Justin Jordan brings us the further adventures of the USS Lantern helmed by Carol Ferris and Kyle Rayner. And if my Shatnerian intro wasn’t enough of a hint, this book is still focused squarely on the exploration of the DCU’s furthest and strangest points and inhabitants and I couldn’t be happier about it. We’ve got the Guardians, eager to learn everything about the evolution of the galaxy since their billion year imprisonment, you’ve got a great revolving door of strange, wonderful aliens that can drop in and out as they’re needed, but never feel misused or cheapened and you’ve got tension between Kyle and Carol so thick you could cut it and feed a family of six for DAYS. The concepts introduced are interestingly varied and complex, but never too complicated to merit either unnecessary exposition or confusion and the action is pitched and intense, but never without room for some great banter. Out of all the Lantern books, this one is definitely the underrated standout if for no other reason than its focus on the new and the weird. And it does all of this usually in the space of one or two issues without feeling rushed or scattershot.
We get a new linework artist in Andrei Bressan, and he keeps up the style and tone as well as the creature designs, both hideous and savage. We get a ton of action involving constructs, but everything stays contained and under control from one panel to the next moving with a hard-hitting staging that keeps the eye moving and never strays into needless jumps nor confusion of pacing. Hi-Fi’s on the colors and, as with the other issues of his I’ve reviewed, he has a real knack for color in a book where that is an absolute must-have. Anytime a spectrum’s power is invoked, the explosion of light and color is absolutely glorious and incredibly gratifying.
As great as the art generally is, there is some stiffness across a few pages and some unusual, consistent head and face proportions. The resolution of the villain’s plot is a sitcom-level trope that’s been not only well worn out, but parodied almost to death, making its presence here more than a little jarring and eye-roll worthy. It’s not that it’s out of place or even out of character, it’s just a cliche by this point that it’s hard to take seriously, especially in light of what we’ve seen from both the heroes and villains prior.
An overly simple ending doesn’t ruin what is still a stellar character book with some amazing action and alien designs. Justin Jordan, whether under editorial mandate or by his own power, has implemented a great concept that keeps Carol Ferris and Kyle Rayner in their own comfortable, semi-isolated corner of the DCU and allows the two characters to grow, mature and most importantly BANTER without being caught up in every single fight the Green Lanterns find themselves in. Frankly, I hope this idea goes on for a long, long time as I can scarcely get enough.