Keith Giffen (Writer), Tom Raney, Scott Kolins (Artists), Andrew Dalhouse, John Kalisz (Colorists)
The Story: Jediah Caul starts his way in the Hunted game in quite an unfortunate way. Meanwhile, we get an introduction on Stealth and Rikane ‘’Ric’’ Starr, a former space ranger. On the backup, Larfleeze tells his version of his life story.
The Review: If there is one thing I would give credit to Keith Giffen, it would be his ability of world building and his expertise in the use of underused characters. When he wrote Annihilation for Marvel, we could see just how much he could play with all those ideas that floated around in the Marvel universe, from certain species, villains and concepts that weren’t used in God knows how long. With that, he carved the cosmic corner in which Marvel has published many stories, continuing everything Giffen started way back then. Now he is a DC writer, charged with almost the same task– reinvigorate the cosmic side of the DC universe that has been so far centered solely on Green Lantern.
Right away, Giffen starts slowly with the Hunted, some kind of game on a planet named Tolerance where the citizens are encouraged to kill criminals, traitors, and undesirables to gain money and fame. It is in this very situation that we find Jediah Caul, as he begins his status as one of the hunted after being caught for being an undercover Green Lantern in a system where the Corps is hated. Right away, we get to see some signature Giffen storytelling, as he mixes humor with all the facts and darker part of the story; creating a fun, yet serious issue. The first page explains the Hunted and also shows this murderous game as surprising fun, which makes it dark, yet humorous. There are other sequences like the first page, serving as advertisement for what happens on Tolerance and how they generally live. Those may seem trivial, but it shows just how much detail Giffen can put into some sequences as he is building a whole world out of nothing, creating a broken society from Scratch.
There is not just world building in this issue, though, as close to our introduction to Jediah Caul, we get a long action scene where he runs away from the murderous citizens, helped by a strange little girl. The pacing of this scene is actually quite good, as it is full of essential details about our protagonist, Tolerance and his capabilities for survival in a hostile world.
Of course, one must not forget that there is a backup story in this issue featuring our favourite orange lantern: Larfleeze. In this humorous backup, we get to see just what Larfleeze think of himself as the idea to write a book like the guardians has inspired him to kidnap a writer to write about his whole life. The sequence when Larfleeze tells his point of view on how he interprets his life is funny, yet it is also very true to his character. It shows us once more that Giffen knows his humor, yet he also knows that it should never have priority before the plot. It is a good little story that ends with a cliff-hanger that promises us some good fun with the greedy being that is Larfleeze.
What promises even more fun is the art team, as Tom Raney is a superb artist. He’s capable of showing us a credible sci-fi and futuristic city and setting, as I particularly loved his architecture in the background. I also only have praise for the way he draws action and characters, making the book look very dynamic. On the backup section, we have Scott Kolins, who is actually very well chosen as an artist for this kind of story. I said in the Green Lantern New Guardians annual review that he seemed to put too many details into his panels, which brought his talent down a bit. Here, however, it works perfectly, as he draws the large pile of stuff that Larfleeze has really well. He also draws a pretty good Larfleeze, albeit his version would not really count amongst the best depictions of the character.
The Conclusion: Keith Giffen has the opportunity to write some very good science-fiction here and so far he is succeeding with his great mix of plot and humor, helped by the very competent artists that he has in Tom Raney and Scott Kolins.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière