[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Ed Benes
It is Halloween in Dearborn, MI. The rogue Guardian of the Galaxy, Rami, who has been clamoring for Hal and John (and he claims he would even take Guy, but come on really?) to come back, has run away. Jessica and Simon go on a hunt for him (and candy, Jess has a sweet tooth) while Dominators are hunting them. There is a flashback to roughly 10 billion years ago when Rami first made the Phantom Ring. Honestly, he doesn’t look a day over 1 billion. Those Guardians age well. Must be the blue skin.
Ed Benes joins the art team this month and he has a lot to do. It is Halloween so there are a lot of people of shapes and sizes wearing a variety of crazy costumes. There is a Joker and a Superman. Farid, Simon’s nephew, is dressed like the Flash. There is a gap-toothed Bat something or other running through the page. My kids are teenagers so it has been a while since I went trick or treating, but it is though Benes pulled the image straight from my memory. Blond’s colors are soft when they need to and sharp when it is appropriate. The nostalgia is really nice. There are crash cuts to the Dominators, who, if you have not seen them, are Yellow, with giant red dots on their foreheads centered between their pointy ears. Got that? Now, imagine two rows of talon sharp teeth. Benes weaves them into the story with the right amount of scary and realism. If you had a mouth of daggers, you might spray it instead of saying it, and Benes brings that to life. Bravo sir.
As I keep saying in my reviews, Humphries has made these characters come to life in such a delightful and likable way. Jessica’s anxiety seems to be under control until it isn’t. Simon’s anger management seems to be working until it isn’t. Jessica calls them “Cool space cops,” but they are so much more. They are real people with real problems. This is something that is missing in a lot of superhero comics. How do you make money (we do not really know that yet, but one can assume Humphries will take care of that down the line)? How do you interact with your family? Do you get to celebrate holidays? Do you have time for that? Sure, Clark Kent has a job but how does he really have any time for it? Jessica and Simon are making time for family and life and each other. It is great that this in not just one Green Lantern talking to himself.
The addition of Rami, the rogue Guardian, is a nice touch too. He gets a dose of humanity, courtesy of Jessica, and comes to realize that maybe these new Lanterns are not so Green after all (Ha! Pun intended). Seriously, though, he is a good addition to the story. He gives them purpose. The Phantom Ring is a huge bit of nasty and we all have to decide if these two are capable of protecting it. It would be helpful if they believed in themselves, but we can not cross all the milestones in one issue.
For me, I see very few. I like the rotating cast of artists. I think the perspective each brings is interesting, but for some, it might be off-putting. Also, the story is taking center stage, not the action. Nothing explodes and the one fight scene is short lived. This is a character driven book and that is not for everyone.
Eight issues in and this book keeps getting stronger. We know the Red Lanterns are waiting in the weeds. The Dominators are working hard to catch Rami. Simon and Jessica are still figuring out how to be Green Lanterns with almost no guidance. The intrigue is built by the final panel. Good thing we only have to wait two weeks to find out who that guy is (Is it Kyle? Where the hell is Kyle? Don’t let it be Kyle, but seriously, is it Kyle?).