Green Lantern Corps #21

Written by: Van Jensen
Art by: Bernard Chang

While this series is typically my least favourite of the Green Lantern Family titles, this issue is a definite improvement from what’s come before. Within this comic is solid character development, expectedly from John Stewart, but not so expectedly from secondary characters like Salaak. Green Lantern Corps #21 establishes firmly the characters within its pages, but boldly leaves the book’s mission statement in question. While uncertainty is in the air, this installment is a step forward for the DCU’s space cops.

It was a good choice to leave John Stewart as the lone main character for this title, as his personality is often over-shadowed by larger than life characters such as Guy Gardner. Jensen accurately writes John Stewart as the level-headed of the bunch, evident in the scene where his longtime on and off flame, Fatality, confesses her love, yet John is still apprehensive.

While John remains stoic, Salaak shows more emotion than usual when he attempts to resign from the Corps in this issue. Jensen smartly takes advantage of Soranik Natu’s similar experience of feeling like a failure to Korugar, to help Salaak find solace in his past mistakes. The sincerity of the interaction piqued my interest in the two more than it has  since the New 52, so I look forward to their struggle finding a place in the universe, mirroring the state of the Corps.

The new recruits are briefly showcased in this issue, curiously as individuals who fear the Corps as a result of the Third Army and want nothing to do with it. While this direction is different from the comedic approach in the main Green Lantern title, Jensen hints towards tension between the new members and the mission statement of the Corps. It would be nice to see this series take a mostly light-hearted Avengers: The Initiative approach, but the mix of having the “unlikely new recruits” with the thought provoking veterans feels a little jarring at this point.

The art from Bernard Chang captures the pure Science-Fiction/Adventure aspect of the series, as he creates menacing characters who you can tell are pissed even though they have tentacles covering their faces. Chang manages to maintain the same look of fear and concern in the new recruits’ faces, even though they are of different species. My only qualm about the art, which Chang can do nothing about, is that the look of each Green Lantern title is too similar. For books that are supposed to hit different angles genre-wise, I expect a noticeable difference in art styles.

This issue grounds firmly the emotional stance of longtime Corps members, and teases conflict to be had with the new recruits. While the tone of the book feels a little uneven at times, and its position among the Green Lantern lineup is still unclear, Green Lantern Corps #21 is a strong character-driven story that pushes the characters to find an identity in a new era.

Score: 8.2/10