As we move into the second month of DC’s Future State initiative, many of the various series are beginning to conclude. This week brings the conclusion to Future State‘s Green Lantern anthology. Here, John Stewart’s battle against the Khund cult culminates, alongside giving readers a glance at how Teen Lantern and Hal Jordan react to the Lantern’s loss of light. On the whole, this issue delivers a flawed main tale but some more cohesive backups than the previous entry which sets a perplexing trajectory for the Green Lantern’s future that will leave many fans dissatisfied.
The issue opens with the finale of Geoffrey Thorne and Tom Raney’s “Last Lanterns”. With John Stewart captured by the Khund cult and death swarming around the planet’s inhabitants, the stakes are at an all-time high. Thorne continues to imbue the story with a creative sci-fi flair, spanning from bits of alien dialects to the more intriguing plot points. However, the issue’s dialogue becomes a weak point for the story. This lies largely in the protagonist’s dialogue that takes a bizarrely annoying shift about halfway through the story. Due to his injuries, Stewart develops a frequent cough that ends up more distracting than effective. The blatant repetition with minimal visual cues unfortunately stunts the flow of the reading experience. What makes it even more bizarre is its sudden disappearance in the final panels, making the preceding pages all the more off-putting.
When it comes to the art, Raney retains the same stylistic choices from the first issue. However, the more one reads, the more the inconsistencies become apparent. This is especially prevalent when it comes to faces and bodily proportions. Fine details, sizes, and shapes seem to shift between pages and sometimes even between panels, which unfortunately ends up detracting from the story. Taken as a whole, this conclusion bears more problems than merits and leaves one wanting.
For this issue’s first backup, Josie Campbell and Andie Tong catch up with Teen Lantern. Campbell gives the narrative a fun sense of humor that sets it apart from the hopeless tone that has pervaded many of the other tales. Teen Lantern’s boundless energy and hopeful nature shine through here to make for an engrossing tale. Tong’s art adds a crisp and clear visual style to the story that aids in capturing Teen Lantern’s emotional turns alongside the moments of action. Wil Quintana’s coloring also serves as another solid addition as he makes the most of juxtaposing the Green Lantern against the encroaching darkness. Dave Sharpe’s lettering pairs fantastically with this creative team and further sets this backup apart. His creative usage of onomatopoeia and allowing key words to float outside the bubbles makes for an engaging reading experience.
The concluding backup picks up with Hal Jordan as he pushes his ring to its limits in search of the Green Lantern Corps. Penned by frequent Green Lantern scribe Robert Venditti and illustrated by Dexter Soy, this backup serves as a nice addition to the issue by including some actual Green Lantern action. The narrative mainly develops through Jordan’s internal monologue as he rockets through the galaxy, which ends up painting the broad-strokes of what has occurred in the wake of the Corp’s disappearance. Venditti unsurprisingly captures Jordan’s tone and voice which greatly benefits the tale. Soy’s artistic style also lends itself to the narrative. His visceral and frenetic renderings give the story an energetic flow and make for an engaging sprint across the galaxy. His linework is then further complemented by Alex Sinclair’s colors. Sinclair’s use of greens leap off the page and give weight and depth to Soy’s already great pencils. From a dialogue and artistic standpoint, this is one of this series’ better backups, though it does beg some interesting narrative questions.
One could very easily question this story’s appearance within the broader context of the two issues. The story’s placement at the very end of issue #2 does come off as somewhat strange as it largely sets the stage for all the preceding narratives. Unfortunately, it does make one wonder if it could have been better served as one of the initial tales. Further perplexing is the direction it sets up for the Green Lantern’s future.
From the get-go, this collection of Green Lantern stories has retreaded a frequent plot point concerning the Lantern’s loss of light. This style of story has been done before and while it can offer some fun character moments that show the ring does not make the hero, these particular tales rarely rise above this casual observation. Especially taking into account the end of Hal Jordan’s backup that leaves off with a “to be continued in 2021”, it seems to set up a redundant future for the series. The exact plot point of Hal being the last Lantern in the galaxy who becomes responsible for rebuilding the Corps was told just barely over four years ago, by none other than Venditti himself. Venditti took this plot and wrote an entire 50 issue series, so rounding out this Future State entry by seemingly setting up the exact same plot point comes off as extremely disappointing and redundant.
At the end of the day, this begs the question of, “who were these stories for?” While they do show the resolve and will the various Lantern’s possess, they rarely offer anything new to the mythos. Reserving any use of the Green Lantern rings until the very end of the second issue becomes even more confusing, especially for new readers who might pick up these collections and wonder why the series is even called “Green Lantern.” Unfortunately, these tales do little to engage with new fans and will only confuse and dishearten current Green Lantern readers.
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