Serving up the origin of the New Gods, “Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead” #1 opens with a nine page sequence drawn by Ethan Van Sciver that sets the “Godhead” storyline in motion as the Lantern line of titles bears down for a line-wide crossover. In a thirty-eight page story written by Van Jensen, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, Charles Soule and Cullen Bunn titled “Godhead Act I, Part I: Genesis,” Jensen and Jordan are credited with the script, which spans the far reaches of the DC Universe, acknowledges the existence of the Multiverse and warns of the coming of Darkseid.
To the writing team’s credit, the story holds together throughout the issue, despite the wide array of characters, surprising number of settings and presence of all seven Lantern Corps. Investigations of specific characters will almost certainly be revealed in the individual titles, but several fan favorites, such as Sinestro, Hal Jordan, Saint Walker and Larfleeze all find panel time. The focus, however, is squarely planted on the New Gods.
Highfather, Metron and Orion are given the most prominent roles in the earliest portions of the story, enabling readers to learn the most about them. As the most widely used New God in the New 52, Orion is less of a blank slate for readers, regardless of their devotion to the “Green Lantern” line of books prior to this read. Jensen and Jordan put Highfather at the center of the tale, barking out orders to his generals to retrieve one of each of the rings of the Corps. Those generals’ battles are minimized into vignettes, giving all of them ample opportunity to squeeze into this event-launching special comic book.
Metron and Orion are familiar enough by the end of the issue, but the other New Gods could use a little more development and description. Uggha is called by name, but the other New Gods are certain to be less familiar to readers. Clearly the character studies from Pete Woods need to be referenced and ingested in order to optimize enjoyment of this issue. The story itself is complete, with the New Gods rallied around a cause and set to antagonize the Lanterns by issue’s end.
The artwork covers a wide range of styles, from the Ã¼ber-detailed, realistic stylings of Ethan Van Sciver to the open, classic drawings from Pete Woods. The five artists — Ethan Van Sciver, Martin Coccolo, Goran Sudzuka, Chriscross and Pete Woods – keep the story coherent and fluid, with art styles similar enough to transition effortlessly, but specific enough to showcase little pieces of story that are exceptionally poignant, such as Sinestro seeking to know the terms of the demands set against him, Orion and Metron’s arrival on Mogo, or Highfather’s declaration of war. Marcelo Maiolo unifies the artwork with his color selections and application, highlighting the tense moments or shocking revelations with simple, unfiltered red tones as he has used in other coloring projects. Dave Sharpe rounds out the visuals from red-tinged word balloons of the Red Lantern to frame-filling “BOOM” effects for each New God’s arrival and departure.
“Green Lantern/New Gods: Godhead” #1 comes together as a nice check-up device for readers lapsed in the Lantern Corps, the New Gods or both. The creative team opens up each of the Corps to readers, and some more successfully reach out, inviting the readers to follow their adventures. I am most curious about the Sinestro Corps’ adventure and why poor Arkillo gets so darn abused. Hal Jordan’s appearance is fleeting in this issue, but “Green Lantern” #35 is the chapter immediately following this opening. For many readers, including myself, the Lanterns have faded of late, not shining as brightly as they once did, but with the New Gods ready to march into battle, I can declare that this is the most interested I have been in the entire Lanterns’ line since well before the launch of the New 52 in September 2011. The New Gods deserved pomp and circumstance for their arrival, and while this story has only begun, it begins on the right note, as the New Gods are set to impact the DC Universe in a big way.