Green Lanterns #22

 Sam Humphries
 Ronan Cliquet
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Mike McKone & Jason Wright

Publisher: DC Comics

green lanterns #22A review by Nico Sprezzatura.

Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are the latest people tasked with the responsibility of protecting Earth as Green Lanterns, but after a few adventures spent getting the hang of things (as well as each other), it’s time for them to gird their loins.

Green Lanterns #22 is the start of “Training Day”, which finds Simon and Jessica ending up on the new headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps — and as they learn from John Stewart, it’s time for Lantern boot camp. Most of this issue is setup for what’s coming next, so it doesn’t make for a wholly satisfactory meal on its own terms, but there’s enough good here to whet your appetite for more.

Despite being well into its twenties and a year into Rebirth, Green Lanterns #22 is actually a pretty good jumping-on point for new readers. I’ve only caught up to the first arc (“Rage Planet”) so far, but I didn’t feel lost while reading this issue.

There’s a certain plot development that might make you think “what?” if you haven’t been reading Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps, but it’s quickly explained and not dwelled on. All you really need to know going in is that Simon and Jessica are the current Green Lantern of Earth — and if you have any interest in this title, you probably already knew that.

Having read some of Humphries’ prior work, his sense of space-faring adventure (and humor) is very much on display here. Much of Green Lanterns has been concerned with Simon and Jessica learning the ropes while on the job, meaning they’re yet to meet many of their intergalactic partners. That changes in Green Lanterns #22, with them meeting stalwart Lanterns like the aforementioned John, as well as the newly-returned Kyle Rayner.

Part of the appeal of the Green Lantern franchise is the wide breadth of characters you can latch onto, since it’s a shared mantle and not one exclusively associated with a single person. For example, I’m not overly interested in Hal Jordan or Guy Gardner as Lanterns, but I definitely relate with Simon and Jessica — the latter in particular.

While forms of anxiety and stress have certainly shown up in various superhero media, the way anxiety is portrayed in this series is fascinatingly accurate. Jessica’s struggles with worrying and self-doubt are a major part of her characterization.

As someone who’s recently been diagnosed with that stuff (and I mean actually diagnosed by professionals, not just by myself), I can really identify with her. While it doesn’t show up much in this particular issue, I know from personal experience that it’s still there, regardless of whether or not she shows it. With mental health issues remaining stigmatized and underrepresented, characters like Jessica are important!

As for the art, Ronan Cliquet and Hi-Fi provide appealing visuals to accompany Humphries’ script. There are two moments in particular (a fragmented layout spread early in the issue, and a double-page splash midway through) that I found very aesthetically interesting for different reasons.

The former, which shows Jessica in the middle of an anxiety-induced panic while lost in space, conveys exactly what it’s like to be in a frenzied moment of worrying through constricting, tight close-ups. The latter is just a marvelous example of superhero comic art, showing the Green Lantern HQ from an outsider like Jessica’s perspective as she first experiences it. There’s a great sense of wonder told through Cliquet’s illustrations, but especially in that section.

Hi-Fi’s coloring throughout is very nice, as well, which you’d kinda hope for in a book with the name of a color in its title. As you’d expect, there’s a lot of green here, but they’re complemented with other colors (and shades of green) to avoid looking monotonous.

Credit’s due to letterer Dave Sharpe as well, who renders Humphries’ hefty script with clear visual hierarchy on each page. You know exactly where the eye is supposed to go as it travels down the page and onto the next, and there are fun flourishes with text boxes and dialogue bubbles that make the text look good, too.

The Verdict
If you haven’t been keeping up with the Green Lantern books but want a place to start, Green Lanterns #22 is as good a place as any to start. By focusing on two compelling (newer) characters instead of the old guard, Green Lanterns is fun and well-worth paying attention to.

Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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