Starting off with a bang, Green Lantern: The Lost Army #1 begins in medias res as John Stewart leads a band of displaced Green Lanterns against amorphous beings attempting to wipe them out of existence. John’s squad is made up of Lanterns Arisia Rrab, Xrill-Vrek, Two-Six, and fan favorite Kilowog. Also in tow is the captive Krona, a foe from their past.
Located in unknown space, and unable to sense the core power battery, Stewart and his fellow Lanterns must preserve their power levels while fighting off enemies that seem to be able to penetrate their shields with ease. John calls upon his military experience to defend his squad. In the aftermath of the battle, John makes the risky decision to trust Krona to examine one of the power rings. It’s an aggressive strategy, but short on both time and friends, Stewart feels he has no other choice.
The end of the issue sees the arrival of Guy Gardner into the fray, wielding rings of both the Green Lanterns and the Red Lanterns. Gardner too, has no idea how he came to this portion of space nor how he attained the rings, but he gladly joins up with the other Lanterns just as a giant red glow appears behind them.
One of the biggest surprises of Green Lantern: The Lost Army was the flashback to John’s time in the Marines. While many comics have brought up Stewart’s past in the military, rarely is it depicted with such immediacy. Jesus Saiz’s artwork really stands out here, the lighting is harsh and gives the artwork a sense of realism. This sequence also provides a nice change of scenery for the book, pulling the title out of the cold extremities of space and into the boiler oven that is the desert. It’s a brilliant sequence in that it adds to the reader’s understanding of John’s character, while also helping the comic’s pace and flow.
Letterer Dave Sharpe should also be recognized for a small detail that works wonders for setting up the characters. As each character is introduced, a graphic showing their name is displayed. The names of the Lanterns are wrapped in a faint glow in the color of their rings, while Krona’s name lacks such a border. It’s a detail that’s likely to go unnoticed by many, but it’s a nice touch to emphasize just who these characters are in relation to one another.
With a strong focus on establishing the stakes of the story and great art, Green Lantern: The Lost Army #1 is a solid debut. However, it is not without its flaws. While John Stewart gets the bulk of the focus, many of the other characters serve simply to bounce lines off of him. It would have been nice to get a little more definition into who the other Green Lanterns were and what their role on the team would be. And though the conflict with the Cleaners provides artist Jesus Saiz with a chance to show off his skills, the sequence takes up a lot of pages to establish the stakes. Those pages may have been better served more firmly establishing the isolation of the characters prior to the final pages.
Green Lantern: The Lost Army #1 is a good start for a new series. The inclusion of both John Stewart and Guy Gardner should give the new series enough of a push to stand on its own. And the art by Jesus Saiz is well worth the price of admission on its own.