JUST JOSHING #25: Far Sector
It’s no secret I’m a Green Lantern fan. If you haven’t paid attention to my last review, you’ll find that I just covered the 80 year anniversary, which was a fun throwback to the past. But what about today? What’s Green Lantern like today. I reviewed Grant Morrison’s and Liam Sharpe’s run of the title, which is also hip dip into the past, but Far Sector is a bold and fresh new take on the old concept that I love, and one of the best things DC has going today.
Written by N.K. Jemisin
Illustrated by Jamal Campbell
Publisher: DC Comics/Young Animal
Sojourner Mullein is alone in the farthest sector in the universe, investigating the first murder there in five hundred years. It’s a heck of a pitch and it slides you into the world quickly and efficiently. The first issue opens with two quotes. The one that fits the overall plot is the simple phrase Chinua Achebe: Things fall apart. They do indeed as Mullein is at the scene of a crime. The first murder occurs and no one is quite sure what to do. Here, there is familiarity as Mullein is a from a world filled with murders.
Once she leaves the scene of the crime you begin to see this strange city through her eyes. You meet the city council, which may not sound impressive until you remember that this particular city inhabits twenty billion people. You get the names of the important people and then Jemisin drops her first bombshell. This whole city is on drugs.
They take something called Switchoff that controls their emotions. There is no feeling anywhere with any species. Which leads to the natural question of why would anyone murder? After a conversation with councilman Marth, Jo ends up going to question the suspect they have, only to find them murdered and a suspect bolting out the door.
Issue two starts with the chase. You begin to see hints that Jo’s ring is not like typical Green Lantern rings. It can do constructs but it does have limitations the rings we know and love don’t have. And the only real hint we have as to why is a simple panel in issue one about her having a year with this ring. So anyway, the chase ends up in failure with her having to do her damnedest to remember how to fly once she realizes she didn’t get her suspect, and we begin to explore the consequences of a society without emotion.
Her conversation with her friend ex-love Syzn explores this idea beautifully. They both talk to each other about how even though their friends, there are things about each other that frighten the other. For Jo, it’s the lack of emotion. For Syzn, it’s the fact that Jo can trust herself and that she cannot trust who she is. That’s an amazing revelation and takes this book completely out of the realm of superheroics and into science fiction at its best.
Each chapter afterward adds compelling nuance to both the world Mullein finds herself in, and Mullein herself. This world is far from hollow. It reminds me in some ways of Green Lantern: Mosaic. Green Lantern: Mosaic tried to be this alien and different, but here, it succeeds far beyond its predecessor. It’s a new kind of Green Lantern story and it’s an incredible ride. N.K. Jemisin deserves her reputation.
Jamal Campbell hasn’t been mentioned here and he needs to be. His designs are incredible. He’s able to create intricate alien surroundings, and even the style of the story and Mullein and everyone in it feels different. The world feels like an alien city at the Edge of the Universe and Mullein feels like the only familiar rock in this strange land. He’s done an incredible job designing this place, the city, the races. There has been a lot of thought put into this, and the execution is incredible.
Green Lantern as we know it today is a science fiction concept as much as a superhero one. It’s so refreshing to see something like this re-imagine the concept of what Green Lantern is and could be. I would not mind seeing this last far past the twelve issues scheduled. It’s a gem of a book and an incredible one. My hats off to the creative team. This is amazing stuff. I cannot recommend it enough. May this be a new voice that needs to be heard.
Alice Zero is out today. I’m ecstatic about my second release. It’s an epic poem that mashes up Alice in Wonderland and Greek Mythology. Alice is Pandora and she has opened the box, and the final piece of hope in the inside has a Cheshire grin. It’s out now and you can buy it here: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08GM4Y8DD
And since I’m all about giving my own work some love here, why not check out The Cloud Diver, written by yours truly and illustrated by Lance Buan? You can check out the book here: https://www.amazon.ca/Cloud-Diver-Level-1-ebook/dp/B0881HR54T/
I’m coming to the end of the Cloud Diver readings. This weeks’ reading guest is Robert J. Sawyer. Not only is he reading from the Oppenheimer Alternative, I get the opportunity to voice my Unicorn. Roy G. Biv made his debut and it is awesome. Take a listen below.
That will do it for this week. Next time I take a blast from the past and review a friend’s favorite work of hers. Until then, stay inspired and keep surfing the chaos.