Green Lanterns #37 – Tim Seeley, Writer; Carlo Barbieri, Penciller; Matt Santorelli, Inker; Ulises Arreola, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!
Ray: Fifteen years ago, Judd Winick did a short story set on an alien world, focusing on Kyle Rayner arriving on a planet to serve as a mediator for a territorial conflict that was a broad allegory for the Mideast conflict that’s still raging. It was well-intentioned – and also rather broad and obvious with its allegory. Tim Seeley hits on something very similar here, but I think it’s a smoother and more natural take that feels like a Green Lantern story first and a political tale second.
But it’s essentially a story about immigrants and refugees, and it picks up from the resettlement of the Molites that was set up in the first arc. Although they’ve been placed on their new home on Ungara, their scrapper ways are causing conflict and a nativist Ungaran movement has emerged, turning on both the alien refugees and the leaders of Ungara. The conflict boils over when an Ungaran official is murdered, and the Molites are suspected.
Into this, the Green Lanterns are pulled in. I’m still not sure about Seeley’s Simon Baz – Seeley seems to be portraying him as a horndog alpha male. So many scenes involving him have to do with him and women, be it his various dates or using his ring to play strip poker. It’s funny, but is it more Guy Gardner than Simon Baz? Fortunately, Jessica continues to be perfect, as she investigates the case and uses compassion to figure out the core of the conflict. There’s a very tense segment in the underground catacombs of the Molites, as a frenzied group of Molites chase our heroes only to turn out to be victims of circumstance. There’s a surrender of a supposed murderer, but it’s clear by the end of the issue that there’s more to the story. Seeley’s done a great job of making us care about the Ungarans and Molites in only a few issues, and I’m excited to see how this complex story unfolds.
Corrina: Originally, I thought the rescue of the Molites would simply be the opening story of Seeley’s run, mainly to showcase the individual characters of Jess and Simon. But it’s clear that this creative team had something much larger in mind from the beginning, producing this complex story of how disparate people live (or don’t) together.
How far can one stretch the limits of their compassion? For the Lanterns, especially Jess, the compassion is endless. But for those who have to welcome new people into their home, compassion can break down into fear and tribalism. And while this storyline definitely makes one ponder real-life immigration issues, as Ray said, it’s also a metaphor for whenever two vastly different types of people try to exist in the same space, with one being the interlopers, and so, in a way, mirrors the problems that Jess and Simon had at the beginning of their partnership. The Molites have been clearly drawn as peaceful and unassuming, if inflexible in their habits and their religion, and that makes it easy to be on their side right now.
As for the Lanterns, as Ray said, Jess is well-drawn. But I’m becoming increasingly uneasy at Simon’s portrayal. I’m not seeing where this horndog mentality comes from at all–so far, there’s been little of this in Simon’s background or in his interactions through this series. I’m not sure where this is going but it remains a flaw in an otherwise excellent start to a run.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.