Each weekday, Tim will take a look at what we know about each of the upcoming 52 new comics from the September DC relaunch, one series at a time. Today: GREEN LANTERN CORPS!
The Concept and Characters: Soon after Geoff Johns brought Hal Jordan back to prominence, this secondary series, starring Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, and John Stewart (and a bunch of alien Green Lanterns), kicked off, and has nearly kept pace with it’s big-brother series ever since.
The solicitations for the first issue talk about an “elite Green Lantern strike force,” and that may be a slight tweak on the concept for the series, but this looks like the same kind of Green Lantern Corps book we’ve seen at DC for years. Peter Tomasi made the biggest mark on the series, before leaving to scribe the Emerald Warriors spin-off a year ago, and he’s back to shepherd this relaunched version of the Green Lantern gang. Looks like Kyle Rayner won’t be joining him this time, as he has his own New Guardians comic to lead.
So it’s Guy Gardner and John Stewart as the main characters here, though if Tomasi’s previous work (and the cover image) hints at what he’ll do here, than don’t be surprised to see other Green Lantern Corps members take prominent roles. Tomasi has maintained a consistent focus on the ensemble nature of this series in the past, and while the main Green Lantern book has led the way for this series—in terms of the major plot events—Tomasi has always done a nice job highlighting his Corps members and giving them subplots with emotional impact.
What’s been relatively unusual with this series in the past, is how closely it has tied into it’s companion series. It’s not like the Superman or Batman comics, where sometimes the multiple series in each franchise will cross over for some important mini-event. No, Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps, barring a few issues of exception, have been telling the same story since the beginning. It’s just that the focus has been different, with the main series telling of Hal Jordan’s journey and the major conflicts he becomes involved in, and the Corps series focusing on the bigger picture, or the smaller stories that spin out of the major GL plot points.
You’re more likely to see an extended romantic subplot in this series than in the main Green Lantern book, for example. You’re more likely to see the after-effects of trauma. More likely to see political maneuverings. More likely to see heroes in conflict with one another. Green Lantern Corps has been part sci-fi war comic and part superhero comic all along. I don’t see any reason to think that the relaunched series will be much different.
The Creative Team: Peter Tomasi was Geoff Johns’s Green Lantern editor before he quit the editing desk to become a freelance writer, so it’s only appropriate that he works so closely with Johns on the long-form plotting of the Green Lantern universe. Some of Tomasi’s best writing has come out of his previous Green Lantern Corps run, and he’s the ideal choice to helm this companion series and follow Geoff Johns’s lead.
Fernando Pasarin draws this series, and that means we’ll get both the writer and artist from Emerald Warriors back together for this Corps series. Pasarin has a hyper-detailed, hyper-slick style that dips a little into the uncanny valley at times, but he’s quite a good artist. Interestingly, though Pasarin’s work is strong, and Tomasi has proven himself to be a reliable writer, their Emerald Warriors collaboration didn’t result in a very good comic. It was Tomasi’s weakest work to date, and it’s difficult to pin down exactly why. It was as if he was trying to do a different kind of Green Lantern comic, maybe out from the shadow of Geoff Johns, and it just didn’t have a satisfying rhythm. It seemed out-of-sync with the rest of the franchise. Still, both Tomasi and Pasarin have talent, and experience with these characters, and we can only hope that this relaunched series will be more like the Green Lantern Corps of old than the short-lived Emerald Warriors series of the past year.
Recommendation: Buy it, only if you’re buying the Green Lantern series. Though this comic may work on it’s own, it will work best as a companion piece to the main series. Even if the opening arc of both comic have nothing to do with one another, these comics will inevitably merge to tell a single story. The story of the Green Lanterns throughout the universe. It’s been a pretty good story so far. One of the best in superhero comics, actually.
Tim Callahan writes about comics for Tor.com, Comic Book Resources, Back Issue magazine, and his own Geniusboy Firemelon blog.