Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have struck gold with Larfleeze. A series that revolves around the most selfish and shallow being in the entire universe has a surprising amount of depth and insight into the titular character as well as the supporting players, which is a rare occurrence in DC comic books these days.
While Larfleeze is known for it’s humor, Giffen and DeMatteis have made familial issues a main focus of the series as it progresses (without losing said humor, of course).
In the main narrative, Larfleeze is still being held captive by the revived Orange Lanterns, each one more determined than the last to exact their revenge on a being who murdered them and imprisoned their souls in an orange power battery for millennia. Unfortunately, Larfleeze is now a living power battery, thus the Oranges cannot kill him, or they lose the ability to recharge their rings.
Much like how children cannot leave their homes even if they are at complete odds with their parents, the Orange Lanterns are stuck with a creature they despise in a situation that is loathsome for every party involved, even though it is necessary.
Similarly, the secondary narrative about Larfleeze’s former butler, Stargrave, and his new mistress—the interdimensional goddess Sena—feels like a brother reluctantly catering to his erratic sibling who can’t take care of herself without hurting herself or others in the process.
In any comedic setting, there must be the ‘straight man’ who is annoyed and perplexed by the shenanigans all around him, and Stargrave fills that role quite well.
Scott Kolins is a great artist, but often in Larfleeze #5, his work feels rushed. The Orange Lanterns’ constructs, specifically, look poorly done and almost feel unfinished, like Kolins just outlined Giffen’s breakdowns and hurried them off to colorist Mike Atiyeh who had no idea how to color in such big, undetailed blobs.
Larfleeze has quickly become one of the best titles in the New 52. Even before it launched, many fans were critical of a humorous title focused on the most annoying of the various colored Lanterns, and with good reason. Never before has Larfleeze has this much characterization, and the revelations Giffen and DeMatteis bring in at the end of the issue will shake preconceptions about Larfleeze down to the core. This is a very good issue of a very good series and it shouldn’t be missed, either for Green Lantern fans looking for more insight into Agent Orange, or for casual fans who just want something a little more lighthearted in their comics.