[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Ronan Cliquet
It is Halloween in Dearborn, MI. Simon’s nephew, Farid, is getting ready to go trick or treating. Simon is trying to help his sister Sira get the house ready for their mother to come over. A rogue Guardian meditates in a spare bedroom. Other than the rogue Guardian, it could be a normal day for two normal people. Additionally, in this issue we learn that power rings do NOT fix broken arms but they will help make cookies. Jessica has a panic attack (nothing new there) and surprisingly, so does Simon (totally different).
Ronan Cliquet has full control of this issue. He got to draw every page and he owns it. While there is not a lot of external action in this book, there is a lot of internal panic. Granted, a lot of that falls on Humphries and his dialogue, but Cliquet does the heavy lifting here. From the opening panel, where Jessica is looking in the mirror while leaning over a sink, we feel her pain. The reason for her panic attack this issue is not otherworldly and that may make it seem less real, but to people with panic disorders, anything can be a trigger. Cliquet captures her anguish. There is a panel (perfectly colored and shaded by Blond) where Jessica is walking down a hallway toward…well, we do not know, but it in her mind it is horrific. She is hunched over, hand clutching her stomach. Her left hand reaches out to the hallway wall for support as her shadow looms over her. The perspective is from a distant viewer. We feel like we are at the end of the hallway, watching her, helpless to lend a hand, but desperate to reach her. It may seem like a nothing panel to someone who is looking for action and space coppery, but this panel is what Jessica Cruz is all about. Well done.
Simon’s childhood is unveiled. Simon was a young immigrant with an overbearing mother. There are some flashback scenes (muted in a light green by Blond, so good) that take us through different stages of his life. In each stage, the focal point was his relationship with his mother. He knows he was a handful (which a code word for pain in the ass) when he was a kid. He regrets his decisions and all he wants is his mother to forgive him and accept him. That is a tough story to tell in 21 pages, but Humphries, who is an excellent story teller, gets us through it all. Why is this important? Well, these Green Lanterns are not like Hal and Guy. They are not Kilowog or Abin Sur. They have deep and hard lived pasts. They have personal issues which are going to affect how they do their jobs as Lanterns. If they didn’t have problems, each issue would be a bunch of panels where Simon and Jessica turn green, catch the bad guys and go home. Complexity in the characters leads to complexity in the comics and ultimately, that is a plus.
For those who want smashes and crashes, this book has none of that. The rogue Guardian comes into play a little here. If not for Farid, we would almost forget he is even there. This will not work for every reader. However, the issue is called “Family Matters, Part 1.” It is a slow building story and it might take some patience. That is not for everyone.
High quality writing, with superb art and ink. What else could a comic reader want? Oh right, explosions. The last panel leads us to believe that those are coming. This is a twice a month comic, so the action will be coming fast and furious. These characters feel like real people and that is a great thing.