The first volume of the DC Rebirth Green Lanterns series was, I thought, not very good.
However, there was buzz the series got much better starting with the second volume, subtitled The Phantom Lantern. Was that true?
Fortunately, it was true. The newer storyline was much better, in part due to a more interesting antagonist, and due to the character’s general nature, I am hesitant to call him a “villain”.
When volume one ended, a long lost Guardian of the Universe named Rami appeared to Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, Earth’s current Green Lanterns, and told them he had a very dangerous weapon known only as the Phantom Ring. What was the Phantom Ring? It was a specialized power ring that could tap any color in the emotional spectrum, granting the wearer the power of any of the various Lantern Corps. And unlike the other rings, this one did not choose its wearer, so anyone could put it on and use it.
The problem is there is someone who would very much like to use it. His name is Frank Laminski, a man whose felt ignored and overlooked his whole life. He’s a perennial optimist, though, and when he managed to piece together what the Green Lantern Corps was, he dedicated his life to somehow getting chosen by a power ring, and when it doesn’t happen, his obsession with having a ring and being a hero lead him to a bad alliance with Volthoom, the First Lantern, who was as the name suggests the original Lantern, someone driven to evil and madness by his experience. Volthoom obviously has his own agenda here, and the problem is the emotionally unsteady and unstable Frank just channels seemingly random emotions and powers through the ring in a manner that makes him less of a hero and more of a terror for everyone around him.
As the new Phantom Lantern, Frank is an interesting new character. He doesn’t want to be a villain but clearly has no idea how to be a hero, and the more the reader sees of him, the less of a poor victim he seems to be and more of an obsessive type. As it is, Simon and Jessica actually debate what to do about him, and that debate turns out to be partially the key to Frank’s debate. Writer Sam Humphries greatly improved this series, and I will look forward to reading more in the future. Eight and a half Halloween pranks played on meditating Guardians out of ten.