It has been a long time since the DC Universe has caught up with the majority of the Green Lantern Corps. With Hal Jordan off solving multiversal mayhem and John Stewart busy combating the Endless Winter, there have been few books of late that focus on the corps as a whole. Here is where Future State: Green Lantern comes in. As part of the line-wide glimpse into the future, this title offers a look at how the various Green Lanterns readers know and love fare in the uncertain future. Collected in this oversized issue are three tales, each centering on their own specific Lantern. This anthology approach lends itself to the hard sci-fi premise behind the Lanterns and gives readers more bang for their buck.
The overarching premise woven into each narrative is that the Green Lanterns have lost their light. Much like the Future State: The Flash, this de-powering of the titular heroes occurs with little to no explanation and serves as the main status quo shift. In turn, the loss of power rings affects each Lantern differently and presents them each with unique challenges. John Stewart must protect helpless alien denizens from an incursion of warmongering savages and Jessica Cruz struggles to survive against the Sinestro Corp on a failing power battery station, all the while Guy Gardner must make the most of his new planet after being stranded there by his ring. All three tales are helmed by different creative teams that all operate in tandem to bring this collection together.
“Last Lanterns,” the initial story that centers around John Stewart, comprises the bulk of the collection. Here, the future Green Lantern writer and artist combination of Geoffrey Thorne and Tom Raney make their debut into the universe. Readers are immediately thrust into the fray as Stewart and his ragtag group of ex-Lanterns holds the line against overwhelming odds. It is a bit jarring at the start as the narrative does little to preface the battle’s context, but as the story goes on things start clicking into place. Despite this, Thorne nails Stewart’s voice from the get-go. He captures his commanding presence throughout the story while also retaining the heart that lies at the root of the character. Raney’s art style pairs well with this energetic story. His style evokes something pulled out of a classic 2000 AD strip and gives the story its own unique texture.
Following this comes Jessica Cruz’s tale, “The Taking of Sector 0123.” Writer Ryan Cady delivers a fun riff on “The Taking of Pelham 123,” and mixes it with sci-fi elements. Cady captures Cruz’s debating internal monologue and also incorporates within her the courage of Ripley from Alien. Another striking aspect of this entry comes from Sami Basai’s paneling paired with Hi-Fi’s colors. Basai’s panel layouts keep the narrative energetic and tense, alongside giving it a distinctive flow. Hi-Fi’s coloring then comes in to create a contrasting pallet of greens and yellows. Dave Sharpe’s lettering also works well to match the panel flow and also leans into the small details of the ending twist.
Rounding out this collection comes the “Book of Guy,” which aptly centers around Guy Gardner. Here, Ernie Altbacker leans more into a comical narrative with a surprisingly timely thematic thrust. Altbacker imbues Gardner with his classic headstrong and reckless attitude and puts him in a situation that calls for the exact opposite. The narrative contains a rather humorous tone throughout and serves to balance out the more serious previous stories. Paired with Altbacker is artist Clayton Henry, whose crisp line work creates a fresh and engaging alien world. Marcelo Maiolo’s coloring adds further layers to the world and breathes life into it. While a fun entry overall the ending does come off as a bit abrupt, which illustrates the downside to this narrative approach.
Perhaps the most creative aspect of the issue lies in its use of the anthology format. It allows the issue to juggle the multiple stories and provide a story for every lantern fan. The only downside to this approach within this issue specifically is that the second and third stories feel cut short. Where Stewart’s story leaves off on a cliffhanger “to be continued,” the other two stories end definitely on, “the end.” This feels especially prevalent with Jessica’s narrative ending with a potential status quo shift. These threads could be picked up in the follow-up issue, but the solicitation text gives little indication. Whether or not this anthology-style continues remains to be seen but here it does provide a unique change of pace that could be refined.
Altogether, Future State: Green Lantern delivers a satisfactory look at the Green Lantern Corps’ future. Each writer does well at capturing their Lantern’s voice and tone, and the accompanying artists suit each narrative. While the anthology format definitely lends itself to this portion of the DC Universe, there remains room to improve the balancing of the narrative threads. Despite this, Green Lantern fans new and old should not miss out on this fun and entertaining collection of stories.
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