As part of this month’s creative switcheroo on all the Green Lantern family of titles, “Green Lantern Corps” #21 has Van Jensen, Robert Venditti and Bernard Chang take over the creative reigns. But for a book with a basic concept that seems fairly easy to execute, “Green Lantern Corps” feels like it struggles to find its voice.
I like that Jensen and Venditti are clearly keeping John Stewart as the lead; he’s always been an interesting character and considering how many “Justice League Unlimited” viewers know him as Green Lantern, it makes sense for him to have his own title. He’s also still teamed up with Fatality (both in terms of fighting bad guys and emotionally), which makes sense; the whole “my former enemy is now my partner” is a nice enough setup, and more importantly Jensen and Venditti seem to be going somewhere with the idea of John struggling with commitment beyond a certain level.
In general, there’s remarkably little energy in “Green Lantern Corps” #21. John and Fatality’s struggle to save the planet Kosh never feels like there’s any sort of danger, even when their rings mysteriously cut out for a short time. It’s very by-the-numbers adventuring. The same is also true for when four new members of the Green Lantern Corps are recruited. I realize that they’re just snippets and we’ll get more detail on these new supporting cast members in the months to come, but for now most of them fail to stand out. The one exception to that is Feska of Zarox, whose induction into the Corps has a nasty edge to it that should provide for some interesting follow-up, so that at least holds some potential. But otherwise, so far, I don’t think that Jensen or Venditti have given us a reason to particularly care about what any of these characters are doing.
Chang’s art looks good, though, and it’s nice to see him on a title that will presumably get more attention (and sales) than “Demon Knights,” where he was already working with Venditti. Chang’s ever malleable style here has a slightly harder edge and ink line, which I like; it reminds me in places of Cully Hamner’s work drawing John Stewart in “Green Lantern: Mosaic” back in the ’90s. Characters are sharply drawn and expressive, and I appreciate that Fatality’s costume is true to the Star Sapphire look that was established a few years ago without also full of gaping holes to show off a midriff. My favorite art from Chang here is probably the four induction panels; each of the characters looks very different as the ring slips onto their finger, and they stand out well in a good way.
“Green Lantern Corps” #21 looks great, but so far the writing hasn’t quite caught up to the art. Hopefully in time that’ll change; with so many characters available, “Green Lantern Corps” is a title that has a ton of potential. For now, though, it could use a burst of urgency.