Green Lanterns #2
Written by Sam Humphries
Art by Robson Rocha and Blond
Lettering by Jay Leisten
Published by DC Comics
Review by Oscar Maltby
'Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
Enter Atrocitus! The Lord of the Red Lanterns makes a blood-thirsty bid for planet Earth in Green Lanterns #2, the passionate younger sibling of the Green Lantern family of DC's "Rebirth" titles. Writer Sam Humphries spends the bulk of the second issue fleshing out Jessica Cruz's anxieties about becoming a Green Lantern, while penciller Robson Rocha revels in depicting the effects of last issue's Hell Tower as rage runs rampant on the inhabitants of Earth.
Humphries has tapped into the core of the Lantern concept; that of emotion, and he filters his entire script through that lens. Humphries makes good use of narration here to sum up the contrasting pair of Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz as anxiety and impulse. Jessica battles to merely conjure up her first construct, while Simon attacks his problems with all the precision of an Acme anvil. They're a dynamic duo in every sense of the word, an equally complementing yet antagonistic pair of fresh new Lanterns with one huge responsibility.
Tonally, Green Lanterns #2 is lighter than its debut issue, mostly as a result of our new-found insight into Simon and Jessica's internal thoughts and feelings. Although there's still a smattering of hideous pizza-faced nightmare creatures and rage-powered rioters, Humphries and Rocha firmly focus on Jessica and Simon's newly-forced partnership. Watching these rookie Lanterns struggling with the basics only to run head-first into a potentially cataclysmic invasion is compelling stuff. Likewise, Humphries' choice to make the Lantern itself a presence within the book is a wise one, injecting a much-needed element of humor to an otherwise grave story of hatred and uncertainty.
Penciller Robson Rocha clearly enjoys rendering the hellish Red Lantern Corps. Three of Ysmault's finest dominate Green Lanterns #2's first few pages, and they are truly eye-catching designs. An insectile beast chitters while a clay-like melted face creature and a giant, Venus flytrap-esque maw in a Lantern uniform listens to their leader. And what a leader! Robson's Atrocitus is a regal beast of teeth and talon, a T-Rex in a suit of medieval armor. It's safe to say that Robson Rocha is at his best when illustrating rage-infused aliens and humans alike. Away from all things monstrous, Rocha's love of the human form is obvious, eschewing textural details on the Green Lanterns' costumes in favor of sinewy definition. Simon and Jessica would look naked if not for Blond's bold coloring, which adds to the vaguely grotesque tone of the book but unnecessarily sexualizes sequences where the Lanterns battle across the page.
Jay Leisten and Blond make the finishing touches to Green Lanterns #2 with a wide and evocative approach to lettering and eye-searing colors. Each Red Lantern speaks in its own tortured font, and Blond further commits to the alien aesthetic with an otherworldly neon green and a hellish lava red. Everything in Green Lantern emanates power, and Blond's glowing color palette cements that look and feel with kaleidoscopic tints of light and dark.
Simon Humphries and Robson Rocha have hit upon the appeal of Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz's on-the-job training scheme with Green Lanterns #2. Higher stakes and an increased focus on character propel this title from a solid contender to a must-have. Although Robson Rocha's pencils can be distractingly cheesecake-y, his Red Lanterns are delightfully disgusting and his talent for staging action-packed panels makes for an eye-catching read. All in all, Green Lanterns #2 is a thrilling issue of a series that is quickly gaining momentum.