While fans of the emerald crusaders await the conclusion of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps next month, writer Dan Jurgens and artist Mike Perkins have already begun laying the foundation of the Corps future as with their new run on Green Lanterns. The duo launched their spin on the title in issue #50 with a tremendously well executed issue that promised exciting times ahead for the Lanterns. Green Lanterns #51, on the other hand, fails to deliver on that promise with a generally average issue featuring exposition laden and dull dialogue, inconsistent art, and only a few exciting moments.
The dialogue and narration in #51 feels like it belongs in a comic from the late 70’s or early 80’s rather- and I don’t mean that in a good way. Much of Jessica Cruz’s narration simply points out what is being depicted by Mike Perkins art or simply reiterates what is has already been discovered in dialogue, but in a more melodramatic way. There are times where this narration feels a bit reminiscent of noir-style narration, but for the most part it’s dull, serving no greater purpose to the story.
Unfortunately, the same can be said for the dialogue. There are no witty remarks or impassioned conversations, just a lot of characters reacting to or describing the things around them in the most mundane and obvious ways. I actually laughed at a completely serious line from Kyle Rayner when he says “What we’re seeing is so off the rails that I have to wonder if an outside influence is behind this…” No s--t, Kyle! Its a line that is so boneheaded and obvious yet indicative of the quality of the dialogue in this issue- nothing is added to the scenes by the dialogue, the characters simply state the obvious as if the reader isn’t paying attention.There’s moments in this book where the art is amazing, where I stayed on the same page or panel long after reading the words to study the intricacies of Perkins work. Like how he’s able to convey a wide variety of emotion across a characters face and body to elevate the intensity of any scene. Colorist Hi-Fi deserves special recognition here too, for his masterful use of lighting in character close ups to create a sense of tension or uncertainty.
Yet for every page and panel that helps elevate the scene on hand, there seems to be another that’s wildly inconsistent or contradicts the context of the moment. The opening pages, for example, are hard to make sense of with no real sense of space nor direction for the characters. Then there are panels where the expressions plastered on Lanterns’ faces don’t really match what they’re saying or what is happening. In the same page where Perkins shines to showcase the loss of a Guardian, he stumbles three quarters through the page when Kyle Rayner and Simon Baz are shown looking more inquisitive and entranced than saddened or devastated by the death of a Guardian.
The pacing of this issue is still solid, much like #50’s, even if it slows down towards the end. Each narrative moment flows effortlessly into the next without disrupting the natural flow of the story. Sure, this issue is lighter on excitement than the previous installment but there are still solid moments that will get readers hearts racing despite boring dialogue preceding it. The action isn’t as unrelenting or as prevalent here as it was in #50, but #51 still packs a decent punch in the excitement department.
Another pitfall of obvious dialogue and narration is the lack of story progression. #51 barely moves the overarching plot forward- if at all. The general mystery of what’s happening on Mogo doesn’t expand, rather reader’s obvious suspicions are confirmed- a Guardian dies (as the cover eludes to) and somebody is attacking the Lanterns home world, which anybody who read number #50 could easily surmise.
Green Lanterns #51 is a big disappointment, completely losing all the narrative momentum and general excitement that had been built up by #50. In terms of overall quality, this issue feels like a complete 180 from what preceded it. The dull exposition and dialogue, inconsistent art, and lack of meaningful narrative progression drag Green Lanterns #51 into mediocrity.