If you ask me, you add Batman to any comic series these days and you’ve instantly increased its stock. Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are coming to Gotham this week, but is it good?
Green Lanterns # #16 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? The summary reads:
“DARKEST KNIGHT” part one! It’s the Dark Knight/Emerald Knights team up you’ve been waiting for! Simon and Jessica travel to Gotham City to help Batman with a mystery even he can’t solve! People all across the city have been gripped with fear. Is it Scarecrow? Is it the Sinestro Corps? Can these Justice League teammates work together to solve the mystery?
Why does this book matter?
Simon and Jessica are finally gelling as a team and their inclusion in the Justice League comic has increased their purpose in the DCU. Add in an assist story arc for Batman and they’re solidifying their purpose.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Enter, the Batman!
This is one of those issues that feels a bit rocky, but by the end you’ll be a believer. Sam Humphries writes a good intro issue that gets Batman and the Green Lanterns talking about a new threat that only the Lanterns can solve. Humphries plays with the characters’ dynamics, particularly Sam’s argumentative nature with Batman, which helps remind us Simon and Jessica are average people and can be wrong sometimes. It’s a bit rocky as it feels a bit like a distraction with little purpose, but I suppose Batman and Simon should have an inherent issue considering he carries a gun wherever he goes.
It’s not the two arguing the whole issue however with a new villain entering Gotham that needs some smiting. The Lanterns get to enjoy a bit of a tour of Gotham, complete with a look at the Bat-Cave (pretty bold Batman can trust them isn’t it?) and a meeting with Jim Gordon. It’s not until the last few pages of the book do we realize what the threat to Gotham is and how it connects to the Lanterns’ worst enemy — which is a neat concept in general as it connects to the recent uproar over fake news and in this issue it directly connects to a new threat to Batman.
The art by Neil Edwards keeps Jessica and Simon animated and easy to read. Batman does a lot of scowling which is easy enough to understand and he looks cool throughout. There’s no skimping on backgrounds or environments which helps keep the semblance of reality in the book. There’s definitely a horror feel to the threat which is aided by the inks and darker tone in color. The cliffhanger splash page is a hell of a lot of fun too and you get the sense this story is going to be a lot of fun because of it.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s nice to see heroes disagreeing (and not just blindly following each other without a second thought) but it takes up much of this issue (5 pages or so) and ends up feeling like filler. A point is made from it, Simon’s ego is hurt for sure, but it ends up going on so long much of the book seems to be focused on this alone. The last half of the book refocuses in a good way, though it makes the overall experience seem disjointed.
Is It Good?
A somewhat disjointed issue that starts a new arc with a threat that’s an inspired combination of Batman and Green Lantern villains. Green Lanterns #16 does a good job connecting to real world issues with superhero flair.