Review: Far Sector #4
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: N.K. Jemisin
Art: Jamal Campbell
Colors: Jamal Campbell
Letters: Deron Bennett
Reviewed By: Matthew B. Lloyd
After stopping the riot and getting the “police” to stand down, Jo finally gets to the root of the issue. She not only learns the demands of the protesters, but also the stance of the council on previous protests.
We learn a lot this issue, both about the conflict on City Enduring as well as the differences in Jo Mullein’s power ring compared to more familiar Green Lanterns. The highlight is probably the clear explanation of the purpose of the drug “Switchoff,” and the innovation of Emotion Exploit. Jemisin sets up a situation where the drug is not the problem in this society, but the government is treating things as such. Science Fiction has long utilized the genre to comment on contemporary problems. Knowing nothing about Jemisin’s beliefs on marijuana legalization, it’s not fair to say she’s setting this up as a pro-legalization argument, but it does seem possible. And, no matter your stance on it, the idea presented in the comic is well conceived. What is more interesting though, is the steps that City Enduring has done to keep it’s inhabitants “peaceful.”
So, what’s the purpose of “Switchoff?” The races on City Enduring don’t get along, and one of them are cannibals! This provides an obviously dangerous society. In order combat this, Emotion Exploit has suppressed the emotions of everyone. Everyone. Except, Jo. “Switchoff” allows the user to feel emotion during the effective period of the drug. The legalization of “Switchoff” is the basis for the protests. Jemisin reveals a deeper reason for the cannibal culture on City Enduring that makes it even more important than the obvious reasons.
We get to see a Guardian of the Universe give Jo her ring with the understanding that it is different from other Green Lantern rings and the length of her mission on City Enduring. The intriguing questions that remain are: Why a different ring? Why only a year? And why a new Lantern in Jo Mullein for this mission?
While Far Sector #4 doesn’t do a lot with Jo’s character, there is one aspect that stands out than in previous issues- her Southern accent! While not overt, her use of “y’all” a few times places her clearly as a denizen of the Southern United States. While some of her past was touched upon last issue, this aspect brings it to life.
In a prose novel a chapter like this works well. For a comic the pacing feels a little off. It’s not bad, it’s just a little information heavy for a single issue. All the ideas presented are interesting and push the story forward. It just seems that the reveals could have unfolded a little more organically over the course of the series. It makes the first 4 issues a bit uneven in terms of content and story. This in turn is affecting the overall pace of the series.
Far Sector #4 is a solid issue. It may not be the best paced, but the reveals are well worth it. If you were wondering about what Jo is really up against, then this is it! Far Sector is worth sticking with. There are lots of ideas that will surely provide exciting exploration in the coming issues. Ultimately, this series has the feel that it’s bigger than a just a comic book, and that’s a real credit to Jemisin and the world that she and Jamal Campbell are building in words and pictures.