[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Sam Humphries
Artist: Robson Rocha
Inker: Jay Leisten
WARNING! Jessica and Simon are not in this issue except for one panel. Wait… come back. It is okay. Remember in the last issue when there was a guy driving to Dearborn to get the Phantom Ring and I was worried it was Kyle? Whew. It was not Kyle. It is some dude called Frank Laminski who has spent his whole life waiting to be chosen as a Green Lantern after being saved by Hal back in his days as Ferris Aircraft test pilot. This story is called “The Phantom Ring: Prologue.” So, guess what? It is a prologue. We learn a lot about the new threat coming to the Lanterns and their Guardian pal.
Robson Rocha takes center stage in this story just as much as Frank Laminski does. There is a lot of anguish in this tale of unrequited love and Rocha rocks it. (See what I did there? Punny, I know.) Seriously though, the dude rocks it. The cover, so amazing. Jessica and Simon are shown as reflections in the Phantom Ring while Frank has the evilest set of eyebrows outside of a Batcowl. If you ran into him, as drawn by Rocha, you would scatter. Then, there is a huge splash page featuring Hal. Later, he has to draw a bunch of the Corp and the Justice League. He has that nailed. Drawing Cyborg is not easy, but he has it down. So good. Frank is, as previously noted, a total nut bag. That means Rocha has to show it in facial expressions and actions. There is pain, anger and anguish. So, so good.
Not every book in Rebirth is coming out twice a month, but this is. How does Humphries deal with that? He gives us story. He gives us characters who are flawed. He gives us ideas about the universe previously undiscovered. He gives us Volthroom, the first lantern. Holy crap. Who the hell is that? I have no idea, but I want to know. Luckily, I only have to wait two weeks to find out.
The things I love about this book can be considered drawbacks. There are no appearances by the titular characters. That can be a problem for people who are just getting into the rhythm of this book. Also, I love the rotating band of artists. It does take away from a common feel for the whole story. Since we are trying to get to know these people, wouldn’t it be good to keep them looking the same for a while? I do not have a problem with it, but I get the issue.
This new story line seems pretty cool. Humphries has continued to grow the Green Lantern universe in a way that feels organic and true. The whole universe is a bit of mystery. We really only see it through the lenses of these Earthlings. By giving us rogue Guardians and ancient Lanterns, Humphries has filled in the gaps. I like it a lot. If you are reading this book, I assume you are thrilled. If you are just getting started, this is the perfect time to get on board. There is a new story arc just for you.