Friday, December 29, 2017

REVIEW: Green Lanterns #37 (2017)



GREEN LANTERNS #37 (2017) —
Regular cover by Mike McKone.
©DC Comics
GREEN LANTERNS #37
DC Comics, $2.99, 32pgs.
On-sale December 20, 2017

“A World of Our Own, Part 1”
20 pages, Read Time – 14:15

by Tim Seeley (story), Carlo Barberi (pencils), Matt Santorelli (inks), Ulises Arreola (colors), Dave Sharpe (letters). Edited by Mike Cotton.

 BOTTOM LINE: A well-drawn murder mystery with high emotional drama . . . on another planet. What more do you want?


I’ve enjoyed this series from the beginning, but especially so since Tim Seeley came on board a few issues back. It’s real easy for Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz to come off as one-note characters — she’s agoraphobic and prone to panic attacks, he’s a hot head — but Seeley has so far has succeeded in making these heroes  seem like characters with issues, rather than let the issues BE the characters.

He also makes a smart choice this outing to have the leader of Ungara (her name is never given this issue, and I’ve forgotten it from previous ones) do her thinking while sparring. That adds a bit of visual interest when the GLs show up for a chat, which is good given that the rest of the book doesn’t have a lot of action.

I am a bit confused by the commander, however. When we last saw her a few issues back, she seemed to be only a military commander, the captain of an Ungaran ship. Maybe a fleet. But this time out she is depicted as leader of the entire planet. I think I liked her better when she was middle-management.

There also is a bit of an ick factor concerning her daughter, Liseth Vok. Before, Liseth was made out to be a pop princess, basically the Brittany Spears of her planet. Although her exact age was not given, the strong insinuation was that she was the equivalent of an earth teenager. Even in this issue, she repeats that she’s too young to remember the great Ungaran wars that haunt her adopted mother. So, when Simon beds Liseth toward the end of this issue, even if she is the instigator in that encounter, it feels a little off.

There’s also a bit of off-ness in the visuals as well. Carlo Barberi does a great job, and has the kind of clean, dynamic style I prefer. And Matt Santorelli has a nice variation in his line weight that makes the drawings pleasing to the eye. But just as the appearance of Bolphunga’s pop changed from issues 35 to 36, the Molites, rescued by the Lanterns in Issue 34, look different this time out. I mean, they look mostly the same, except that they’ve grown by about three feet. It’s the babies who look like the adults did in their last appearance, when they were depicted as magenta space moles. I mean, the name of their old planet was Mol. How on the nose is that? Before they were two feet tall, at most, but here they’ve grown to more than twice that, at least, with one even depicted to be taller than Jessica! So, it seems editor Mike Cotton is either not paying attention, or else is just letting stuff go, figuring we won’t notice.

There are a few other things in this issue as well that Cotton ought to have caught, and said, hmmmm, let’s think about this for a moment. For one, Simon and Jessica go undercover to infiltrate the Molite camp, and, so, the rings change the color of their skin to Ungaran crimson. But then they are outfitted in work clothes that glow a bright green. That’s incognito imperium, ain’t it? Especially when sneaking in through a dark sewer pipe.

Also, when the Molites were rescued from Mol, we were told there were 10,000 of the race left in existence following the destruction of their planet. But here, in what is maybe less than a month story time from their last appearance, we see a nest with thousands of eggs. Now, suddenly, I’m SUPER curious to know a bit more about the mating cycle of Molites. Do they go into heat and all mate at once? Do they have super-short reproductive cycles? When their planet was blowing up, did that result in a lot of panic sex? And yet, somehow, I don’t think that was supposed to be the point of this story.

I also hope the point was not to depict the Ungarans as red-skinned red state tea partiers. Maybe it’s the current political climate we live in making me overly sensitive to social justice analogies, but I suddenly found myself seeing parallels to poor Muslim refugees and anti-immigration Trump supporters. But maybe that’s me. If I did not have the news media pounding the evil-Trump line into my brain day after day, I probably would not have given this plot a second thought as some supposed statement on current affairs.

Seeley does give some balance, by having the Molite Pope admit he stole some metal for his costume, and that he knew it was wrong. So, extrapolating that behavior to all, or most, or even many Mols, and we see the Ungarans have some cause to be irritated. It’s not just a case of, “They’re here, so we hate them. Make Ungara Great Again.” But, still . . .

Oh, and let me just say, I loved the cover. It’s not entirely clear to me if Simon and Jessica are entering through a force field, or rising up out of a pool, but, word balloons on a cover — YAY!

***RECOMMENDED***

STORY GRADE: B
ISSUE SCORE: 75.25

COVER: 9.00 | PLOT: 6.75 | SCRIPT: 8.75 | LAYOUT: 8.50 | ART: 8.50 | EDITS: 4.25
PRODUCTION: 9.25 | VALUE: 6.50 | COLLECTIBILITY: 7.25 | GOSH-WOW: 6.50

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