Future State: Green Lantern #1 review

Here is is, the Green Lantern comic for people who don’t like Green Lantern. You want ringslinging heroes vs dastardly supervillains? Forget it, Future State Green Lantern aims to be different. And it succeeds.

Sadly, it’s not a comic that has me clamouring for more.

The book is set in 2035, according to online sources – the stories don’t tell us. The lights have gone out for the Green Lantern Corps, stranding members around the universe. Again, the comic doesn’t bother telling us why. Instead we’re thrown straight into the action. Oh boy, is there action in the first story, Last Lanterns.

The biggest name Lantern in here is John Stewart. I know it’s him because writer Geoffrey Thorne tells us. You wouldn’t know from the art as he has a more squat body than previously, and a brand new head. I think the model for the face is actor Idris Elba. I guess that was a request to artist Tom Raney, who’s done so much DC work that I can’t see him going off model for the sake of it. And while John has lost his magic wishing ring, he does have a space barber – just look at that hip new hairdo. Well, hip for 2021.

Someone else with a new look is G’nort, no longer an adorable alien pup, but a big dog. A big vicious dog. Oooh, edgy.

I found this a tough read. It’s pages and pages of former lanterns in a vicious battled between warring aliens. There’s no context for the conflict, no reason to care about the outcome. A bunch of folk from a race with oversized heads in a spaceship are working with John and co, but who they are, I don’t know – more former GLs? The ex-Lanterns – we also see Salaak, and there’s someone called Ilo who looks like Ragdoll and a woman going by Hood – are absent of personality, reduced to ciphers spouting military talk. I realise that John’s peaceful past as an architect has had a marine career added in, but really, there’s no reason for this war story to be linked to the Green Lantern mythos.

Raney works hard, filling the panels with aliens and action, while colourist Mike Atiyeh also does his best, but I found Thorne’s story barely intelligible and basically dull.

The second tale is more my cup of tea. It’s Jessica Cruz in Die Hard, defending a space station from members of the Sinestro Corps. I miss seeing her in costume, wielding the ring, but this is a very recognisable character, referencing her superhero journey. Jessica’s battle against anxiety informs Ryan Cady’s story at every stage.

And it’s not all Jess as super-Super, as she grabs the Persuader’s Atomic Axe to defend herself against Lyssa Drak in a beautifully rendered scene by artist Sami Basri and colourist Hi-Fi. I’d happily buy a present-day Jessica series by this creative team.

The Guy Gardner strip shows us the moment the Green Lanterns were cut off from their emerald energy.

It’s a fun beat, and leads to a tale showing Guy’s surprising success at bringing peace to a warring world. Well, mostly. I wonder if writer Ernie Altbacker had Guy’s original job as a teacher in mind when he wrote this comedy of errors. It’s a cute diversion, ending just before the repeating gag gets boring, with slick art from Clayton Henry and Marcelo Maiolo.

Henry and Maiolo also give us the issue’s cover, whose best feature is that it gives us a recognisable John Stewart. Going by the ‘also featuring…’ blurb at the bottom, I assume John was meant to have some kind of logo up there.

Despite ending on what looks to be a cliffhanger, solicitations say the Jessica Cruz story isn’t continuing next issue. The John Stewart story is, so I’ll be passing.

All in all, this is another disappointing Future State entry – it seems that when DC decided to pull the plug on 5G as the official ongoing continuity, they did us a big favour.

15 thoughts on “Future State: Green Lantern #1 review

  1. The invading aliens in the first story are Khunds. Theoretically they should be an automatic showing of who to root for and what the stakes are but they’re the only LoSH adversaries who have never been developed past ‘generic bad guys we must always fight and never understand’. The story remains crap.

    Jessica never clicked for me as a Lantern but I wanted to see her with a yellow ring. Batman proves there is nothing wrong with inspiring fear so I’ve never understood why top to bottom the Yellow Lantern Corps is automatically evil.

    The Guy story was fun, only hurt by the DC house style art…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yeah, I know the Khunds, they’re even named, and there are a couple of bits of Legion slang, but it was all so very dull.

    Thanks for the speedy comment, Steve, it came as I was doing my just-published reread… there’s a whole new final paragraph now. But your life is no worse for not seeing it!

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  3. Someday I might find this on Comixology for a buck, just to read what sounds like a cool Jessica Cruz story, and to enjoy some nice Clayton Henry art. Until then, though, hard pass.

    I remember being really enthused about this event, just two weeks ago? We’ll see what the other books bring, but I’ve gone from considering sampling all of this mini-line to taking a wait-and-see approach with almost everything.

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    1. They haven’t helped themselves by using different times and maybe even different timelines. Gotham City’s aesthetic not matching anyone else’s confuses too. Next time they do something similar, I hope it’s a future as laid out by Levitz’s Legion. A utopia with some problems is much better than every single thing being worse…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now that would be worth seeing. I may take a month off new comics and reread some Levitz Legion, and maybe a few dozen post-Zero Hour ‘Archie Legion’ books.

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  4. It’s a shame, isn’t it, I thought there may be some fun future takes, but it’s all so very depressing. I couldn’t face trying Teen Titans or Nightwing after reading the interview with the writer who apparently finds it cool to have Nightwing become Deathstroke’s apprentice…

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    1. I haven’t read it, as I 1st thought it featured the new Flash from JL and I just didn’t think it was necessary to have him be non-binary or anything.

