The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week: July 8 – July 14, 2015

I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 9 comics last week: Star Trek/Green Lantern #1, Batman #42, Batman/Superman #22, Gotham Academy #8, Justice League United #11, (I am dropping this one…), Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2, JLA #2, Civil War #1 and Lando #3.

The best comic I read last week was Star Trek/Green Lantern #1

Star Trek Green Lantern

In recent years, IDW publishing has taken to publishing comics that Marvel and DC used to pump out with regularity: inter-company cross overs. I miss the days of JLA/Avengers and Superman/Spider-Man. There is so much competition between the two companies that they have given up on these sorts of stories, which is too bad.

IDW has cornered the market on these sorts of things, publishing one a year it seems. Some of these are compelling (Star Trek/Legion of Superheroes and Star Trek/Doctor Who come to mind), some are off the wall (but fun like GI Joe/Transformers) and some are really out of left field (was anyone really crying for Mars Attacks/Judge Dredd?). Sometimes, though, the oddest concept works better than one could anticipate.

Star Trek/Green Lantern is just such a concept.  Written in perfectly pitched voice by veteran Star Trek comic book writer Mike Johnson and Illustrated by Angel Hernandez with excellent likeness to the Star Trek characters, Star Trek/Green Lantern is a surprising delight.

These two science fiction concepts work very well together and, with a slight amount of comic book plotting calisthenics, the 21st Century Green Lantern encounters the 23rd Century Star Trek crew. The story, in fact, spans more than just these two time periods.

Beginning in the distant past and rocketing into the 23rd Century, Star Trek/Green Lantern #1 focuses mainly on the crew of the re-imagined starship Enterprise of the JJ Abrams reboot era as they come across the ancient body of one of the Guardians of the Universe of Green Lantern lore. As Captain Kirk and crew investigate, lantern rings from across what is called “The Emotional Spectrum” begin to search for bearers, and this is the most fun part of the story. Where are these rings going to find new wearers? Among the Enterprise crew, of course. As the story goes, different color rings gravitate towards people possessing different emotional strengths. Seeing which of the rings select which of the crew is part of the fun of the story. The introduction of the re-imagined universe’s Star Trek VI villain General Chang is another.

But the most fun I had was when I flipped over to last page of the issue which brings the Enterprise face-to-face with the most well known Green Lantern of all: Hal Jordan. I smiled widely at the beautifully rendered full splash by Angel Hernandez, who does a terrific job with the entire book.

This first issue sets up an intriguing conceit: will the crew of the Enterprise become Lanterns and which will they become?

I am eager for the second issue and, though there were other great books this week (Batman #42, JLA #2 and Lando #1 among them), Star Trek/Green Lantern was my favorite book of the week.

Johnson and Hernandez took a concept which could be silly and made it compelling. I look forward to the next issue and, if you’re a Star Trek fan, you should be reading IDW’s Star Trek. Also, if you’re a fan of a more “traditional” Green Lantern than the one DC is currently publishing, this may well be a good book for you.

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Filed under Comic Book Review, Comic Books, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Weekly Comic Book Review

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