Neither Simon Baz nor Jessica Cruz are typical Green Lanterns. Usually the Green Lantern Corps fills its ranks with the bravest and noblest sentient beings the universe has to offer. Neither Simon nor Jessica really fits that bill.

The son of Lebanese immigrants, Simon Baz managed to put himself through college to earn an engineering degree, despite facing intense suspicion because of his Muslim heritage. He turned to car-theft after being laid off and was arrested on terrorism charges after a van he stole proved to be full of illegal explosives. Simon’s ring chose him for reasons no one could quite understand while he was locked in Guantanamo Bay. Simon was quick to master his Green Lantern ring, but he still carries a gun as a back-up weapon because he does not fully trust the alien technology that gives him his powers.

Jessica Cruz also has a hard time trusting. Once an active outdoorswoman and hunter, Jessica’s personality changed after she and her friends stumbled across gangsters while on a camping trip. The sole survivor of the fight that followed, Jessica became a hermit, never leaving her apartment for fear of the outside world. It was this fear that made Jessica a perfect host for the cursed Ring Of Volthooma dark artifact that fed upon the fears of its wearer. One act of bravery managed to free Jessica from the ring’s curse, however, and she soon found herself chosen as a Green Lantern because of her ability to overcome fear.

When the apparent destruction of the Green Lantern Corps drew Hal Jordan into space to search for his lost fellows, he charged both Simon and Jessica with protecting the Earth In his absence. Reasoning that two new Green Lanterns from Earth had been chosen for a reason and that the two desperately needed to find a balance between Jessica’s caution and Simon’s daring, Hal left them with a single power battery that required both of them to charge their rings. Even with the guidance of the Justice League, can these two newbie heroes learn to overcome their respective traumas and work together?

Green Lanterns puts a colorful spin on the classic buddy-cop concept. Both Simon and Jessica proved interesting characters on their own when they were first introduced in Green Lantern and Justice League. Pairing them proves a natural source of drama and the interactions between them are nearly as riveting as their battles in the first two volumes of this series.

The first volume, Rage Planet, sees the two rookie Lanterns having to face an invasion of Earth by the rage-powered Red Lanterns. The second volume, The Phantom Lantern, sees Simon and Jessica tested by the titular villain, who draws power from a ring that can replicate the powers of any of the various Lantern Corps that make up the emotional spectrum. Writer Sam Humphries does a fantastic job of balancing the action of the super-heroic conflicts and the personal drama between Simon, Jessica and their respective families.

The artwork is uniformly fantastic, though it does suffer somewhat when individual chapters have multiple artists working on them. This is a bigger problem in the first volume, where Tom Derenick, Ed Benes, and Robson Rocha all work on a single section of the comic. The artwork is much stronger in the second volume, where Rocha alternates chapters with artists Eduardo Pansica and Ronan Cliquet. Thankfully, the inking and color proves consistent, so the visual discontinuity isn’t too bad apart from no two artists seeming to agree on whether or not a Green Lantern’s eyes glow when their ring is working or not.

These volumes are rated 12+ for teens and I consider that to be a fair rating. There’s no inappropriate sexual content in the book, nor any violence inappropriate for a teen audience. Indeed, given the diverse cast and focus on discrimination added to the themes of coping with anger and anxiety, I’d consider this series a must read for most young adults looking for a new take on a classic comic hero as well as any adults with a love of science fiction.

Green Lanterns, vol. 1: Rage Planet & vol. 2: Phantom Lantern
by Sam Humphries
Art by Robson Rocha,Eduardo Pansica, and Ronan Cliquet

VolumeISBN
19781401267759
29781401268497

DC Comics, 2017
Publisher Age Rating: 12+

  • Matt

    | He/Him Librarian

    Reviewer

    A librarian with over 10 years experience in public and academic settings, Matthew Morrison has been blogging about comic books for nearly as long as they’ve had a word for it.  Over the past two decades, he has written regular columns, commentary, parodies and reviews for such websites and blogs as Fanzing, 411 Mania, Screen Rant and Comics Nexus.  He has served as an Expert in Residence for a seminar on Graphic Novels and Comics for Youth and Adults at the University of North Texas and has given several lectures on the history of comics, manga and cosplay culture at libraries and comic conventions around the country. In addition to his work for No Flying No Tights, he is the Contributing Editor of Kabooooom.com and maintains a personal blog at MyGeekyGeekyWays.com.

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