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‘Future State: Green Lantern #1’ (review)

Written by Geoffrey Thorne, Ryan Cady, Ernie Altbacker
Art by Tom Raney, Sami Basri, Clayton Henry
Published by DC Comics

 

A great strength of Green Lantern comics is that there’s an entire corps of them. All those varied characters, all wearing the power ring. And that means you can tell kind of story about these space cops, with any kind of tone.

Future State Green Lantern #1 uses this fact to great effect, with one main story followed by two backmatter stories, each one with a different loveable Lantern at the center.

“Last Lanterns” features John Stewart, the Marine-turned-GL, in his wheelhouse genre of war stories. Jessica Cruz takes a stab at home invasion horror in “The Taking of Sector 0213.” And “Book of Guy,” starring macho hothead Guy Gardner, is of course comedy.

The only thing each of these Lanterns have in common remains the power ring and the oath taken around them.

However, Future State brings us a DC future where, for some mysterious reason, the power rings have all gone dead, the great battery on Oa extinguished.

Each story, however, shows that a Green Lantern is more than the ring, more than the ability to overcome great fear with powerful will.

“Last Lanterns” finds Stewart, rocking dreadlocks and a beard, equipped with a laser pistol in one hand and a laser sword in the other. Raney appears to be drawing Stewart’s face from Idris Elba’s perfect, lantern-jawed features, and it works.

He’s with fellow depowered Lanterns Salaak and G’Nort among a squad trying to help a race of aliens escape a cult-like tyrant’s conquest of their home world. Their looks are full space warrior, and G’Nort is ripped like hell while clawing and ripping enemies throats out.

It’s a gripping, carnage-filled run of fighting against desperate odds and the incoming, enigmatic God in Red. The art depicts close-quarters fighting that gets more and more claustrophobic as our heroes are pushed into a killbox as they try to hold the line.

Things start bleak and get even worse as the story goes on. Any time you get an appearance from a beat-up and defeated Kilowog, you know we’re deep in it.

Speaking of deep in it, that’s also where we find Jessica Cruz and Guy Gardner in their stories.

For Cruz, she’s scraping by solo at a Green Lantern Corps station when the Sinestro Corps arrive. Cruz goes full John McClane, using her wits and an arsenal of boobytraps to defend her home. We also find out more about what makes a Lantern regarding fortitude and training to be more beyond the ring. She’s still protecting her sector, from afar, as a diplomatic forum for disputes.

It’s not quite as grisly as the prior story, but the desperation remains the same. However, unlike Stewart, who powers through the fear, Cruz embraces it much more, to surprising results.

Meanwhile, we enter Guy Gardner’s story that asks the question, “What happens if Guy Gardner is mistaken taken as a prophet and gets to rewrite an entire society?” I don’t want to spoil any details beyond that, except to say that Garnder turns out to be a much better listener than he probably thought he was.

 

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