Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Green Lantern Corps #1

DC Comics, 20 pages, $ 2.99

Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Penciler: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Scott Hanna
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover artists: Doug Mahnke, Christian Alamy and Randy Mayor

“If my weapon hadn’t have run out, you Lanterns would’ve been cooked!” says the villain dude in the Green Lantern Corps #1—emphasis mine. He doesn’t talk funny in general, so I presume that’s a typographical error, there in the very first speech balloon on the very first page of the comic.

On the two subsequent pages, then, there are a couple of graphic disembowelments and a beheading—followed by a genocide decorated with cute-looking alien creatures bleeding from spikes on the final page of the issue. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Because, first up, we’ll have to make it past page 4, which takes it away Grand Guignol style and shows us a huge dismembered finger hovering above the title of the story: “Triumph of the Will!” (Exclamation mark mine.)

As far as first impressions go, I think it’s fair to say that this one is off to a bit of a rocky start.

Luckily, though, the 15 pages in-between the first four and the last one are actually pretty good. There’s a lot to like about Fernando Pasarin’s art, for starters, whose style comes with a certain J.G. Jones-iness but still looks like its own thing. Pasarin—who worked with Peter J. Tomasi on another Green Lantern spin-off before the relaunch—is the right choice for the space-opera-type story Tomasi is going for here. And, more importantly, he can also draw regular characters with authentic clothes, faces and body language. It doesn’t matter if we’re seeing a bunch of people in a waiting room or two Green Lanterns looking down at the Earth while sitting on a satellite—Pasarin doesn’t just get it right, but makes it look good, too.

Tomasi’s characters are more convincing here than over in Batman and Robin. He’s communicating Guy Gardner and John Stewart’s personalities efficiently, for the most part, and while there are one or two heavy-handed moments, it’s solid enough character work overall. I enjoy the interplay between the two, and the story allows me to understand what being Green Lanterns means to them.

So, despite the typographical errors, ham-fisted hyper-violence and cringe-inducing title, Green Lantern Corps turns out to be a surprisingly solid and entertaining read on most of its pages. If a crossover with the other, rather less enticing Green Lantern books weren’t inevitable, I might have been tempted to stick around.

Grade: C+

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