Green Lanterns #2: BDSM Costumes and Teddy Bears

As someone who’s never read a Green Lantern series until now, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this current run. For the most part my previous misgivings about a Green Lantern series was that they tend to be plot-based rather than character focused. So far I’ve been proven wrong, as this series has been very focused on the buddy cop dynamic (and a brilliant dynamic at that). Simon Baez is a Lebanese American Muslim who uses his willpower to fight the fear others have of him. Jessica Cruz is a Latina who needs all the willpower she has to face the crippling anxiety, ptsd, and agoraphobia she has.

The contrast between these characters is not only in their issues (Simon’s problems are external while Jessica's are internal), it’s also in their personalities. Simon is rough, hot headed, impulsive, and has a secret soft spot. Jessica is nervous, thoughtful, a bit of pushover, and speaks up when she needs to. As one would expect these two butt heads so much so that Hal Jordon decides to force the two to share a Lantern in order to learn to get along. They have to be together to power said lantern and it’s a really great idea.

I can’t recall a superhero team up that takes logistics and schedules into consideration. With any relationship spending time together is important now; imagine saving the world thrown into the mix and you get quite the conflict. The potential conflict of these two being unable to save the world due to not being able to carpool is comedy gold waiting to be claimed. Unfortunately we don’t really explore that and what momentum we get with the first issue is lost with the second issue.

It delves straight into the Red Lanterns and their plans for Red Dawn. They hope to turn Earth into their new Homeworld since theirs is dying. They chose Earth because there is so much rage there (could we be seeing social commentary with this plot? Possibly!). They might also have picked Earth as a form of revenge against the green lanterns that have defeated them in battle.

We get a better introduction to what Atrocitus--leader of the Red Lanterns--is about than we do our main leads. We actually get a few pages to relax and just take in what Atrocitus is experiencing. He obviously has compassion for his fellow Red Lanterns but his ideas of justice could turn the whole galaxy blood red if his plans for Earth succeed.

And it does in a 28 Days Later-ish kind of zombie rage way. Jessica immediately starts to panic when her sister is infected at the Not A WalMart store, in a sequence that feels weirdly rushed. During which Simon makes a truck construct and a mechanical robot arm in order to argue with Jessica about focusing on the bigger picture (I do like how we have Simon making vehicle and mechanical constructs; it nicely ties into his past as a car thief). It’s a sequence that just frustratingly shows the lack of communication between the two and truthfully it gets old.

The biggest problem in the series is that Jessica and Baez do not talk to each other. They argue a great deal, and not the fun kind arguing. This is realistic, bad relationship arguing. Plus there is the fact that Simon has the same unfortunate design flaw that Bane did in his animated appearance in The New Batman Adventures series: they both look like fetishists. It makes it hard for me to take him seriously, Simon’s a gag ball away from perfecting his gimp-themed luchador look.

At one point, Jessica knocks Simon out with a ray blast in order to locate her infected sister only to fail to create a construct due to a verbal beat down from her sister and her anxiety getting the best of her. This actually makes sense, as with anxiety one can become quickly overwhelmed, so her struggle to get enough willpower to make a construct is a promising development. Simon then steps in to save Jessica from her sister.

The issue ends with Simon not listening to Jessica's concerns as he decides that a teddy bear is the perfect gift for his nephew. Randomly, he decides to bring it the teddy bear along, so we get a pointless but visually pleasing shot of the Red Lanterns logo forming over Earth.  To see an angry BDSM-themed Green Lantern holding a teddy bear while in Earth’s orbit makes this confusing and rushed issue tolerable.

Green Lanterns #2 is written by Sam Humphries with art done by Jay Listen and Robson Rocha published by DC comics and is out now and available.

Elizabeth Ledwell is a witch who has a certificate in graphics communications she doesn't use.