Sunday, May 19, 2024

Green Lanterns go to Boot Camp

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Last time in Green Lanterns, Simon and Jessica were flung to faraway Mogo where they met with the rest of the Green Lantern Corps (GLC). They were summoned by John Stewart, leader of the Corps, to receive training. Jessica, having never had training of any kind, was stripped of her lantern insignia. They’ve each been given an instructor, and their training starts now.

We do too.

The Biggest Jerk

For all of us who loved Jessica and Kyle Rayner bonding in the last issue, that joy will be short-lived. Jessica has been paired up with Guy Gardener. For anyone not familiar, Guy Gardener was the second human to get a Green Lantern ring. Guy has been the jerk of the GLC for as long as anyone can remember. Back in the Justice League International days, it was played for laughs, and quite effectively. These days, he’s more like Jayne Cobb from Firefly; just a giant a-hole who occasionally does some good.

Seeing Jessica get instruction from Guy is painful to watch. Poor Jess is being put through her paces. Guy is doing his best impression of R. Lee Ermey, screaming at her, putting her down, telling her she’s not good enough. It is not going well for her. She can’t keep her willpower up under that kind of relentless aggression. We have to believe that John Stewart knows this will be good for her in the long run, but at the outset, it seems like she’s going backwards. It’s taken her tremendous fortitude to get this far, and that was with the help and support of her sister, The Flash, and Simon. Guy Gardener’s methods aren’t helping her anxiety.

YOU’RE a wingnut!

Meanwhile, Simon has a much different kind of instruction with Kyle. Simon has already proven he can duke it out with the best of them. Kyle promises his training will be complete the second he can land a single punch. It won’t be as easy as all that, though. Kyle was an artist before being chosen to wear his ring, and his boundless imagination makes him formidable when it comes to constructs. Simon will have to get to Kyle first if he ever hopes to land a punch.

A Long, Long Time Ago

Oh yeah, Volthoom/Rami is still hanging around too. He’s been asked by the guardians to fix the green rings, which are unable to find new recruits for the moment. Volthoom has different aims, however. He wants to reconstruct the “Travel Lantern”, the one device that can send him home. Unfortunately, it was broken apart by Rami, and its energies used to make the first seven green rings. He will have to find all seven in order to reconstruct the lantern. We have our MacGuffin.

Get it? The quotation marks indicate sarcasm.

We are then treated to “Ten Billion years ago” when at the end of an epic cosmic war, the denizens of planet Galactica plan to send a champion into the cosmos to fight for the good of the universe. Alitha, a warrior by the looks of her, rises to the challenge and is immediately chosen by a green ring. Is this the first ring Volthoom must find?

Tough Love

Back in the present, Jessica is exhausted by the training regimen of Guy Gardener. Kilowog comes to check her progress. Guy doesn’t think she has what it takes. Kilowog tells her, through the story of the “Emerald Sun”, how her willpower is never gone. Sometimes it is difficult to see, but it is always there. He tells her not to let Guy push her around.

Oh Kyle, you scamp.

Simon isn’t faring much better with Kyle. Kyle’s constructed a maze for him, and even imprisons him in a giant pinball machine. None of Simon’s constructs can help him against Kyle’s prowess. Ultimately, Simon is able to free himself from Kyle’s maze, but not before Kyle creates dozens of green copies of himself. Now what, Simon?

Finally, one last check-in with Jessica and Guy. She’s had about enough of his yelling and his insults. She finally snaps (and we cheer) but will this be the end of Jessica’s training and her time with the GLC? If it is, it was so worth it.

Constructs Aplenty

Pansica, Ferreira, and Blond have done another great job with the art on this issue. The characters’ expressions and body language perfectly convey their emotions, and in an issue packed with turmoil, that is very important. From the dirt, sweat, and tears on Jessica’s face to the veins popping out of Guy Gardener’s neck, the art in this book really puts us there with the characters. Likewise, Kyle and Simon’s constructs are a highlight, especially Kyle’s Maze and pinball machine.

Can she have her own comic now please?

The Rami/Volthoom portion of the story continues to take a backseat to Simon and Jessica for now. This story is slowly building, but the art is just as good here, especially in the flashback. We get some really cool glimpses of a world ten billion years ago, and Alitha is a very striking character, both before and after her Green Lantern transformation. Here’s hoping there is more to her story.

Our poor Jess is really being put through the ringer by Guy. We have to hope that this was part of a long-term strategy to toughen her up, but even still, it’s hard to watch. At the same time, it makes the last page of the book so satisfying. If Guy was trying to push her over the edge, he succeeded. Simon and Kyle’s training is much more fun to watch, with Kyle’s irreverence and crazy constructs. The only slow portion is Rami/Volthoom’s which is still being set up, but the added wrinkle of the first rings is a nice bit of Green Lantern lore, and has our interest solidly piqued. Expect this part of the story to start picking up in the next few issues. But will Jessica still be a Green Lantern by then? We hope so, but we’ll have to find out next issue.

Fandometals Rating: 8/10 Emerald Suns

Green Lanterns #23: Lost in Space Part 2

Writer: Sam Humphries

Pencils: Eduardo Pansica

Inks: Julio Ferreira

Colors: Blond

Letters: Dave Sharpe

Images courtesy of DC Comics

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