GREEN LANTERN CORPS #34 (Van Jensen, Bernard Chang) is pretty definitely not the issue I should have started with.
With massive revelations about the nature of John Stewart’s and the former Star Sapphire Yrra Cynril (code name Fatality), this issue is a rough one on John and Yrra both, as well as their fans.
I’ll be up front here – I haven’t read a lot about John Stewart and Fatality. While I know all about the fateful Xanshi incident that forever changed John’s life (and characterization), I’ve only read summaries of the history John and Yrra have with each other – this was going to be my jumping in point. But I did know enough to know that the way that Yrra became involved with John – her capture by the Star Sapphires, them encasing her in their crystals, and them replacing the hate in her heart with love – love for the man who accidentally destroyed her home planet, and everyone on it. Not having read the issues myself enough to know if the arguable brainwashing was in some way mitigated, or how it was treated by the narrative from the start, I tried to reserve judgement, but in all honesty, I always found it… really, really creepy. I am, apparently, not the only one.
Yrra’s revelations here are harsh. Tremendously so. The consent issues of her transformation into Star Sapphire are taken to their fullest extremes here, and the light it shines on the Star Sapphire Corps is not pretty. Yrra, already less her homeworld, was trapped inside her own mind, forced to be with the unknowing John until enslaved and replaced by an imposter Durlan many issues ago. John learns that the woman he loved, who he fought to save, whose home planet he failed to save due to an arrogant mistake, has hated him the entire time, and was forced to be with him by her Star Sapphire ring. And I find myself… at a loss.
- The art is fantastic
- The emotional tenor is excellent
- While John’s pain was clear and powerful, Yrra’s anger and suffering weren’t ignored or subjugated into John’s story. Her violation is treated with the weight it deserves.
- The coloring on Fatality is odd in several places
- I really can’t decide how to feel about the reveal with Yrra.
The reveal is as well handled as it is heartbreaking. Yrra’s violation and John’s pain come through stunningly well. But as for the revelation itself? I am glad to see the unfortunate implications of Yrra’s transformation explored. But I wonder if there wasn’t a better way.