Green Lanterns #16 (April, 2017)
“Darkest Nights, Part One”
Writer – Sam Humphries
Pencils – Neil Edwards
Inks – Jay Leisten & Keith Champagne
Colors – Blond
Letters – Travis Lanham
Assistant Editor – Andrew Marino
Editor – Mike Cotton
Group Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.99
Ya know, being a “content creator” (if you were to call anything I create “content”) sometimes has its disadvantages. For one, I’m often too busy working on a post or a show to actually read new books as they’re coming out.
Being a completionist (read: really bad with my spending money), I’ve bought upwards of 90% of DC’s offerings since DC Universe Rebirth… and I might’ve read, a few dozen of ’em?
And so, in an attempt to… I dunno, familiarize myself with things going on “these days”, and maybe get a little bit of a “return” (in enjoyment/entertainment) on my “investment”… let’s take a look at a series I’d collected in its entirety… but never even bothered to look at!
We open in Gotham City, where this one fella appears to have lost his mind. He’s wildly swinging a baseball bat, fearful that “he” is coming to get them. The “he” he’s worried about is… Batman, and wouldn’tcha know it, he was right! Batman swoops in, and tries to calm the situation.
Just then, Green Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz burst onto the scene (though, if you were to ask Batman, they’re late). They snare the mad fella in a construct glob so he can cool his jets… and not get his butt beat by the Bat.
After the dust settles, Commissioner Gordon pops in to expound on Gotham’s present crisis. It would seem that the most recent crime wave is rooted… in fear. People would go from even-headed to maniacally panicked… as though they’d just had the stuffin’ scared out of ’em!
Simon’s all “Psh, okay… let’s go get the Scarecrow!” However, Batman’s not so sure… actually, he’s pretty much convinced it’s not the Scarecrow they’re after. He thinks this is more rooted in the Sinestro Corps (he references the yellow rings from Blackest Night… so, I guess that means Blackest Night was still a thing that happened now?). I guess the supposed Sinestro-ness of it explains why Batman enlisted the aid of a pair’a Lanterns.
As the Bat and Baz bicker, Gordon takes note of Simon’s sidearm. He’s not sure why a Green Lantern would ever need to pack heat. Simon explains that it’s his “backup”, just in case his ring were ever to fail. He calls it the “Robin” to his “Batman”. Batman does the whole “Not in my town” thing… and before we know it, we’re waist-deep in another argument.
Baz points out that so many of Batman’s toys and gadgets are dangerous… and finds it laughable that a pistol would be the “bridge too far”. He then suggests that Batman might just have a “problem with guns”. Wait, we’re not really gonna go there, are we? Oh, c’mon.
Yeah, we really went there… the graves of Thomas and Martha Wayne. Uh, they were shot dead, just in case you didn’t know… and if you didn’t know, how in the world did you wind up on this site? Anyhoo, Jessica turns her attention to the laptop the mad-fella was looking at before losing his marbles. After using her ring-a-ling to work out his Windows password, she discovers that he was watching a “Bad Batman” video on a YouTube-alike. Not sure if this is a commentary on all of those “Bad Cop” videos that pop up… whatever the case, these videos depict Batman as a threat.
The ring detects a disturbance in the Emotional Spectrum… coming from the laptop itself. Batman suggests that this could be useful information… especially when the screen begins to glow yellow.
We jump ahead to the Batcave, where Simon and Jessica act like kids in a museum. Batman continues his research, when suddenly Alfred (who is seeing one of the Bad Batman videos over Bruce’s shoulder) goes nuts! He smashes a coffee cup into Baz’s dome and sucker punches him in the much!
Simon’s sidearm flies out of its holster… which really doesn’t say much for the holster, now does it? Alfred picks it up and holds it against the Lantern’s head. He says if he sees even a flicker of emerald energy, he’s going to pull the trigger. He demands no one get in his way of… killing the Bat!
We shift scenes to a Call Center located in some abandoned retail/office space. A bunch of folks sitting in cubicles are being given the “Batman is a threat” treatment via their computer monitors, and it looks like their Supervisor… might be a little overqualified for this job.
Alrighty… this was pretty good!
Fear has come to Gotham (again)… but this time, there’s something more to it. Excellent callback to Blackest Night… and more importantly (to me), the confirmation that the event even happened in the first place! I’m still not sure where it fits in the miasmatic flow of DC Continuity… but it’s there somewhere, and sometimes that’s all it takes for me to call it a “win”.
The Scarecrow as an “agent of fear”… almost makes too much sense. Never cared for the Scarecrow on his own, seemed kind of a one-trick pony, but this could be interesting.
My only complaint, and I suppose it might just be me… but, the dialogue feels a bit, I dunno… unsubtle? The argument between Batman and Baz is almost so blatantly passionate that you could mistake it for a pair of old friends pretending to be mad at one another. Just struck me as unnatural… I’ve been in plenty of arguments, with friend and “foe” alike… and, in my experience, they’re never “zero-to-sixty” situations like it is here. I mean, these two just lit into each other… and it didn’t feel genuine in the slightest.
Also… did we really need the callback to the gravesites of Thomas and Martha Wayne? Did we really? I mean, it was a tiny little sliver of a panel, and I’m sure any writer working at DC (or with aspirations of ever working at DC) gets goosebumps at the idea that they’ll be able to write “Panel 1: The gravesite of Thomas and Martha Wayne”, but… c’mon. If you don’t know Batman’s origin, chances are you’re not going to be reading a Green Lantern spin-off book, right? An unnecessary refresher, which actually managed to pull me out of the story. It might’ve actually made me take notice of how unnatural the back and forth between Bat and Baz was too!
While I’m kvetching… can we get a “style guide” on what these oft-depicted tombstones even look like? Feels like they’re different shapes and sizes every time we see ’em… and, as mentioned, we see ’em a lot.
The art here was pretty fantastic, though Edwards’ Alfred does look a tad on the spry side. I get being maddened by fear, but that ain’t gonna turn a frail body into an Olympian.
Overall, had fun with this… and I feel like this issue could be a really good “gateway issue” if you were interested in getting to know the new Lanterns, but weren’t sure whether or not you wanted to dip your toe in on the series. This issue is available digitally… though, still at cover price!