THIS REVIEW OF ‘FAR SECTOR’ #1 CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS.
by Clyde Hall. A new Terran Green Lantern, a patrol sector as distant and alien as one could imagine, and a non-whodunit murder mystery in a megacity where there hasn’t been such a crime in 500 years.
Ah, Young Animal. I’ve missed you.
Sojourner “Jo” Mullein is the new Green Lantern, but in no way a typical one. Atypical selection process, atypical ring, atypical assignment. She’s not even a natural using her ring-slinging powers. Kilowog would be agog.
But Lantern Mullein is smart, instinctive when it comes to investigative process, and a cop. She threads her way between roles as an outsider and an emissary of the Guardians without suffering fools gladly. Most of us have been the new employee, maybe transplanted to an unfamiliar setting, and saddled with a job much like one we’ve performed before. Just lots more demanding. Our hyper-vigilance is engaged as our minds work to keep up. That’s Jo, and given her beat, she may be the most effective GL possible for The City Enduring.
Jo’s also a great filter between the occupants, a Trilogy of sentient races, and we her fellow humans. We relate to her appraisals and explanations of their society, their history, their technology. She knows her strengths and her weaknesses in the situation and invests us with those struggles as we share her cosmic ride.
The story is deceptively simple, until we begin to see it through the emerald lens of Jo. A City resident’s been killed. The killer is in custody but not forthcoming with motive. The populace is shocked but marginally so. The Trilogy, owing to their individual races’ proclivity for violence, have undergone a process that removes or dulls their negative emotions. They don’t feel in the way a human might, though they are far from machine-like and the technology seems proven.
Yet some among them apparently saw this violence coming. Otherwise, why suddenly request a Lantern for a world placid, advanced, and prosperous before one was needed? Coincidence so seldom is.
It struck me that clever, inventive beings devoid of deep feelings might describe serial killers as easily as advanced life forms. With a population in the billions, a City Enduring headed toward psychotic breakdown would prove challenging.
It’s a blisteringly creative first issue by author N.K. Jemisin. There’s much more exposition than action, yet her approach imparting the needed facts behind Trilogy fascinates. Regarding the hows and whys of Lantern Mullein being on-mission, Jemisin’s more guarded. But what we discover of the world and this hero’s journey whet our imaginations and expectations.
The Trilogy races are humanoid but more complex and nuanced than those in many Lantern stories. Jamal Campbell is well-suited to the art chores, making each race distinctive and individuals recognizable. He also fashions the City into the complex, wonder-filled civilization it should be. His vision of a place so not-here combines with Jemisin’s narrative to connect us with Jo and her trepidations serving so far from home.
The design of Jo’s uniform also benefits from Campbell’s art. It’s GL iconic with functional custom appeal. It’s stylish, it’s striking, and it’s just cool. Those artists interested in designing a new look for an established hero type, take note: This is how it’s done well.
The Trilogy has their speech font, and it comes with symbols and flare which make them unique. With all that in mind, Deron Bennett’s lettering challenge is to keep the dialogue and the narration distinctive and easy to follow. He does a beautiful job of it.
Readers accustomed to the traditional Corps, its 3600 sector assignments, and the usual power ring precepts may find the changes this series explores discomfiting. Young Animal isn’t about conforming to the same old, however, and neither should we be. Especially not when an excellent story crafter is working to bring about a fresh dynamic and taking chances with what’s come before.
After reading through #1 several times, there was a lingering awareness that boundaries had shifted, extraterrestrial horizons expanded. It wasn’t unlike the first couple Sandman tales. Those shared elements from House of Mystery but was accompanied by a sense the field of horror, fantasy, and mystery comics had suddenly evolved. Far Sector leaves you with a similar glow, in emerald, regarding the status quo of science fiction comics and cosmic heroes.
DC’s Young Animal / DC / $3.99
Written by N.K. Jemisin.
Illustrated by Jamal Campbell.
Letters by Deron Bennett.
9 out of 10
Check out this 5-page preview of ‘Far Sector’ #1, including variant covers by Shawn Martinbrough and Jamie McKelvie, courtesy of DC’s Young Animal and DC!