By Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule, Cullen Bunn, Ethan Van Sciver, Martin Coccolo, Goran Sudzuka, Chriscross, Pete Woods and Marcelo Maiolo
A lot of hype behind this new Godhead arc that passes over all the Lantern titles—didn’t we just do something similar to this for the last… well, couple of big Lantern arcs?—comes with some big expectations. The writers assembled, individually, have done some great work on their respective Lantern books so bringing them together (again) is an exciting idea. Add to that the Jack Kirby created New Gods and, yeah, this sounds like something that’s going to be mind-blowingly awesome.
Well, in all honesty, from the writing side of the coin, this first issue was actually pretty damn good. There are lots of things being set up between the obligatory retelling of things that have come before for those readers who might have missed the last few arcs or are just picking up a Lantern book for the first time. It’s, really, a great start to what promises to be something special in an already extremely special section of DC Comics and it’s great to see Jack Kirby’s characters getting another main stage to play on and, really, who doesn’t like Kirby characters?
The biggest issue with, well, this issue has to fall on the art side of things. It’s not that the art is bad; on the contrary, all the individual parts are actually quite good in their own rights. The problem, if we use that last sentence as an example, is “individual parts”. Look, comic publishers, we get that doing a larger, special issue takes more work and it can be harder on a single artist but how is a 35+ page issue much different from two, call it 20 page issues (aside from the 5 pages, for you smartasses out there)? Would it not be the same as an artist simply working on approximately two regular, monthly issues and at least, at the end of it, having a consistent look throughout the book instead of a jumble of different styles that, honestly, don’t all fit together as one might hope?
Maybe time was a factor, but this story was solicited a while back and it’s probably save to assume that even before it was solicited work was being done on it. Couldn’t we have just had the artist start sooner than normal and get, for example, a whole Ethan Van Sciver issue or an entire Goran Sudzuka issue? It’s obvious when the art changes, even if at times it’s done slickly—like it changes from our universe to New Genesis or the narration takes the New Gods from a Red Lantern to a Violet Lantern. But it’s not immediately obvious who did what, so to break that down, especially given the list of four or five artists getting credit, is futile. Looking back through the issue (and please correct me if I just completely missed it) it doesn’t appear that DC has what pages each artist did.
That aside, as hard as it might be to put aside, the art really was good in individual pieces. Marcelo Maiolo kills it on the colors regardless of whose work he colors and he even brings some of his signature panels that we all got to enjoy with his work on Green Arrow. And again, just in case it was missed in the jumble above, the art is still good The artist still need to be commended for their work, it’s just a damn shame that there was a need (or desire?) to mix this many artist on one book, regardless of size or scope. It’s too much.
With everything being thrown at you in this issue just remember that these creators have proven themselves time and time again.Yes, this issue has some issues with art, at least from this perspective, but after this the series splits into Acts from across the Lantern-title line up so the art should normalize. So should you continue with this series? The answer is absolutely, even if you’re not reading all the Lantern titles it might be worth checking them out as well. Kirby characters and Kyle Rayner at the center of it all (a personal favorite) has the makings of something great and with creators like this you just can’t go wrong.