Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 Review

2016-06-01-greenlanternsrebirth

‘Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1’ was something of a mixed bag in terms of quality and, due to the overpopulated creative team, cannot be taken as wholly representative of the series going forward. Still, it did at least kick off the new storylines set to take place in the Green Lantern sector of the DC Universe. Should you be keeping up with them?

The primary function of this, and every other Rebirth title, was too introduce the new lead characters to audiences in such a way as to ensure that they latch onto them and invest immediately in the series as it progresses. On this side of things, Green Lanterns succeeds. The first identifiable character you are introduced to is Simon Baz and his first few scenes show that, rather than focusing on the extraterrestrial and fantastical from the off, this book is just as interested in portraying the real life struggles of its characters. Baz can be seen scrubbing the word ‘terrorist’ off of his sister’s house as he laments over the ostracising of his family due to his actions as a part of the Corps. It’s something you will have seen occurring more and more as of late but these relatable, or at least understandable, insights into the lead character’s lives really do make for a better rounded cast who are easy to identify with. Giving these superbeings real world problems humanises and normalises them to some degree and their journeys to redemption and triumph become all the sweeter for it.

Speaking of characters being relatable, Jessica Cruz ticks that box more than any other. Picture it, you’re young, perennially anxious, and you’ve just been given a ridiculously powerful alien ring, chances are you’re going to be a little lost and unsure of yourself. That is exactly what you get to see in Jessica as she nervously makes her way through life, reticent to leave her apartment and completely out of her depth when it comes to fighting alien threats. Due to the way in which Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries have written her, Jessica looks set to be the audience’s window into this world as it is very easy to see things from her perspective.

As is typically the case it’s not all great on the writing front as the slow nature of the plot and the complete lack of impact held within it make for a largely disappointing read. In terms of the main plot there is precious little to sink your teeth into as, once they’ve been introduced, both new Lanterns are transported away to deal with a threat. You get more character and relationship building between the two and their squabbling should prove to make for an enjoyable back and forth later on but you don’t get any real action. That’s not always the end of the world but it would have been nice to see a little more fighting and a little less talking. Really this whole comic reads like a blatant hook for the upcoming Hal Jordan title more so than one that was focused entirely on its own tale as he is introduced near to the end and does more in a few pages than the others do in a whole book. That being said, the side story involving a fleeing Guardian carrying a box containing some unexplained power does offer up a good deal of intrigue, as does the big villain reveal at the end.

The art was taken care of by a duo too this time out and it left things feeling a little disjointed. The first of these names was also the more impressive partner, Ethan Van Sciver. His attention to detail is, at times, remarkable as he squeezes the most visual information into each page as is possible. There is no sign of him taking any shortcuts to get to the finished product and as such his pages can be gorgeous in their detailing. The page featuring The Justice League is ill-fitting though as it jars entirely with what has come before it and appears a little confusing on the page.

Ed Benes is the other artist and, sorry to say, he really isn’t very good. It has been pointed out in more than one review on this book but he just doesn’t distinguish between his characters very well at all. If you look closely at any given page you will notice that the same basic facial elements are used for a good number of individuals and it leaves the book feeling quite underwhelming and rushed. Had he taken more care in ensuring this was not the case then you’d have a better book on your hands.

So yes, mixed is the word to describe Green Lanterns: Rebirth. It is by no means a bad comic and it in fact offers up a great deal in the way of characterisation, it is just in terms of plot that it all falls down. The fact that only Sam Humphries is staying on for the future books means that everything could change quite markedly in just one issue. Until then let’s be cautiously optimistic about the new Green Lantern comic.

Score: 7.0/10.

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Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 Review