It is the start of a whole new era for the Green Lantern universe and we are off and running with Green Lantern #21
This is the first issue of the post-Johns era, and it really does feel like a fresh start. We start this issue with Hal and some new recruits to the Corps in the middle of a beat-down from an unseen enemy. From the action we get the real feeling that these new Lanterns do not even know how to check the power levels on their rings. Something has gone horribly wrong here. This is a great way to get us into the action. And, as soon as we are invested in the fight, we are back on Earth a few weeks previously. The scene on earth is one that is simply painted and, although it should not have the gravity of a no-holds-barred battle on Oa, it seems to have the same weight. This is a very different relationship than most we see in modern day comics. This is not a superhero who has a significant other who cannot comprehend the weight and responsibility of being a hero. Carol is a ring bearer as well, albeit one of a different color. Since both of them are ring bearers, it allows this relationship to be laid bare in front of us. They do not have problems because one of them is a superhero; they have problems because one of them is a not a good life partner. Simple and brilliant, and something that is very relatable to most people. The urgent call from Oa for Hal to return seems like the phone call or visit that someone gets that interrupts the fight they are having with the one they love. It is well timed and very welcomed. This scene is a break in the action, but is not page filler and I am very curious to see where this is going.
Once we get back to Oa we get our first glimpse of the new Guardians that have taken over and how they may run it moving forward. Naming Hal the head of the Corp is handled very well. Kyle is resplendent in his White Lantern uniform and points out every reason why he should not be a leader. It is meant to be handled in fun, but underneath the sarcasm and the points made are credible. Hal is a very faulted man and probably not the guy you want leading the universe’s police force. This subtle scene shows us how depleted the Corps is—even more so than the desperate battle at the start of the story. Hal is the last man standing. This issue on a whole shows us that this is not the golden age of the Corps. This is a desperate group that needs to revitalize its ranks.
Larafleeze is reveled to be the big baddy that is attacking Oa, and it makes senses. Mr. Greedy is on the case and he wants the treasure. Everything works, and this is, above all, a fun issue.
I really do not like the flashback method of storytelling; I always prefer a more linear style. I think they could have done better building the moment by starting on Earth with the character piece and then moving on to Oa. I like Larafleeze and understand the need to showcase him with his own book starting next month, but would have liked to have seen something new.
We are off and running in a new era of Green Lantern. This is a great start, and any fears that the universe in anyone else’s hands than Johns are put to rest. We get a new direction here and it is one that a longtime fan or a new reader can wrap their arms around and embrace. If you have been on the fence about getting into Green Lantern I can only tell you this: Jump on in, the water feels fine!