Green Lantern (#1, 2021) – Geoffrey Thorne

2 out of 5

Like, I know: I’m not a DC reader, but… shouldn’t a #1 issue be some form of a jumping on point? Is there a reason to prop a character on the cover of a first issue, suggesting they’re going to be the star – 11-year old “Teen” Lantern Keli Quintela, in this case – when they’re only in the book peripherally, and not in any kind of way that makes them actually seem important to the story?

Green Lantern, as a book, is often cluttered, but stemming from the 90s up through the recent Grant Morrison run, I’ve had occasion to pick up GL issues over the years, and I can normally follow along, especially when it’s the start of a run. But this issue is rather underwhelming from its opening page – John Stewart, front and center, bleating a warning regarding something off-panel, but via a splash image that’s rather too cluttered to really give off any sense of danger – and then spends its extra page length wanderingly establishing various premises before half-assing its way back to that opening image. Scenes don’t “transition,” we just drift from one page to the next, and the character carryover during that – if Stewart ends a conversation in scene A, then is on the next page in scene B – feels out of time and place, not connecting events in an immersively linear fashion, with Dexter Soy’s and Marco Santucci’s shared art duties prettily colored by Alex Sinclair, but lost for any sense of grounding amidst all the sci-fi doodads and alien races.

I guess there’s a conclave of some type going on, voting to allow Oa into some galaxy league of planets, and the current GL corp head honchos are there as either emissaries or security – details left off the page or pushed into dialogue corners, or maybe told in some book that lead in to this one. Meanwhile, Teen Lantern is getting into a spat with some folk causing a kerfluffle elsewhere at the conclave, leading back to that initial splash page, but it’s still hard to tell if there’re any stakes to this battle, even after however many lead-in pages – no one really has a defined voice to give the preceding conversations character, and the actual text is oddly too loose and too wordy; bandied-about space lingo that doesn’t seem to arrive at a point.

From a high level, the book looks alright, and each individual page is readable – Thorne’s writing isn’t poor, by any means; again, it’s more that the issue feels like it’s lacking any central hook, visually or narratively, and so it wanders from page to page, trying to break the story. That it wimpishly resolves our splash page attack, only to double back with an unmotivated cliffhanger, suggests things still have a ways to go before they can hit that break.