Green Lanterns Vol. 1: Rage Planet
By Sam Humphries, Ethan Van Sciver, Ed Benes, and Robson Rocha.
The Green Lantern Corps now have two new lanterns from sector 2814, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. These two rookies have to work together to protect Earth from the darkest nights while fan favorite and Green Lantern extraordinaire, Hal Jordan handles some business with Sinestro off planet. Green Lanterns Vol 1 has a total of seven issues, with Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 and Green Lanterns# 1-6 filling up this gammed packed trade paperback. This allows for easy reading of the first story arc, no waiting for the next issue release. Taking in the entire arc in one sitting is intense for this volume of Green Lanterns. There is a lot of action in every page between Jessica and Simon taking on the red Lanterns while there is Guardian of the Universe waiting for them to ask for a huge favor.
This volume does have a good flow between every page and issue that if it were not for the brief introductions to the new lanterns at the start of every issue, you would never notice it. The pages buzz with action as every panel is jammed packed with narration, dialogue, and plenty of action. At the heart of this story from writer Sam Humphries is a tale of two people who need the lantern corps, and one another, more than either knew. The dynamic is tested right away from a tremendous threat from the Red Lanterns as they attempt to take over earth by infecting the masses of Earth with the rage virus. The Red Lanterns, led by Atrocitus, give this new duo their first real test as a team.
The tension between Jessica and Simon becomes the real true arc of the first issues. We see the two start out as forced partners as Hal Jordan fuses their lantern chargers together, really giving them no other alternative than to cooperate and work together. Simon is cocky and impulsive, and genuinely has trouble trusting others while, Jessica is filled with crippling anxiety and constant self-doubt. Artist Robson Rocha does a wonderful job capturing the subtle insecurities and hostility that brews between the two lanterns are they adjust to their new superhero status. Humphries and Rocha work in tandem as the narration and point of view changes from one lantern to another, it allows the reader to become more familiar with each one while also providing some great character poses and panel layouts. Each issue opens with great huge splash pages filled with either Simon or Jessica in a huge, power pose.
Every page has intricate and detailed panel layouts, really adding more depth to the story from Humphries. This helps with story flow, making it easier to know and understand the narration, dialogue, and action. The story also has great vibrant colors on every page, making this book really feel like a Green Lantern book. The great use of iconic greens against familiar foes like Atrocitus gives validation to the new heroes.
The only fault to be found with this book and new Lanterns of Jessica and Simon is the lack of cultural appropriation. It is apparent that Jessica Cruz is Latina and Simon Baz is Middle Eastern, which is great to have inclusion for those demographics. However, it does feel like this is a bit hollow of an attempt. Besides appearance and name there is little effort taken by the creative team to really embrace some cultural references to give this a sincere effort to include cultural references that would make it feel organic.
As Red Dawn approaches for the heroes, we have a lot to look forward to from these new Green Lanterns. There is a lot of chemistry brewing between these two heroes, and there is a lot action brewing as well. Between the looming Red Dawn from the Red Lanterns and Atrocitus, the mysterious Guardian asking for help, and the departure of Hal Jordan and of his expertise there is a lot of action in store for Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, the two Green Lanterns of sector 2814. Green Lanterns Vol 1 is a real winner to come out of DC’s Rebirth event because Humphries and Rocha have true chemistry as a creative team that really bring the Green Lanterns alive with classic story telling and compelling art.