A Superhero Dating App Leads To Human Trafficking In Green Lanterns #40

by James Ferguson

After stopping an alien civil war, Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz have returned to Earth and are helping people in the wake of a natural disaster. They’re joined by a myriad of other heroes to rescue folks trapped in flooded areas and ferry them to safety. When one of Simon’s recent hook-ups goes missing (unrelated to the flooding), the duo go out searching only to find a strange connection between a number of lesser hero disappearances and a new super hero dating app.

The opening pages show Simon and Jessica as nothing short of heroic. They fearlessly fly into a disaster area that hits a little close to home considering the still very fresh flooding in Houston and Puerto Rico. The rings are used to create barriers to hold back water and rafts to carry people. Artist Barnaby Bagenda captures that altruistic feeling well. Plus, I’ll never get tired of how colorist Ulises Arreola highlights the Green Lanterns with an ambient, fluorescent energy that always looks cool.

The dynamic between Simon and Jessica has worked well since they’ve been put together as partners. I was worried for a bit that they would be forced together into some sort of relationship, but that hasn’t been the case up until now. Green Lanterns #40 drops some major hints as to a possible romance between the two that feels forced and contrived. They work so well as friends and partners that a “will-they-won’t-they” story is weird to me. We’ll see how it plays out though. It could make for some interesting and funny lines. I just don’t have high hopes for it.

Before we get to there, we do have an excellent scene as Jessica signs up for the dating app called Caper. The dialogue here is top notch. This is what I was talking about when I mentioned funny lines. Writer Tim Seeley gets this character so well. This is one of the many reasons Jessica has become my favorite Green Lantern. She’s fun and quirky, yet still reserved and anxious.

Caper works without secret identities or any other personal information. It works based on your hero name and some basic details. Jessica is disappointed to find that “Green Lantern” is already taken, presumably by Simon, so she puts her name as “Pancake Princess” which is adorable. She’s really hoping to get Nightwing as a match, which is emphasized with some great dialogue. As Seeley used to write Nightwing, this is a nice touch.

Also, I refuse to believe that there’s a super hero dating app and Guy Gardner is not on it. If he’s not listed as “Green Lantern” what could his name be? Maybe he’s just that full of himself that he put his actual name down.

When Simon and Jessica confront Caper’s creators, there’s another pitch perfect moment as one of the programmers rattles off reasons why they don’t collect personal data on their users. This list includes getting sent to the distant past, turning evil, and dying and coming back. These are all things that have definitely happened, some of which to the Green Lanterns themselves. It’s a nice little piece of meta commentary.

Green Lanterns #40 is a bit more street level, which gives Simon and Jessica a larger-than-life appearance. Granted, they do make a pitstop at the Justice League Watchtower, but aside from that, they’re flying around planetside. When they show up at Caper headquarters, which is literally a garage, they look a little out of place, although rather intimidating. You get the sense that they could do anything in this space.

Bagenda creates this great effect to show multiple pieces of information at once. It’s used twice during this issue. Smaller images pop up, like computer screen holograms showing specific people or events to further explain what’s going on in the main part of the page. It works to frame the central image too.

Simon and Jessica are about to uncover an interstellar super hero human trafficking ring tied to a niche dating app. That, right there, is a storyline you’re only going to find in a comic book. While the victims are some of the least known characters in the DC Universe (if they weren’t actually created for this arc), they still deserve justice and that’s what the Green Lanterns are all about. If anything, these Z-grade heroes are about to get the team-up of their lives.

Green Lanterns #40 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.