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Green Lantern

Green Lantern: Legacy

When his grandmother passes away, aspiring comic artist Tai Pham inherits her old jade ring. Turns out, it’s a lot more than it appears! Tai finds himself inducted into the Green Lantern Space Corps, with veteran Lantern John Stewart as his new mentor. Tai is very confused. It appears that there was much his grandmother didn’t tell him while she was still alive. In the wake of her death, vandalism against her beloved shop, the Jade Market, has gotten worse, and there is talk of it being torn down to make room for new development called The Gold Coast. A young businessman named Xander Griffin is the one who offered to buy the shop. He seems nice enough, but can Tai trust him? Is he a mentor too, like John, or does he just want to get close to Tai to get what he wants and destroy the Pham legacy?

It’s surprising that this is a middle-grade graphic novel. It was written so beautifully and eloquently about many issues: death of a loved one, accepting responsibility, and listening to your own instincts even in the face of adversity. While these issues can be very heavy, Minh Lê’s writing is heartwarming and compassionate, never talking down to his audience.

We also see here an age-appropriate look at what it means to be a person of color, in this case Asian, in America. Readers see Tai’s grandmother’s journey to America and her dogged pursuit of building her dream from the ground up. We see the Pham family struggle to decide whether to sell the Jade Market in the name of “progress” or to fight for what they love. This gentle look at gentrification is presented in a way that the target audience will understand, and will make for a great talking point in class or family discussions.

Andie Tong’s art is lovely. The lineart fluctuated depending on the setting, which was a cool design choice that subtly let us know of a paradigm shift. The lineart is messier, a little more chaotic, in the real world; in Tai’s imagination and in the realm of the Green Lanterns, it’s a little cleaner and more focused. There are also a couple of fun Easter eggs for long-term GL fans sprinkled in.

This heartfelt tale, of a welcome new POC in the superhero genre, will be beloved by fans both young and old.

-Kathleen

Lê, Minh, and Andie Tong. Green Lantern: Legacy. 2020.

Blackest Night: Green Lantern

While I’ve read some of the Blackest Night stories (like the WW one), I’ve never actually read the main arc!

While the War of Light – the conflict between the ring bearers of the emotional spectrum – rages on, a threat to the entire universe arises. Black Hand has risen from the dead by the light of the Black Lantern ring. Across the universe, the dead are rising again. Those who have died and come back – Superman, Martian Manhunter, Wonder Woman – are being sought out by the black rings of death and becoming Black Lanterns. Hal Jordan, the best of the Green Lanterns, must find a way to stop the war and unite his fellow Lanterns against the Black Lanterns. Not only are the Lanterns in danger of being snuffed out – the whole universe is, too.

Holy crap! IT’S SO GOOD!!! I shouldn’t be surprised, because Geoff Johns penned it, but still!!! The action! The pace! The high stakes! It’s everything you want a superhero story to be, and then some. The writing assumes you’ve read past stories, and I feel like the story skipped between issues. From what I understand, the whole arc was told throughout multiple heroes’ books at the same time. The issues within are all sequential, so the skipping feeling makes sense. However, this collection has cover pages with recaps and more context between each issue, which is really helpful.

The art is some of the best I’ve ever seen. The coloring, of course, is stellar. So many Lantern colors and constructs playing off each other – eye candy! I think the layouts of all the panels are cinematic, with many wide shots of epic Lantern battles and close-ups of characters, highlighting tension. The figures are solidly drawn, in many dynamic and creative posts. I’m happy to report little to no gratuitous shots of Star Sapphire, Indigo-1, or any other heroines.

The only part I don’t like? That I didn’t read this sooner!!! I will be finding and devouring the rest of this arc.

– Kathleen

Johns, Geoff, and Doug Mahnke. Blackest Night: Green Lantern. 2010.

Star Trek Green Lantern: The Spectrum War

I picked this graphic novel on a whim as I am a huge Star Trek fan, and thought it would be a hoot to read about the Kelvin timeline crew meeting Hal Jordan.  IDW Publishing and DC Comics partnered together to bring us “The Crossover Event of 2015” and it did not disappoint!

I admit I am not very familiar with the Green Lantern Corps, so I really appreciated how explanations were worked into the narrative to bring you up to speed on how the whole power rings worked along with what the different colors symbolized. Cheat sheet: green, violet, blue and indigo rings are good while red, orange and yellow are bad.  Guess what- the violet, blue and indigo rings choose Star Trek crew while the evil rings went to a Klingon, a Romulan and a Gorn. These are not aliens you want to mess with folks!

Hal explains to Kirk and crew that he and a few other lanterns were pulled into the ST universe by Ganthet, one of the Guardians of the Universe, when he utilized Last Light to save the lantern corp when they were fighting a losing battle with villain Nekron. Evil lanterns from the DC universe have also been sucked into this timeline and they align with their color counterparts, but without their power batteries, all the lanterns are at risk.

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Johnson, Mike and Angel Hernandez. Star Trek Green Lantern: The Spectrum War. 2016 (first comic published in 2015)

Without spoiling too much, it would be safe for you to assume that there are several epic fights. Almost all of the main crew of the Enterprise get to wield ring power at one time or another. Several other green lanterns show up, and working as a team, a plan is put into action to save the universe. There is humor utilized throughout and the illustrations are top notch in this graphic novel. The Star Trek crew is drawn to resemble their movie counterparts, and as such it was sad to see Anton Yelchin (although this was written before his real-life death), yet it is heartwarming to know his portrayal will live on in books. I loved the variant art throughout, with all contributing artists submitting outstanding work.

Another crossover series with these characters is planned, so I look forward to more adventures with them. As Hal summarizes in the end, combining two motto’s into one- ” I am sworn to protect strange new worlds. New life. New Civilizations. To boldly go…by Lantern’s light…where no one has gone before!”

On a side note, I recently was in a good-natured Twitter fight with my friend Michael @ My Comic Relief about which is the best Chris. While he fought the good fight for Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy, my superior choice of Chris Pine as Kirk clearly was the winner.  In fact he even shared that a student of his said of Chris Pine, “The universe is in Chris Pine’s eyes!”. Not only does this student deserve an A+, it clearly shows how right I am. That this book that I had requested weeks earlier came in this week, is the final proof that MY Chris wins!

-Nancy

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