James Bacon Reviews Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell

By James Bacon: Rain is falling on the corpse — a crime scene, and the focus of a Green Lantern and a Peace officer as we read a quote from Chinua Achebe. A puzzling intrigue in a fantastical science fictional world on the edge of the Galaxy, where murder is something from a long-ago past, when the species of City Enduring experienced feelings, unlike now as all twenty billion citizens live harmoniously together, without emotion.

This is one of the best comics of 2020. Currently on issue ten, this is a twelve-issue miniseries, with a collected edition planned later in the year. Remaining consistently popular throughout 2020, the series like so many comics has had a tough 2020, but this is one of the comics that stands out so strongly, a fresh and genuinely brilliant comic. 

N. K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell have created a wonderful character in Sojourner Mullein, ‘Jo’ from Brooklyn, the newest Green Lantern. The world Jo has been requested by is utterly fascinating, a Dyson Swarm at the far reaches of the galaxy. While it is set in the DC Universe and our protagonist is a Green Lantern, the surrounding science fictional story telling is utterly fabulous, and this is matched in very finely drawn panels, Campbell really utilising every square inch of the pages to portray excitement and give a real sense of place. A unique, bewilderingly beautiful place inhabited by three distinct species. The crime spirals, the murderer becomes murdered, politics and relationships between  Jo and ‘The Trilogy’ the representatives of the three species twist and turn as we delve deeper into this astonishing new world.

Gerard Way suggested to N.K. Jemisin a Green Lantern who was on their own, in a far off place, with no support and within a futuristic society and, Jemisin has done a phenomenal job in creating and bringing together the history of the three species, a difficult history, and the eradication of feelings and emotion is now a concern and issue. The innovation that stripped away emotion at a genetic code level is now under threat. A narcotic that allows emotions to be felt, and this of course has its own correlations and causations, is why help is needed and why the Lantern is so important, as she has emotions and can maybe help the people of City Enduring. 

The first issue was intense, full of detail yet with an easy ability to give the reader the lay of the land, while so much fun — one of the species, Jo explains are the @at and as she say’s  ‘pronounced “at-at” don’t laugh…’ and I laughed out loud at this. There were many moments were I sat back with a wide happy smile, at references and comments and visual brilliance that I did not expect, but immediately recognised.   

Campbell’s artwork, is vibrant and polished, I love his clean line but his colours are amazing, he captures action and speed so well, complementing this with intricate backgrounds portraying fantastically this imaginative science fictional world, to nearly the design level of detail. One can get very caught up in his incredible world, while he too is also playful with his work, bringing in the fun and smiles, as we see those references. This all lures the reader deeper in, capturing attention. Derron Bennett’s lettering also sits in perfectly, there is just such a fully polished comic here. 

Jo is a great character and her history, which continually is touched upon,  gets explored in more detail in issue 5, and this starts with a fabulous cover, a Green Lantern looking into the Flying Car window and the reflection of a US Army Soldier in a Humvee looking back, and there is  so much to love about Jo, from her John Stewart toy to her strength in dealing with her police partner in New York committing a  brutal killing, as our fantastical story twists and turns, the now is reflected and considered and there is some wonderful usage of quotes through the series which are finely placed. 

Jemisin knows her Green Lantern, that is for sure, this is an incredibly cracking good story, so neatly crafted and yet one always feels that these is such depth, the historical visual references, which readers may know, or may search for, the flashbacks, Jo watching on horrified as a victim is pistol-whipped by her police partner, her life a real and difficult challenge that she has risen to, it is poignant and of the moment, and then here we have Guardians of the Peace turn emotionlessly on those they are meant to protect. 

There is so much to the world, the language and delightful names of characters and parts of the Dyson Swarm, the three very distinct and unique species, all so different and yet still with very realistic difficulties and issues in a place where emotions are prohibited to protect them from one another.  

The murder mystery and political intrigue are captivating, but Jo and her relationships and determination and will power are vital and saw me captivated, waiting for the next issue, even now with two issues to go, as the tension and excitement has risen, I am keen to share how brilliantly well done this comic is. I had not expected to be loving a Green Lantern comic to this degree, and in many regards Jemisin has created an incredible Lantern in a far flung world, and is telling such an enjoyable story, yet one that makes the reader reflect and think, and given our times, carefully brings us back to our own world, be it with apt quotes or fearless fiction. 

Far Sector is fabulous. 

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3 thoughts on “James Bacon Reviews Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell

  1. As a fan of both Green Lantern and Jemisin, this was a no-brainer for me.

    DC is currently doing an event called “Future State”, with stories that might or might not actually happen, set a few years ahead of current time. In “Future State: Justice League”, Jo is back on Earth and heading up that team. I do hope this means that DC has plans to do things with the character once this series is over.

    I have a few quibbles about her ring: it doesn’t strike me as an improvement on the standard model. (And not just because it’s supposedly “weaker” — the GL ring is and always has been strong enough to do whatever the plot requires, while too weak to do anything the writer doesn’t want it to.)

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