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.