Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League – Green Lantern #1 – Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Jeremy Adams, Writers; Fernando Blanco, Jack Herbert, Artists; Jordie Bellaire, Alex Guimares, Colorists
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been busy telling one of the best in-continuity Superman stories in years over in the Warworld Saga, so you’d think he’d take a break. Nope, he’s instead ready to tell one of the best John Stewart stories in decades in an event tie-in. Just like the Superman one-shot last month, this tie-in is treating this issue like an evergreen alternate universe and delivering in every way. It focuses on a world where the Green Lanterns have been restored to full strength, protect the universe with a new corps of warriors, and all view John Stewart as the Guardian, their leader—while John lives a quiet life on a farm with his elderly mother and his restored-to-life younger sister.
One of the big challenges for writing John Stewart is that few writers seem to know who he is and what he wants. Johnson nails it in one—he’s a warrior who wants peace. The scenes between him and his mother as he tries to hold on to what he’s lost amid the knowledge that the universe is coming knocking and won’t let him rest are particularly heartbreaking. Fernando Blanco, who is mostly associated with gritty Gotham work, does a surprisingly brilliant job here dealing with horrible monsters from the nightmares of deep space. This doesn’t feel like an event comic—it feels like a deeply melancholy musing on who John Stewart is and how hard he’ll fight to preserve the things he loves. It’s simple, explosive, and beautiful.
The Hawkgirl backup has its work cut out for it after this, but Jeremy Adams continues his streak of doing great old-school DC comics in a high-adventure tale that casts Kendra’s perfect world as one where she’s a Lara Croft-esque adventurer. She’s on the trail of a “mortality urn” that will bring her endless cycle of lives to an end and allow her to finally live life to the fullest. It’s an intriguing look at the psychological impact of being reincarnated endlessly, combined with a no-holds-barred action tale as she battles treacherous guides, cursed skeletons, and deadly booby traps to find the perfect life amid a sea of them. These tales are four-for-four so far as DC continues to show that limited event tie-ins are the way to go.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.