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‘Far Sector #3’ (review)

Written by: N.K. Jemisin
Art by Jamal Campbell
Published by DC Comics

 

“We work so hard to remember what we lost. But memory is meaningless – worse than meaningless – without emotion.”

“Worse? How?”

“Now we have no regret. Without that, how can we learn from our suffering?”

This month’s issue of Far Sector, the hot new Green Lantern epic by DC’s Young Animal imprint, starts off with yet another fantastic cover by series superstar artist Jamal Campbell.

Hard to beat last month’s cover to be honest, but it’s a fine effort nonetheless – and a striking display of emerald willpower to boot.

Campbells’ style and sensibilities have given N. K. Jemisin’s story of far-flung superheroic peacekeeping a great deal to hang it’s hat on, bringing Green Lantern Jo Mullein and the strange alien worldscape of the City Enduring alive with panache, and genuine beauty as well.

It is particularly appealing to see the earth girl that Jo is, in her ‘private’ life and downtime. Not only does it humanize our young new firebrand space cop, but it weaves elements into the storytelling that should be comfortable and familiar to fans, particularly those who may have never read a Green Lantern comic before.

Jemisin makes a similar attempt in her scripting, presumably to make the story that much more relatable to audiences old and new. Some of that hits the mark, though to be honest it also at times feels a little odd.

Just as one example, it’s hard to quite accept at first, that any of the inhabitants of City Enduring – a civilization on the very furthest reaches of Lantern jurisdiction – would give one whit about cat memes from earth. Much less know about them at all.

However, it’s well worth recognizing that contact with earth is even a thing. That makes Jo’s assignment feel a tad less off the reservation, with just a few more (intriguing) clues this issue as to some of the life she left behind, in order to go earn her stripes.

Worth noting as well that Jo is clearly something of a celebrity in her adopted civilization, and also for that matter, that earth in the DC universe is the center of much… significance. After all. That’s got to stimulate some cross-cultural pollination.

So not only are we slowly becoming familiar with the City Enduring, but the various races of this bizarre alien society, it seems, are now slowly becoming familiar with us. And you’ve got to wonder what sort of ramifications that’s going to have on a society conditioned to give up so much of who they once were… all in the name of getting along. Especially one that seems to mirror ours in notable ways.

Especially too, when we still don’t quite understand yet, just exactly how they were convinced to give up so much in the first place. And who, precisely, is benefiting from that now the most.

Leave it Jemisin to make those considerations nuanced and intricate. All systems of power have their privileged and advantaged. But it may be a surprise what sort of currency power brings in this strange culture, what it means to be free, and who gets to have that. And as Jo finds out this issue, it may be best to leave any assumptions she may have about that, on the dance floor.

One thing’s for sure: the introduction of the drug ‘switchoff’ into the mix, the one that allows its users to opt out of the emotional numbing down protocol holding everything together, has the feel of a dry match in a tinderbox.

Like all it needs is for someone to breathe a little life into it, for everything to burn.

Next Issue: Rage against the machine.

 

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