Written By: Geoff Johns
Art By: Doug Mahnke
While most of the #0 issues have focused on the past to flesh out their stories and characters this issue focuses on the future of the Green Lantern franchise. We’re introduced to new Green Lantern recruit Simon Baz this issue. Simon is an Arab American living in Dearborn Michigan. The opening pages set Simon’s story into motion by utilizing the events of September 11th to show that Simon and his family haven’t had it easy due to the terrorist attacks he witnessed. We see how Simon and his families lives were effected 1 day , 5 years , and 10 years after the fact. John’s touches heavily on the topic of racial profiling in America and while it’s not easy to read its not hard to believe this could have happened to Simon based on his race.
We are then brought to the present as Simon is fleeing police after he had stolen a van to try to make ends meet and to help his family. The van itself houses something very lethal however that Simon wasn’t aware of and it is here that we first see Simon’s courage (which is actually tattooed on his arm in Arabic) and strong moral code come into play.
Simon is then moved to an undisclosed location where agents begin to interrogate him. Even though he is telling the truth the agents don’t trust that the Arab American in front of them was just in the wrong place at the wrong time and look at him as a potential threat to the US. Things move quickly and the agents decide to try to water board Simon to get the “Truth” from him. It is in this moment that the ring chooses Simon as he struggles to fight from being tortured and escapes.
The art this issue is a step up from the annual both in execution and tone. Doug seems to enjoy filling the earlier pages with detail and his style continues to suit John’s writing perfectly. Especially in the quieter moments when Manhke does most of the storytelling. His facial work is great and goes a long way in conveying the sincerity in Simon as well as the anger and disbelief in the situation he’s left in.
John’s even manages to throw in a one page Epilogue showing us the fate of both Hal Jordan and Sinestro and the direction he’s heading in with their story. After reading last weeks Green Lantern Annual I was left doubting the new direction that Green Lantern was taking. However after this issue I’m behind Johns and Mahnke once again. The solicits and cover image would have you believe Simon Baz is a gun toting criminal so its refreshing to see a very complex and interesting character inside. While there still is some uncertainty about The motivations of the Gaurdians and the Third Army story in general I am completely sold on this new Green Lantern and I’m happy to say Simon Baz is a wholly realized and worthy character in the Green Lantern Mythos.
Review Score: 9.5/ 10
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