It has become customary for writer Sam Humphries to throw in a flashback issue focused on one character in Green Lanterns. Given its bi-weekly schedule, it’s okay to take a break from the main characters and give a villain or side character special focus. This issue focuses on Rami, the Guardian whose body was abducted by Volthoom many issues ago. This story takes place 10 billion years ago, which is roughly around when the Green Lantern rings were first created.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“OUT OF TIME” part one! Ten billion years ago, Volthoom nearly wiped out the Guardians of the Universe. What power was able to stop him, and where did it go? Learn more about the history of the First Lantern as “Out of Time” begins!
Why does this book matter?
Sam Humphries has taken Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz and made them incredibly complex and interesting characters. Along the way, he’s built up and revealed new backstory for the Green Lantern rings and made for a richer mythology. This issue just adds to that.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Oh ya, he’s real insane with power.
This issue is all about Volthoom and Rami, from how they met to how they ultimately parted ways. It’s interesting to see Volthoom again in his human form and not 100% crazy. In fact, this issue goes into how he may have gotten worse and ultimately how Rami inadvertently created a threat to the Guardians. The story in this issue adds a lot to the Green Lantern history and gives the reader an impression of the breadth of the universe’s history and that things were very different before the Green Lanterns existed. It’s also neat to see Humphries drop a detail or two about the Guardians themselves and how they were different (and why they’re so short!). If you dig creation stories you’ll love this issue.
There’s also another reveal of one of the first Green Lanterns, something Humphries has slowly unveiled over a few issues now. This origin helps convey the depths at which this Green Lantern had to go to reach where they are and it also ends the issue in a natural way. A bigger story is building and Humphries has had the patience to unveil it slowly but assuredly.
Ronan Cliquet draws this issue well with a double page layout and a full page spread that showcase how Volthoom went a little mad. Given how much dialogue is in this issue–and boy, is there a lot in some panels–Cliquet does a good job keeping the action moving and the lengthy dialogue digestible. The story never feels slow.
Anyone going to ask him if he got this name from a “Best Villain Names” baby book?
It can’t be perfect can it?
The only drawback of this issue, besides it not containing the main characters titled on the cover, is the somewhat illogical nature of Volthoom’s rise to become all powerful. Not enough is done to make Volthoom seem all there, or at least have a Guardian really question what his intentions are, which makes them seem pretty foolish to give this erratic person limitless power. He’s sort of like a wildman pilot and not the type that should just be handed all kinds of power. It makes the Guardians seem foolish, including Rami, who may have thought Volthoom was his friend, but not enough was shown to make that believable.
Is It Good?
Green Lantern fanatics are going to read this and possibly lose their minds. There’s a lot of history unveiled here and Volthoom is clearly the ultimate villain the Green Lanterns were built on. If you dig story building you’ll need this.