“Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion” #1 is a solid, smooth first issue that shows impressive command of its cast and cosmic storyline. With a lost-universe concept and a decent-sized team, this is exactly the sort of Big Two comic that could get messy, but Ethan Van Sciver’s larger-than-life art and Tom Taylor’s fun, assured script avoid all the common pitfalls. The resulting issue isn’t especially memorable, but it’s an easy, plot-packed read that bodes well for the story ahead.
Though this has been solicited as “picking up where ‘Green Lantern: Lost Army’ left off,” it doesn’t read like a sequel. It feels much more like its own animal. Taylor moves quickly in establishing both the Corps’ initial conundrum and the new danger they encounter. Some of the exposition is a little on-the-nose — “Six months of exploration and we’re no closer to escaping this dying universe” — but it’s couched in strong enough character voices, and the scenes move speedily enough that it doesn’t feel stiff. Taylor also fits in good character moments for some members of the Corps — and even for those who don’t get as much page space, I at least got a read on their personalities and voices. All told, Taylor captures the “team” in “team book,” an essential ingredient for a successful Corps title.
Van Sciver, on the other hand, captures the “cosmic” in “cosmic police force.” In an issue that features both Mogo, the living planet, and B’dg, a talking squirrel, scale is a tricky element, but Van Sciver uses scope and perspective to give proportional weight to both a squirrel’s emotional outbursts and planet-size attack forces. His page layouts are clever and thoughtful, and though I had to re-check a few panels, I never felt lost. In addition, when Ausras and Dimsas of the Last City arrive, Van Sciver conveys their massive size and commanding costumes without any accidental “Gulliver’s Travels”-style cartoonishness. This is the sort of subject matter that can easily veer from out-there and fun to outright absurd, but — in Van Scriver’s hands — it hits all the right notes.
Colorist Jason Wright does fine work, particularly with the just-shy-of-totally-creepy Ausras and Dimsas. The varied members of the Corps are always brightly colored and detailed, but Wright never veers from joyful to ridiculous. However, occasionally the backgrounds left me confused as to whether characters were inside or outside the atmosphere.
Taylor, Van Sciver and Wright’s skills meld best when it comes to pacing, though. Taylor keeps the new developments coming, but he always makes room for some team deliberations. These debates not only give the reader some breathing room, but they also give us time with the characters. Similarly, Van Sciver’s shifting perspectives and stacked panels keep the action feeling fast while still grounding the reader in the physical space of the story, and Wright’s color scheme sets the tone.
In sum, “Green Lantern Corps: Edge of Oblivion” #1 is a very enjoyable, well-paced opener. Taylor and Van Sciver have put together a solid premise, and issue #2 should be just as entertaining.