Are The Guardians The Real Villains In Green Lanterns #31?

by James Ferguson

Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz have trained the very first batch of Green Lanterns ten billion years in the past. They have taken the fight to Volthoom, the First Lantern who is trying to destroy the Guardians of the Universe before they even get started. A number of the first ring-slingers have already died in combat, sending their rings in search of a viable host. Four of them have found one in Simon.

Green Lanterns #31 picks up right where the previous issue left off, in the heat of battle against Volthoom. While the action is big and exciting, the fight itself is ultimately rather disappointing.  They don’t really accomplish all that much aside from getting a few rookies killed. The threat of Volthoom is still very real and just as deadly as ever before. I guess it’s a good thing that Simon and Jessica didn’t alter the past too much to avoid creating another timeline, but did their journey do anything at all?
One quick thing that’s bugged me for the past few issues is Simon’s costume. He’s been without a ring for a bit now and when a Lantern loses his ring, they lose the uniform. Simon just lost his mask. Does this mean he wears a Green Lantern uniform all the time? Where did he get that? This is a silly nitpicky thing to think about, but I was wondering about it.

I’m also curious as to the meaning of the shards of his last ring embedded within his arm. Simon ultimately gets a new one so it feels like that could have been a cool plot point that ended up not going anywhere. It may come up again in future issues, but as it stands, it was just left hanging.
Anyway, the Guardians are painted as the real villains in this whole mess. They used Volthoom and his travel lantern and then tried to discard the guy once they were through with him. When confronted with information about how to fix this issue and avoid numerous other future deaths, the Guardians doubled down on their earlier convictions and did the same exact thing they did before, reinforcing my earlier statement about how Simon and Jessica didn’t really do anything with this trip.

The surviving Lanterns wield some impressive constructs illustrated by Ronan Cliquet and colorist Hi-Fi. Simon leads this charge and even includes a call-back to a previous issue. I don’t fully understand how having multiple Green Lantern rings makes you more powerful if they’re already the strongest weapon in the universe, but they certainly look cool.
Volthoom’s powers are ever-changing based on his emotions, so the energy swirling around him is constantly in flux. He is especially terrifying when he taps into rage, casting him in a dark red glow.

Green Lanterns #31 ends in a re-affirming, super positive fashion, however not much has really changed.  In hindsight, the “Out of Time” arc is too long and drawn out. It feels like something that could have been done in a max of two or three issues, especially since most of the First Lanterns were killed off pretty quickly. The arc gave Simon and Jessica a self-esteem boost, but didn’t do all that much in the scheme of things. It had a lot of potential and ultimately fell flat. I’m still curious as to where writer Sam Humprhies is taking this after such a strange detour.
Green Lanterns #31 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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