Review: Green Lanterns Vol. 6: A World of Our Own trade paperback (DC Comics)

June 2, 2019

I mostly know Tim Seeley's work from "earthbound" titles like Grayson, Nightwing, New Suicide Squad, and Batman books. I haven't seen him do as much cosmic work, and even his Hellblazer run shined the most when it blended the supernatural with mortal, criminal threats. I expected perhaps a little more realism to Seeley's Green Lanterns Vol. 6: A World of Our Own than I received, though the fault perhaps is in my expectations.

World is a step in the right direction for Green Lanterns, as Seeley makes Lanterns Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz less one-note than they have been; there are also good political dilemmas set against a cosmic canvas, and good acknowledgment of Simon and Jessica as Green Lanterns who are people of color. I was not blown away; the book is not particularly fraught nor suspenseful nor emotionally involving, as compared for instance to Seeley's New Suicide Squad Vol. 4: Kill Anything. Fortunately, Seeley's got another couple of volumes on this title as it heads toward its conclusion, and I'm still optimistic for great things to come.

[Review contains spoilers]

World collects two two-part stories and one three-part story, the first serving as lead-in for the third, "World of Our Own" proper. Seeley's high concept, as perhaps the title suggests, is the immigration debate played out against alien landscapes; Jessica and Simon rescue the Molites from their dying planet and place them with the welcoming Ungarans, but matters are complicated when anti-Molite sentiment takes hold and the Molites imprison Ungaran teenagers who vandalize the Molite refugee camp. In this way, the story ramps up well — especially at the beginning of "World" — and Seeley never loses sight of the fact that Simon and Jessica can relate, being minorities themselves on Earth.

Indeed, the first story, "Work Release," intersperses Jessica and Simon saving the Molites with flashbacks to each of them trying to get jobs. Jessica wants to be a waitress, but because of her psychiatric difficulties, is only allowed to work in a cafe kitchen; Simon wants to work on a pit crew but is denied because of his criminal record, if not also because of his Islamic faith. The point is made throughout the story, especially as Simon and Jessica work in the shadow of Ungaran hero Abin Sur, that in space they're trusted to wield the most powerful weapons in the universe, but at home they're just "two brown people with bad resumes."

That's a fine basis for the Green Lanterns title, with Seeley exploring Jessica and Simon's characters no worse than former writer Sam Humphries, and perhaps with a bit more sharpness. The middle story sees Simon and Jessica confronting the often-silly Green Lantern villain Bolphunga, but Seeley's end to the story is grim and tragic, a mature blending of light and dark that would define the kinds of stories I'd have liked to see on Green Lanterns all of the time.

It feels, however, like World falls too much on tropes in its conclusion. The daughter of the Ungaran regent, unsurprisingly behind all the trouble, turns out to have seemingly limitless powers from alien experiments and battles Jessica and Simon in the skies over Ungara. All the while Liseth Vok spouts off like a B-movie villain and the whole thing feels like standard, uninspired superheroics; there's certainly no question whether Jessica and Simon are in danger, and Liseth becomes so outrageous that the question of whether she might die (which is perhaps supposed to be the story's emotional turn) seems rather inconsequential.

That final issue is drawn and inked by Ronan Cliquet, with colors by Hi-Fi, and part of the difficulty is that it too seems like standard superheroics, drawn in DC's house style and inked too darkly. Art-wise, for me the star of the book was German Peralta (who's drawn mostly Marvel books), with colors by Ulises Arreola; Peralta's art has a smoothness to it, different from the norm, and Arreloa's colors have a watercolor effect. Good as well is Eduardo Pansica at the beginning of this book with inks by Julio Ferreira, a team I've liked on Green Lanterns before.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Green Lanterns Vol. 6: A World of Our Own

Green Lanterns do live double lives, perhaps more so than Superman hiding out as Clark Kent, in that, as Tim Seeley's Green Lanterns Vol. 6: A World of Our Own points out, they may be regular people on Earth but superheroes out in space. For a decade or more, the Green Lantern franchise has essentially ignored this, particularly once Geoff Johns stopped bringing Hal Jordan around planetside, and so it's nice to see this again, especially since at one point Green Lanterns seemed to be the book about Green Lanterns on Earth and not in space. World doesn't particularly uphold that, and Simon and Jessica's lives on Earth are neither particularly detailed nor important to the main story, but again, Seeley is at least pointed in the right direction, and also recognizes the book as being minority-lead, a rarity across the DC line. I'm curious where else he'll take the book in the short time he has allotted.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Green Lanterns Vol. 6: A World of Our Own
Author Rating
3.75 (scale of 1 to 5)

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