Far Sector #1 – N.K. Jesimin, Writer; Jamal Campbell, Artist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Fascinating World, Fasinating New Characters
Ray: We’re not getting the next volume of Naomi for a while, and that’s partially because distinctive artist Jamal Campbell has taken a break to do the first Green Lantern story set in a mature-readers line, with Far Sector #1.
Teaming up with acclaimed sci-fi novelist N.K. Jemisin, Campbell illustrates a region of the galaxy we’ve never seen before and a new Green Lantern. Far Sector #1 is so interested in introducing us to the strangeness of the Far Sector – literally the planet on the outskirts of the Green Lantern Corps’ authority – that it doesn’t quite get to introduce us to Sojourner “Jo” Mullein yet. This Green Lantern seems to be new to the job, has an unconventional relationship with her ring, and may have a ticking clock on her tenure. None of this is entirely clear yet and is mostly shown in flashbacks, but she doesn’t have time to dwell on it as she investigates a murder on a planet that has supposedly outlawed emotions. Not so much.
The setup of Far Sector is one of the best bits of DC sci-fi I’ve seen in a while. It’s a planet built on the ruins of other planets, cobbled together from a trio of civilizations that were set against each other by an empire. Now the species – a warrior species, a species of sentient AIs, and a more humanlike species – coexist awkwardly under a planetary truce that suppresses the conditions that lead to war. The murder threatens to unravel that peace, so Far Sector #1 takes the tone of a police procedural more than any Green Lantern book I can remember. That’s a smart move, as it lets us see how Jo Mullein operates as a space cop. This is the first Green Lantern book I can remember that really digs into their role as peacekeepers, and the slow-burn mystery that immerses us in the unique conditions of this planet is excellent. Then the issue takes a deep, sudden turn into hard core horror towards the end and throws everything we know for a loop. It’s definitely a Young Animal book at its core, and it’s a fascinating kick-off.
Corrina: Science fiction mystery is one of my favorite types of cross-genre stories, as it allows the reader to see the civilization through the eyes of the investigating officer/being, making them a great guide to a new universe.
That’s exactly what Jemisin does in Far Sector #1, introducing us to “Jo” at the same time as the story introduces us to a world that she also finds strange and unfamiliar. Ray said there’s not much of her personality here and I disagree because all of Jo’s reactions to the events around her, especially her reactions in the council meeting, show us so much about who she is.
I also love the SF world created here. This trio of races are fascinating, each with strengths and weaknesses, and each completely opposite and different from the other. And yet, they must live in peace or lose their re-created world. Jo instantly picks up on the real problem, that the murder is simply the tip of the iceberg to possibly destroying a civilization.
Campbell’s art is in a painted style that evokes some of the best SF landscapes. It exudes color and life.
As Ray said, while Green Lanterns are said to be space cops, we rarely see them being cops instead of warriors. That is not the case in Far Sector #1 and it instantly separates this series from the others, in the best way.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.