Writer: Sam Humphries / Artists: Tom Derenick, Robson Rocha, Jack Herbert, Neil Edwards / DC Comics
DC is going far out of their way to make sure they’ve tried everything and put every other Green Lantern on the front lines before they bite the bullet and give John Stewart his own solo book. And I’m not just saying that because if Black Nerd Problems had a Mount Rushmore, Stewart would be on two of the four faces. I’m saying I know this to be true now because the existing non-Hal Jordan title (that’s how the Green Lantern hierarchy breaks down at DC), Green Lanterns is a dumpster fire except the dumpster is full of our expectations for what PoC superheroes could be.
I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m saying this because it’s true. This book is the literary equivalent of kale. You have that first bite and you keep chewing, hoping that it’s going to get better because everyone you know has been hyping it up. A few bites later, you come to the depressing realization that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel other than to politely spit it into a napkin and tuck it under your plate, hoping you can save face. That’s this book.
It’s hard to even give Sam Humphries credit for his portrayal of Jessica Cruz, the one saving grace of this book, because as interesting as she is, every other issue this book has almost intentionally gets in the way. I would love to read a book that delves into Jessica’s psyche and relationship with her family as a recovering agoraphobic turned intergalactic crimefighter. However, every time it looks like this book is going to become that, we have to trudge through the muck of the two villains we’re offered. The first one is the plot’s villain. I need DC to just call time of death on the Red Lanterns. They’re just not fun anymore. In fact, I’m not entirely sure they ever were. I don’t even consider it a spoiler in telling you that their plan is basically the plot from Ghostbusters II: make everyone be mean to each other. That’s it. That’s the whole plan. They’re so bland, the turn of events towards the end that should have been interesting was anything but.
The other villain is the one preventing this book from even being readable: Simon Baz. This character has gotten more unlikable with each issue. He clearly sucks at being a Lantern (in the context of this book, at least), but he’s like that middle manager at your job that acts like The Boss when they’re really just in charge of unlocking the door for maintenance. There is a scene in this book where it’s revealed that Baz carries a green construct gun. A pistol. This guy’s imagination is on par with that McBain character from The Simpsons.
As the for the art, it’s a little depressing that there are four decent artists penciling this book and it looks this average and unfinished. Seriously, it took fewer men to take Winterfell back from Ramsay Bolton than it did to draw this book. The facial expressions are limited, the Lantern effects look stiff and dull and Simon Baz apparently only has one expression that I can only refer to a “resting rage face.”
Bottom Line: I don’t even have any cute jokes or one liners to sugarcoat this because, honestly, this book doesn’t deserve it. Green Lanterns is trash.