With the grand finale to Robert Venditti’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps hitting shelves August 8, the future of the main Green Lanterns characters remains shrouded in uncertainty. Will Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz helm the main Green Lanterns title in the DC Universe? Will readers still be seeing John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner? Green Lanterns #50 drops this week to answer both questions with a resounding yes. This is an amazing issue, kicking off a new arc featuring just about every major Lantern in a story that is incredibly well-drawn, ties together both Lanterns titles effortlessly, and is rife with intrigue.
Writer Dan Jurgens and artist Mike Perkins take the reins of Green Lanterns with this “extra-sized” anniversary issue and they simply knock it out of the park. The two manage to bring the casts and stories of both ongoing series together seamlessly while even injecting hints that the aftermath of No Justice is the cause of this sudden conflict. This brings the series a level of consistency and continuity within the larger DCU that has been sorely missing.
It’s pretty clear throughout this issue that this will be the main Lanterns title moving forward. This issue takes place after the events of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50, which would be totally fine if it weren’t for the fact that it doesn’t hit stands for another month. Due to the timing of this issue, Jurgens and Perkins have to tread lightly: they must build on Hal Jordan without truly referencing it to avoid spoilers. It only slightly impacts the story here, but it does lessen the impact of Venditti’s upcoming finale since readers now know the Corps comes out on top largely unaffected.
Regardless of the timing, there is so much to love about this issue. Mike Perkins’ art is absolutely fantastic through his conveyance of all ranges of emotion, action, and the creativity Lanterns are afforded through their rings. He draws facial expressions so well that every scene has an added emotional depth to it — whether it be fear, uncertainty, aggression, or joy. The action sequences feel intense without drowning out the nuances that convey the sheer chaos.
Above all, I thoroughly enjoyed how Perkins (and Jurgens) made use of the Lanterns’ light constructs to showcase the their creativity and versatility as heroes. I’ve noted in past reviews that there wasn’t enough creative use of Lantern power in this series and Perkins washes all my worries away.
Kyle Rayner manifests constructs of more superheroes to keep falling buildings from crashing down, Jessica Cruz comically creates an umbrella to fight back against rain, and John Stewart even saves himself from the vacuum of space by creating a last second oxygen tank to keep him alive after a savage beatdown from a mysterious new antagonist. These are just a few examples of Perkins’s creative use of Lantern constructs that showcase what makes Green Lanterns so entertaining in the first place: their versatility.
Longtime readers of Green Lanterns will be pleased at how Jurgens handles Jessica Cruz. Cruz has experienced immense progression over the last four months and Jurgens builds upon that to show a Jessica readers haven’t seen before — a happy and confident Jess. Jurgens reaffirms readers that Jessica truly is an entirely new Lantern following the events of “Ghosts of the Past.” This is whole new territory for Jessica; she’s in full control of her will and can stand taller than most other Lanterns. It’s refreshing to see a character who has been put through the ringer finally reach new heights and I can’t wait to see what a mentally strong Jessica can do.
This book’s greatest strength is the ever-present sense of mystery and dread throughout, managing to intrigue and excite without coming off as too grandiose. Has the Source Wall brought forth these new threats? How can there be a vicious storm on Mogo that is threatening the lives of its inhabitants? Why the hell are John Stewart and Jessica Cruz’s rings openly rebelling against them? All these mysteries are presented at the perfect pace — enough to keep readers intrigued but not so much any revelations can be easily surmised. If this issue is any indicator, Jurgens has some surprises in store that he will roll out with excellent timing.
Dan Jurgens and Mike Perkins have no easy task ahead of them: they have to combine the characters, stories, and histories of two ongoing series together all the while tying into the events of the larger DCU. With Green Lanterns #50, Jurgens and Perkins prove they’re more than up to the task with a debut that seamlessly blends the existing series, features incredible creative direction, and presents an intriguing new threat for the Lanterns to face. If this is the direction the Green Lanterns are trending, I think all DC readers should be excited.