Green Lanterns #39 Review: Investigating the Nature of Nationalism

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Liseth Vok has bonded her anatomy with the DNA of a number of powerful alien species, and it's up to Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz to bring the pop star-turned-Ungaran Nationalist down.

This will not be an easy fight, and Liseth quickly begins to try to spread her message of hate to the Ungarans in the hope that they will help her exterminate the Molite refugees.

Green Lanterns #39 cover by Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, and Jason Wright
Green Lanterns #39 cover by Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki, and Jason Wright

Green Lanterns #39 brings us to the finale of the "A World of Our Own" arc. While it is a little on the nose in some of its presentation and almost wide-eyed innocent in its naivete about the nature of people, it won me over with its charm and earnestness.

It also says some smart things about nationalism that it took me until this issue to connect. Firstly, it thrives on a platform, and that's the point of Liseth Vok being a pop star and having a flair for theatrics.

It maintains that she is not inherently evil, only misled. That is believable, as she does have a love for her people still. That does ring a little untrue, as many nationalists ironically have nothing but complaints about their homeland. However, I do get the point of trying to not make her archetypally evil, even if she does start bragging about the Ungarans taking what they want from other races and species.

The irony of Vok using the genes of other races as power-ups is fairly obvious, though there is another point in there that didn't strike me until this issue either. Almost every nation on Earth, especially the many western nations where nationalism has been growing and spreading like a virus, has taken in and assimilated many things in their wider culture from other nations and cultures. Plus, well, there is the inherent fallibility of anyone being of "pure blood" of any race, and that is once again especially so in the western world. That is a good thing, by the way.

Lastly, this issue makes it clearer that Liseth Vok's anger lies in the feeling that the previous generation has somehow failed her generation. This also rings true of my generation and the ones following mine. A lot of us are poor. A lot of us are looking for something blame for these problems. Some choose to blame immigrants and foreigners for all of those ills. That wrongheaded and dangerous idea is the one that Liseth Vok has taken on.

In short, Green Lanterns #38 has a lot of smart ideas and understands the nature of the ideas its portraying. The resolution is odd in some spots but mostly leans on a feel-good finale. Simon Baz displays a new ability with a lot of implications in bringing down Liseth, and it feels a little contrived and isn't all that satisfying.

Jessica Cruz does get plenty of opportunities to be badass here though, and it's awesome.

(Spoilers) What is more satisfying is the fact that the Ungarans actually begin to help the Molites attacked by Vok, and its optimism did put a smile on my face.

Green Lanterns #39 art by Ronan Cliquet and Hi-Fi
Green Lanterns #39 art by Ronan Cliquet and Hi-Fi

Ronan Cliquet's art works very well for the story here. He puts together plenty of intimidating stills of Liseth Vok wreaking havoc upon the world. He also gets creative with the constructs the Green Lanterns conjure as well as the powers that Vok displays. He plays with angles and expression quite well too. Hi-Fi's color art continues to be bright and eye-catching, and he continues to show how he is an oft-used colorist.

Green Lanterns #38 brings a solid finale to this arc, and it puts out a lot of interesting ideas and a lot of heart. The titular Green Lanterns continue to be easily lovable protagonists, and Tim Seeley has definitely proven to be a good fit for the title. This book earns itself another recommendation, and you should check it out.

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About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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