      But after realizing he was only in JL, I still wasn’t too enthused about it.
      Haven’t gone mad about most of FS, though I definitely enjoyed most of Next Batman #1 and the Next Batman story in #2.

      Thoroughly enjoying them so far.
      I haven’t read some of the FS stuff and some of it’s been a bit mixed, honestly.
      Superman of Metropolis not so good, Dark Detective the same (though Grifter was better than I expected).

      Our Worlds at War was mostly good, mostly for the Superman story, though the issue overall went on longer than it needed to.
      I will say, the idea of Nightwing working with/for Deathstroke is kinda intriguing.

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  5. The “Nightwing” book isn’t out yet, but perhaps you are referring to Dick’s appearance with the Teen Titans. Which was not a good book. Tim Sheridan is going to be writing the ongoing Teen Titans, which probably means I won’t enjoy it. I felt Sheridan should pay ME $3.99 to compensate me for the effort I had to put into following his disconnected story. Also, like any TV writer dabbling in comics, he writes dialog where characters don’t finish sentences before being interrupted by other characters. That works when real people do it, or when actors put it across. It’s more difficult for readers to follow it. It’s a technique I’d like to see used sparingly, but a few writers love it. Overall, Sheridan made the book as difficult to understand as possible. Plus of course, the setting – dystopian, and many Titans dead.

    I liked Robin Eternal – which is Tim Drake, featuring Stephanie Brown and a person named Darcy who was either actually part of We Are Robin, or is simply said to have been in that series. She is an interesting character – deaf, with an advanced hearing aid, but the story also features her using ASL with Tim. I’m not happy about the cliffhanger, though.

    This Green Lantern book – well, the Book of Guy was humorous. The John Stewart story was not interesting; the Jessica Cruz ok if you can can accept that she could actually stand up to these ring bearers.

    I thought the Cruz who survived Justice League Odyssey was the one who died and was resurrected and then powered by Omega beam energy, in which case where did that power go? There’s a chance, though, that I misconstrued and she sacrificed herself, and the Cruz who survived was the younger Green Lantern who never died (time travel was involved, so bear with me). Well, one of them survived and the other didn’t. Whoever she was, she was last seen departing for Oa.

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  6. Thanks for details on the Teen Titans book, it really did sound like another spin on the death carousel. I probably was mixing it up with Nightwing, it just all sounds so dreadful.

    I saw Robin Eternal had a link to We Are Robin, which ensured a pass for me… I can’t remember a single thing about that book other than that Duke Thingie was it it.

    I’d not heard any of that stuff about Jessica – I suppose dying is a rite of passage for superheroes these days. I doubt the creators behind this book gave a stuff about where characters were when last we met, they had their stories and that was it.

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    1. The We Are Robin character [if she really was in the book] requires no knowledge of the book. It’s used as shorthand as to how she knows Tim and is willing to help. If you read it, I’d love to read your reaction to the cliffhanger!

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      1. OK, Robin Eternal read and bought. Lovely art, I like this Darcy character’s visual but it’s crappy the writer gives us no real info on any pre-existing relationship with Tim, found the Magistrate stuff really dull again… and the cliffhanger? So Tim is soaked in another of these bulking-up formulas that will make him immortal? My reaction is non-plussed! I won’t be bothering with #2, none of this is going anywhere.

        And the Robin on the cover, that face was the Jason actor from TV’s Titans, surely? With added freaky ears! Nothing like Tim.

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  7. It looked to me like Tim died, actually, and if so, that’s what I didn’t like. I think he broke his neck when he landed awkwardly. Of course, he would be far from the first Bat-guy to be resurrected in Lazarus glop.

    Ah, I see Brosseau, who I mentioned in the Truth & Justice comment, lettered this one too. Not using the same left-sloping font here. I don’t love his font choice here either, but it’s not as terribly distracting. Also, he uses gold on red for some narration boxes – a bad combination. But perhaps that’s been the traditional color for Tim’s inner monologue.

    Barrows draws a really bulked up Tim and (a sadly partially blinded) Steph. Darcy looks much more like the Stephanie of Batgirl vintage.

    One thing that intrigued me about the cover is how it’s credited to “Irvin Rodriguez with Emanuela Lupacchino.” Usually she does pencils, and has an inker. Sometimes inks her own work. But these credits suggest a different arrangement. Maybe one of them did the layout, or the backgrounds, or that peculiar face.

    Can’t quarrel about the dystopian Magistrate business. All the Bat titles are dealing with this situation. And it’s the same mayor as the one just elected in the main continuity, I guess in his second or third term by the time of Future State. So Gotham is well on its way towards this police state.

    But I was impressed with Mariko Tamaki’s writing on “Dark Detective” – her run on Wonder Woman was poor enough that I couldn’t understand how she was going to be the next writer on the monthly Detective, but now I can see how she might succeed. And Dan Mora’s art was superb. I know nothing about the Wildstorm Grifter character, but the “Grifters” backup in Dark Detective, although set in this same Gotham, was quite funny. And it’s a full 22 pages, same length as the main feature. A lighter tone was welcome.

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    1. Maybe letterers are being asked to do their worst work for these new Digital First books – Sensational WW #3 has the excellent Rob Leigh also giving us Wobblefont.

      I see what you mean about Tim maybe dying but he was so quickly glooped that it had no meaning – and besides, we’re in a potential future, I can’t see any reason to care.

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