by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
In the first 20ish issues of Green Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz where largely earthbound Green Lanterns. Even the appearance of Volthoom — a villain that traverses all space and time — didn’t shift writer Sam Humphries’ focus away from their home planet of Earth. Issue 25 kicks off the second consecutive arc in outer space by constantly reminding the reader how much more the characters would rather be at home. In fact, that desire to be home extends beyond our heroes, right to the villain, the aforementioned First Lantern, Volthoom.
Humphries makes this homesickness pretty damn explicit in the dialogue between Baz and Cruz. There’s a totally charming scene of them just listing the things they miss. (Though, I’ll take issue with Cruz missing Pokémon: come on girl, I’m sure a 3DS would works in space.) The Lanterns even make a point of remarking how long it’s been since they were last standing on solid ground, possibly even fudging the facts by playing up the emotional impact of being going so long. Jess says:
“I miss home! I miss Earth! I feel like we’ve been gone a million years! We’ve been in space since the morning we went to go find Doctor Polaris…”
Humphries is not exactly being subtle here, but he is sort of muscling his way to a point that may not objectively be true. The “Polarity” arc ended in issue 21, released in mid-April, so even for the reader experiencing time at this weird weekly-comic-book-reader pace has extremely fresh memories of Jessica and Simon at home. It just hasn’t been very long.
But Humphries’ artistic team is more than capable of backing up this theme. The issue opens with Baz’ letter home to his brother and artist Robson Rocha and letterer Dave Sharp make the bizarre decision to show the text of the note on the page while also showing it in Simon’s narration boxes.
Seeing the physical letter itself is immediately evocative of essentially every war- or adventure-story ever told. It’s like Simon is providing future primary sources for a Ken Burns documentary about the return of Volthoom. There’s also a weird little violation of both the form and the reality of comic books in that first panel. First of all, it’s weird that Simon is able to write with the laser accuracy of professional letterer, and then apologizes for its sloppiness. But it is further strange that we see the text and the thoughts separately. They’re identical — Baz is being sincere, and his words are being presented as almost doubly true simply by virtue of being written twice.
So Baz and Cruz want to go home. Hey, that’s all Volthoom wants too. It’d be a tricky turn to make, but Humphries might be building the ammunition to tell a story that’s at least mildly sympathetic to Volthoom.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?