'Rebirth' Recap: Green Lanterns Share Some Buddy Cop Greatness

[rwp-review-recap id="0"]

green lanterns

While I did say that Titans is the quintessential Rebirth title, Sam Humphries' Green Lanterns is definitely my favorite.

This is a fantastic buddy cop title that uses the tropes of that sub-genre to its advantages and subverts them when it should. The pairing of Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz could easily go down in comic history, up with the greats like Luke Cage and Iron Fist, Green Lantern and the Flash, and Booster Gold and Blue Beetle.

This book carries some heavy concepts and tries to cope with them, but it's also been endlessly fun. Jessica Cruz is a character with severe anxiety disorder, but she's also funny, endearing, and dedicated. Simon Baz is a man who has dealt with discrimination and dark times, but he is also courageous, headstrong, and unwavering.

The stories have been just as excellent as the characters. Hal Jordan, knowing that he needs to find the then-missing Green Lantern Corps, entrusts the protection of Earth with fledgling GLs Simon and Jessica, forcing them to team up and get to know one another.

The first threat these two face is the Red Lantern invasion, the Red Dawn". The dynamic duo faces a trial by fire here — literally — as the world is burning red and the human race has been infected with rage. Simon learns not to jump into dangerous situations without a plan, and Jessica overcomes her anxiety and fear enough to fight back and create the constructs which are emblematic of the Corps. They manage to drive Atrocitus and his Corps away, and gain a newfound respect for one another in the process.

'Rebirth' Recap: Green Lanterns Share Some Buddy Cop Greatness

Jessica and Simon then meet the rogue Guardian, Rami. He brings to them the Phantom Ring, though he was initially looking for Hal Jordan. They agree to look after Rami and his weapon. The two also take this time to get to know one another better, and Jessica becomes acquainted with Simon's family. A small band of the alien Dominators arrive on Earth in their hunt for Rami. Simon and Jessica manage to cast them out and protect the Guardian.

Next, we meet Frank Laminski, a former air force pilot who, after meeting Hal Jordan for the first time, resolved to become a Green Lantern himself. He trained himself, even became a hero of his own right, but he never received the Ring. After Simon Baz became a Lantern, he had given up. However, Volthoom, the First Lantern, came to Earth as a phantom in his own right and pointed Frank in the direction of the Phantom Lantern Ring, a Ring that can be chosen instead of choosing of its own accord. It has access to the entire Emotional Spectrum, and Frank decides to hunt it down.

'Rebirth' Recap: Green Lanterns Share Some Buddy Cop Greatness

Stealing it from Rami, Frank indeed becomes the Phantom Lantern. This brings him into conflict with Simon and Jessica. The two fight hard against Frank Laminski, and he eventually is seemingly destroyed by the Ring itself.

The career of the two Earth Lanterns continues, their bond grows, and they get used to being Justice Leaguers. They are called to Gotham to help Batman on a case. People are randomly being incited with fear to hate and attack the Batman. This turns out to be Scarecrow somehow replicating the power of the Sinestro Corps to incite this hatred of the Batman. During this adventure, Simon's handgun proves to be a liability, and he discards it forever.

We get insight into the history of Volthoom, the First Lantern. We learn of his extradimensional origins, and how he arrived in our dimension — he used something called the Travel Lantern to escape the death of his own universe. However, the device was uncontrollable, and he scattered parts of himself throughout the multiverse (explaining the origin of the being called Volthoom in Power Ring's own weapon during Forever Evil). When he arrived in our universe, he came to know and cooperate with the Guardians. However, they eventually took his Travel Lantern and cannibalized it to create the Green Lantern Corps. He will give anything to take it back.

This is all provided as the backdrop as Volthoom's spirit takes over the body of Rami while Simon and Jessica remain none the wiser.

Doctor Polaris, aka Doctor Neal Emerson, takes the stage next. He believes in the endless potential for electromagnetic energy to cure disease, particularly the cancer afflicting his brother. Meanwhile, a rift has opened between Simon and his best friend and brother-in-law, Nazir Amar, and the two are distant.

'Rebirth' Recap: Green Lanterns Share Some Buddy Cop Greatness

A small squad of government operatives hunt down Emerson in the hopes of forcing him to join the Suicide Squad. This effort fails, and he escapes, going on a new rampage. Simon and Jessica are informed and told to go after him.

He finds his dying brother and takes him to his own lab, fighting off our heroic Green Lanterns along the way. They find him once again, wanting to help Emerson and his brother. The brother seems to expire, and this causes Simon to flash back to the time he managed to save Nazir. He tries the same with Emerson's brother, but fails. The Doctor Polaris personality takes over Emerson fully, and he almost crashes the Justice League Watchtower into Earth. The two Green Lanterns manage to halt this cataclysm, but Polaris escapes and vows to kill Simon and Jessica.

Corps Leader John Stewart calls Simon and Jessica to Mogo for training and evaluation.

Meanwhile, Volthoom-Rami continues his search into what happened to the Travel Lantern. He goes into space and runs into Ganthet and Sayd, who also have no idea what has befallen Rami. He figures out that if he can track down the first seven Green Lantern Rings, he may be able to recreate his Travel Lantern.

Simon and Jessica are tasked to train with Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner, respectively. It proves to be no easy task for them, but they eventually manage to impress both training sergeants.

And now, the new issue has been released this week, and it's a special celebrating one year of Rebirth. I haven't read it myself yet, and I wouldn't want to risk spoiling it for anyone regardless. I do have faith that Humphries has managed to maintain the high standard of quality that readers have come to expect from this title.

As I said, this book is endlessly enjoyable. With lovable protagonists and heartfelt, exciting stories, it's managed to pack a powerful punch every issue. Each arc is so memorable, with the best being a toss-up between "Red Dawn", "the Phantom Lantern", and "Polarity". All three were incredible, with "Polarity" surprising me with how tragic and emotional it turned out to be.

'Rebirth' Recap: Green Lanterns Share Some Buddy Cop Greatness

This comic knows the importance of fleshed-out protagonists and making sure that its big bads are never just villains. With full backstories provided for Volthoom, the Phantom Lantern, and Doctor Polaris, it's hard not to feel for these guys to some capacity.

The book has frequently shifted its artistic team, and it is unfortunate that it can't stick with one for longer than a few issues. Luckily, it's managed to have really good ones pretty consistently, though the most recent issues have been the weakest in artistic quality.

The last issue of "Polarity," which was #21, had an especially impressive art team that made for an absolutely gorgeous book. It was put together by Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, Joe Prado, and Alex Sollazzo.

This has been far and away the most enjoyable Rebirth title for me. It has heart, creative action sequences, and great villains. I have come to love Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz just as much as Hal, Guy, John, and Kyle. They are legendary Green Lanterns in their own right, and everyone should check this book out. It's entering a new arc now, and it's a great time to jump on.

There are trades out for the first three volumes for a fair $16.99, like the other Rebirth series. Pick them up if you haven't been following the series — it will easily be worth your time and money.

[rwp-review-ratings id="0"]

[rwp-review-form id="0"]

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.