I’ve discussed Geoff Johns in the past, expressing my love of his Green Lantern and his ability to always fulfil the big crossover blockbuster. This is a 0 issue but in reality is a continuation of the lantern story with the introduction of a new lantern. This is Earth lantern number five and I am wondering how this will change things. He is an American born Lebanese Muslim from what I can tell. The Green Lantern character is unique because they all have different characteristics; Hal the risk taking cliché hero, Kyle the sensitive artist, Guy the loud mouthed jock and John the military architect. I have been trying to piece together where Simon Baz will take this and how he will use his power. I have some concerns.
The plot is an uninspiring story based around American racism towards a Middle Eastern family, whose children are born and raised in the US. This has been a recurrent theme in many forms of fiction since 9/11. Add to this the police/army arresting Baz for suspected terrorist activities and then sprinkle in the suggestion of torture! Johns is tiptoeing around dangerous territory here and appears to be more focused upon shock rather than plot progression. The confusing part of this book is Baz. He is not a sweet and innocent victim but a rebel. He is a known car thief and an illegal street racer, which cost him the life of a loved one. His sister works for the secretary of state and seems to show that he had a good family and upbringing. The crux is that he is a frustrated young man who has had racism to deal with all his life and now has been given immense power. This is an interesting concept.
Doug Mahnke has been drawing a version of the lantern books for years now. He has crisp detailing to his characters and the action is always epic. This is necessity in Green Lantern stories. I find his faces a little symmetrical and eyes too prominent, dehumanising them somewhat. Baz is drawn as an angry young man and certainly fits the character being portrayed. I find the issue on the whole quite confusing. It is difficult to know if you should like Baz as he is not a classic good guy but allows you sympathy, as the enemy are racist torturing police. The status quo for a Green Lantern is to join the space corps and fight intergalactic alien battles, which is what the Rise of the Third Army is essentially about. From this first issue this should not be allowed to happen. The mould should break as Baz has unresolved issues and should remain on Earth. Theoretically he could wreak vengeance on his oppressors as he certainly has the will and now the power. I expect that this will be tossed aside and this origin largely ignored. We shall see.
Confusing but interesting 7/10