Best Shots review: Green Lantern #1 struggles to keep reader interest despite the raw potential

Green Lantern #1
(Image credit: DC)

Writer Geoffrey Thorne uses Green Lantern #1 to pose the bold question - in the Infinite Frontier, is there room for a Green Lantern Corps at all? Filled to the brim with wild aliens and intergalactic political intrigue, there's more than a touch of the Star Wars prequels to Thorne, Soy, and Santucci's tense first issue. However, this dedication to dry political speech means that Green Lantern #1 struggles to keep reader interest despite the raw potential of its core conceit and some impressive artwork.

Green Lantern #1 credits

Written by Geoffrey Thorne
Art by Dexter Soy, Marco Santucci, and Alex Sinclair
Lettering by Rob Leigh
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 5 out of 10

John Stewart struggles to assert his leadership as Oa hosts the United Planets Conclave. Friends and enemies alike all converge to debate Oa's membership in the United Planets, but not everyone is here to debate in good faith. Thorne's Green Lantern is one hell of an ensemble piece. There's a focus on John Stewart as leader, but most of the currently active Earth Lanterns cameo here. Hal Jordan contributes the calm voice of reason to Stewart's troubled mind, while Teen Lantern stirs up trouble for the Guardians. It's an even and varied approach that makes for a strong start to the issue.

This arc's main premise, that the Omniverse is no longer comfortable with omnipotent space cops, is a solid seed to base a modern classic around, but Thorne's approach is dry. He goes heavy on dialogue, filling the page with formal political speech that tests concentration. The overarching plot is simply constructed, with one unique new character simply appearing behind John to deliver important exposition. Despite the generally limp narrative presentation, the agitators from Gemworld make for uniquely styled antagonists, and it's always enjoyable to see the Green Lantern Corps at full strength.

(Image credit: DC)

There's a serious lack of restraint going on here, best exemplified by the chibi version of Teen Lantern who graces the front cover of this issue. Dexter Soy and Marco Santucci's artwork highlights fierce, angular features and perfectly sculpted bodies, the ol' 'costumes as body paint' approach. It works well here, making for an attractive issue that generally hews to the DC house style in an accomplished manner. However, their interpretation of Keli Quintela is a peculiar exception. The Teen Lantern is rendered here with huge, manga-styled eyes, looking more like a toy than a real human child. Considering how Soy and Santucci illustrate the other human characters in the issue, it's a jarring presentation that just does not work.

Soy and Santucci favor a horizontal approach to panel composition, rising to the challenge of Thorne's packed script. They triumph at packing tens of characters in their panels without it seeming too visually busy. Even the most diminutive of background figures are distinct, with clear and readable silhouettes. Only the issue's very last panels let down Thorne's script, dampening the issue's climax with vacant facial expressions in what should be shocked reaction panels. Like Teen Lantern's presentation, it's a weird choice made by otherwise technically adept artists.

Cool blues and neon greens make up the bulk of Alex Sinclair's color palette, dashed with violent orange to highlight scenes of major unrest. Rob Leigh's lettering lends the Guardians' words that extra visual weight, unconstrained by a word balloon and floating atop the page. It's accomplished stuff that adds to Soy and Santucci's generally good work.

I wanted to like Green Lantern #1. An interplanetary challenge of the Corps' authority over the Omniverse feels timely, and the celebratory feel of the ensemble cast of Lanterns at full power is instantly crowd-pleasing. Despite these positive points, an overly wordy and emotionally void script combined with some strange artistic choices neuters what should have been a bold statement of intent for Green Lantern going forward. Make no mistake – there's some important plot development with seriously big implications within these pages. It's a pity they don't land with more impact.

Make sure you've read all of the best Green Lantern stories of all time.

Oscar Maltby

Oscar Maltby has been writing about comics since 2015. He has also written comic book scripts for the British small press and short fiction for Ahoy Comics. He resides on the South Coast of England but lives in the longbox.