Publisher: DC Comics
Released: April 11th 2017
Issues: Green Lanterns (Rebirth) 9-14
I was really hoping that I’d enjoy volume two more than I enjoyed volume one (which was decent, but mostly building up new characters) and thankfully my expectations were met! Between the continued character development and the plot I found myself pretty enthralled in this book. Add in some beautiful artwork and some legitimately funny moments, and I’m sold.
The focus of this volume should really not come as a surprise: the title alone gives it away. Our two rookies have been forced into a situation where they must protect what is probably the most dangerous and unpredictable ring there is. If that wasn’t enough, they’re still learning how to deal with their rings/powers and trying to babysit a bitter ex-Guardian. Not my idea of an ideal picnic, to say the least.
I really love how the Phantom Ring was the driving factor for character development as well as for the main plot. Jessica and Simon both have been questioning their worthiness of the GL rings, so seeing a ring that doesn’t care about worthiness was probably like seeing forbidden fruit. It’d never turn its back on them, it would always change spectrum to match them, and if you ignore the obvious downsides (like the lack of control or killing its hosts parts) it seems pretty perfect.
I think they’re both tempted by it for different reasons. Simon is concerned about not being strong enough, so a more powerful ring is a natural temptation for him. A stronger ring means he can better protect his family and the world, a stronger ring proves he’s worthy of bearing it, at least in his mind. Jessica’s is a bit more complex. She’s drowning in anxiety and self-doubt, not really believing that she truly deserves the Green Lantern ring. She knows that the Phantom Ring will change spectrum, and believes that it would turn into a yellow ring the moment she put it on. Thus the Phantom Ring is the ultimate test of worthiness to her (I’m personally not sure I’d have the guts to take that test).
Most of the really funny moments come from the fact that Simon and Jessica are just so human. Jessica is so terrified of social interactions that she legitimately wants to bail out on a dinner with Simon’s family. Seeing an adult Green Lantern afraid of a family dinner is pretty funny, especially in the way it’s framed. Likewise Simon nearly bails, as he’s terrified of his family’s (specifically his mother’s) reaction to his new superhero status. The following GL powered cookie baking scene was priceless.
As for the main plot…wow. I was not expecting the antagonist’s backstory to hit me in the feels the way it did. I actually sort of felt bad for Frank Laminski, once it was revealed just how close he came to achieving his lifelong goal. Naturally this raised a few questions for me; was Laminski never worthy, and the ring made a mistake originally (say because it was damaged or something) or (more likely in my opinion) was Laminski worthy of the ring, up until the moment he had it in his sights, where another spectrum gained dominance (say, the orange ring). Regardless of the reason, I can only imagine how gut wrenching that must have been for him. It would be tough for anybody to shake that off, but especially for somebody as obsessed as him. It’s no surprise he turned to the Phantom Ring (which in my mind is just further proof that he shouldn’t have had the Green Lantern ring).
As for the final twist at the end? I have no idea where that one is going to lead, but I’m sure it won’t be good. I can’t wait to see what volume three reveals about that. Perhaps we’ll see more of the main contingent of the Green Lantern Corps as well? Though I doubt it, I think they’re set up to be more standalone at the moment. Still, I can’t wait to see what trouble Simon and Jessica get up to next.