While most of the other zero issues are serving to reflect on the past of its titular characters, Green Lantern #0 is instead looking at the future. Here, Geoff Johns introduces us to the mysterious new Green Lantern of Earth, Simon Baz. Happily, Johns builds a fantastic new representative of Sector 2814, constructing a stellar issue that uses the modern socio-political climate as a way to showcase Baz’s ability to overcome great fear. This issue is a triumph of not only character building, but turning a negative of the real world into an inspirational positive.
We’re introduced to Baz and his family as they are being persecuted for being Muslim in the wake of 9/11, and later, Baz himself accused of being a terrorist. This is, of course, untrue, but he falls deeper and deeper into the interrogation rabbit hole. Johns showcases Baz’s strength of character by allowing him to admit that he is, in fact, a criminal (he was stealing a car), and that upon learning the car he jacked carried a bomb on board, he had heroic intentions. Johns is able to rely on the very real climate of a post-9/11 America to let readers infer certain aspects of Baz’s younger years, leaving him ample space for a well-written interrogation scene that reveals more about both Baz and the agents interrogating him.
Green Lantern #0 is another example of Johns taking his epic Green Lantern run in a wholly unexpected direction that also serves as a stellar jump-on point for newbies. Though it’s only been one issue, I fully expect Baz – if he survives for a while, of course – to become another successful addition to Earth’s Green Lanterns. For continuing readers, yes, there’s also a brief one-page look at just what the hell happened to Hal Jordan and Sinestro in Green Lantern #12.
Dough Mahnke delivers a solid issue, and gets to explore some different territory outside the norm of his usual Green Lantern work. This is a book filled mostly with real-world situations (predominately the aforementioned interrogation scene), and Mahnke really gets to show off his knack for hitting dramatic beats and constructing solid facial emotions. Johns has an uncharacteristically dialogue-centric script, but Mahnke does a stellar job of pacing his pages so the visuals are still just as interesting as the words, where a lesser artist would struggle to make talking heads as dynamic as this.
As much as I’ve dug the buddy cop elements of Green Lantern as of late, Green Lantern #0 seems to be pushing the boundaries of the mythology much like the early days of the War of Light did a few years ago, but from a very new and very specific character-centric approach. Welcome to the DCU, Baz.
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