These two titles are library-bound individual issues of comics based on the animated Green Lantern TV show. Issue no. 5, Trouble in the Arena, opens with Hal and his friends going out to defend their friends against the Red Lanterns killing them…and then awakening in an arena. He finds that he and his friends have been mysteriously transported to a strange world hosting gladiator-style games. Will they fight for the cruel Malvir, or is there another way out? In Issue no. 6, Memories, Hal and his friends land on a planet that was destroyed by the Red Lanterns, find a survivor, and are immediately attacked….or are they? There is something dangerous on the planet, but it may not be the Red Lanterns after all. Each story ends with a four-step tutorial to draw a character, brief bios of the authors and illustrators, a short glossary, and a spread with four comprehension questions focused on the visual cues in the comics.
The art has the same slick, digital feel as the animated show with slightly blurred colors, especially when the characters are using their power rings and are outlined in their ring color. The dominant colors are, of course, red and green, and the backgrounds are minimal, but there are a certain number of colorful aliens included as well. There’s limited character and plot development in these single issues. If you haven’t previously watched the show or read the first four issues, you’re going to be lost; why are the Green Lanterns accompanied by a Red Lantern? Who is Atrocitus? However, if you’re not too worried about the overarching plot points, you can read each one individually and mostly figure out what’s going on in that particular issue, although you need to at least know some of the basic details of the Green Lantern world. The art isn’t particularly unique or outstanding, but it is serviceable, colorful, and gets across the excitement of the adventures. The limited emotions of the characters don’t really call for more sophisticated art, and this gives the audience for these comics what they want – lots of superhero action with familiar characters.
These single issue library bound editions are pricey, costing around $17 apiece, and the comics are available in paperback editions that include 5-6 issues together, but if you have young superhero fans, the more expensive bindings are worth the cost because they’ll last through a lot of handling by enthusiastic, but not always careful, fans. Batman, from the same line, and the Marvel characters (from ABDO) are more popular in my library, but kids who have read all the available superhero comics will be excited to see new stories, even if they’re a more obscure character like the Green Lantern.
Issue 6: Hal Versus Atrocitus
DC Comics, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: 7-11