After saving the Molites from certain death when their planet exploded, Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz moved the alien race to the planet Ungara within their Space Sector. The refugees were not met with open arms as cultures clashed. Violence is now on the rise as protests are breaking out in the streets, forcing the Molites underground. When an Ungaran commodore is murdered, the Lanterns are called back to Ungara to investigate and help bring the peace.
Green Lanterns #37 shows the other side of heroism. It’s one thing to save someone’s life, but what happens after? Simon and Jessica are not responsible for the future well being of every single person they save, however in this case, their actions have disrupted an entire planet, even though it was all cleared by the Ungaran ruler. They came into the Molites lives at a time of great distress, yet the aliens were ready to die, having accepted their fate. Now they’re stranded on Ungara with fates that might be worse than death.
Much of this issue is spent in discussion as the Lanterns investigate. This is not to say it’s boring as it’s quite the opposite. Writer Tim Seeley doesn’t just have the characters standing around talking. Instead, they’re doing it while interesting things are happening, creating a more exciting story. For example, when they first arrive on Ungara, Simon and Jessica are briefed by the regent. This is not done in a board room or a sedentary space. It’s done as the regent is training and she asks the Lanterns to join her, making for a fun sparring match as the background information is given.
The armor conjured by the Lanterns’ rings shows us more of the personality and background of each character. Simon is clad in Arabian robes, complete with scimitar. Jessica’s armor like that of a knight in a fantasy novel with intricate vines covering most of it.
There’s a heart-wrenching scene where we find out what the Molites have gone through recently. This is handled delicately and sets up just how evil the villain behind all this is which will come back around later on. We’re talking about a very heinous act that is completely unforgivable. Despite witnessing this atrocity, Podfather Vob, the leader of the Molites, recognizes what must be done to save his people and takes action to hopefully end this violence.
There’s a wave of resigned acceptance that comes over Vob. He’s always regal and proper, yet you can see the emotion within peeking through. Artist Carlo Barberi adds such weight to this scene. There’s one panel where Vob is speaking with the Lanterns, his big eyes staring forward almost in shock, that hits like a punch to the gut. This is the moment he decides what he must do.
Even with all this going on, Green Lanterns #37 finds time to add some personal reflection for both of the main characters. Simon’s comes in how lonely he is since he moved to the Sector House as seen in the opening pages. He’s cut off from most of the outside world, thinking he can’t fit in back at home, but it’s clearly not working out as well as he’d hope.
Meanwhile, Jessica has a moment with the regent where she looks for guidance. She sees a strong, confident woman in this ruler and wonders how someone could hold everything together in the face of such chaos. Jessica has been doing well in controlling her anxiety, but it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Every day is a constant struggle.
Green Lanterns takes a cooler approach with the beginning of this new arc, focusing more on intrigue and espionage than outright fisticuffs. It’s taking Simon and Jessica out of their comfort zones and putting them right in the middle of an alien powder keg.