too much of a trouble-magnet to risk being around the school kids.  Its a real gut-punch moment as the principle (who is pretty nice about the whole thing), forces Guy to acknowledge that he just can’t have a normal job and be a public Green Lantern.  John on the other hand, is quick to use his powers in his architecture job, using his ring to display designs of the building.  He’s also the one that flies off the handle a bit more readily.  When the clients complain about his building in safety measures that aren’t in the contract he’s suddenly flying them up into the air and accusing them of bribing for planning permission.  To be honest, I’ll admit that scene played a little weird to me.  John pulled the bribery angle out of nowhere.  That aside though, I did find the differences between the characters a bit interesting.  It played Guy very much against type, but I think in a good way.

Of course, its not long before both Guy and John are summoned back to Oa, and tasked to investigate the murders that opened the issue.  To be honest, at this point the story reminded me a lot of some of the one-shot issues of Emerald Warriors we had, with Guy (and John) putting together their team of kick ass Lanterns to go take out some interstellar threat when normal sector Lanterns just won’t cut it.  Not that that’s really a bad thing in this instance though, as it allows Peter Tomasi to reintroduce some Lanterns that are, of course, familiar to long term readers.  Especially with the cast being changed around again, with the book falling back into Tomasi’s hands.

Out of all the Green Lantern books in the new 52, I have to say this was undoubtledly my favourite of the four in its first issue.  It kept things firmly grounded on its two main characters, and the trick of having them trying to settle on Earth as a way to work in a primer to the GL Corps mythos worked really well.  Peter Tomasi has long been a safe pair of hands (aside from the initial Emerald Warriors storyline not clicking into place – and now seemingly abandoned anyway in the reboot), with his GLC run at times considered the superior book to Geoff Johns’ work on the main title.

That said, the second issue wasn’t quite as successful for me.  The mysterious enemies seem to be another group, trapped on a dead world after being wronged by the Guardians and are now out for revenge.  Something we’ve seen perhaps a bit too often lately, with all the focus Atrocitous has enjoyed.  The idea of them stealing elements from other worlds to restore their own though, was an interesting angle.  Less successful for me though, was the fact that much of the issue was essentially a fight scene, as Guy and John’s group attempt to intercept them at their next target.  For me, the art, and possibly more so the colouring started to let things down a bit, as the issue descended into a sea of green that started to make each panel seem like the last.  Granted, not having that happen, when you’ve got a bunch of Green Lanterns in a fight for their lives is pretty tricky, but in this issue it just lept out at me.

That said, I still feel this is probably the strongest of the four GL books coming out of the new 52.  New Guardians may grab my attention more as things go on, but Peter Tomasi bought a heck of a lot of good will off me, with a perfectly judged first issue.  And I’m really intrigued to see how he continues to handle John and Guy.  For me, Peter Tomasi has long been the GL writer who’s come across as having the best overall handle on the different Earth Lanterns (which is not to say Geoff hasn’t given them all some great moments over the last few years), and seeing how he tackles John and Guy working as a team, a pairing that’s perhaps one of the least explored out of the Earth Lanterns, is something that greatly intrigues me.

 

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