It’s awe inspiring to me that I can know from the moment a comic is announced that it is extremely For Me, and yet still be surprised at how good every issue is. It’s even more impressive that I’m getting it from two creators who are relatively new to the medium. But that’s the beauty of Far Sector: even when it’s been great, it gets better.
I think my first exposure to N.K. Jemisin’s writing was prose work. I’m not usually a short story guy, but hers in A People’s Future of the United States was so good that I grabbed The Stone Skyright after, and the only reason I didn’t tear through that series beginning to end in a week and a half is a compulsion against adding to my already unwieldy to-read pile. But I knew as I was reading The Stone Sky that Far Sector had a shot at being really special – the world was constructed for me so vividly, and the structure was deliberate enough that I thought she might translate well into comics. And yet, I’m still stunned at how quickly the medium clicked for her. The pace and flow of the first three issues was almost perfect, the kind of thing you’d see from veterans. And it starts with the central conceit of the series.
The City Enduring is a 20 billion being megacity in space, comprised of three separate species with a history of absurdly violent wars. They brought peace about with the Emotion Exploit, a gene trait that suppresses emotions and allows everyone to live peacefully side by side without wanting to constantly murder your neighbors. When someone is murdered, the council sends for a Green Lantern to investigate, and Jo Mullein is chosen. Playing a Green Lantern (a superhero powered by emotion whose superpower is wishing real hard) off of that setting is smart, and has given us some really entertaining results so far. Jemisin is also exceptionally skilled at releasing information to the reader at the right pace – we don’t know a ton about Jo yet (though we learn a LOT more in issue 4, as you’ll see from the exclusive preview below), but what we see from her combined with what little we get of her backstory is just enough to make me eager for more. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she’s got objectively the best Green Lantern outfit.
Speaking of the outfit, my God, Jamal Campbell. Campbell’s art on Far Sector is so good that when I try and talk about it in person, I’m reduced to holding the book in one hand, wildly gesticulating with the other, and stutter-shouting stuff like “Would you…I mean! Look!” and then a deep, sighing “jeez, right?” I will do my best to be more coherent here, though.
It’s real good.
It’s crappy criticism to reduce the analysis of his work this far, but it’s just so damn cool. The power he puts into some of these panels is absurd. Take a look at the ring blast on the fourth page of the preview. It’s damn near crackling. IT’S SO GOOD. The whole series is like that – there’s a panel later in this issue where Jo teleports, and the look she gives the camera combined with the teleporter effect hits that sweet spot of badass and medium-hard sci fi that triggers just the best endorphin rush in my brain. Campbell’s action sequences are superb, vibrant affairs, and he manages to make The City look slick and lived in at the same time.
The total package on Far Sector is amazing, but if you don’t believe me, read this preview.
Here’s what DC has to say about the book.
FAR SECTOR #4 written by N.K. JEMISINart and cover by JAMAL CAMPBELLWith the so-called Peace Division firing upon the protesters it’s meant to protect, new Green Lantern Jo Mullein devises a novel solution to bring the chaos to a close—one that causes the rookie Lantern to run afoul of the City Enduring’s leadership council. Meanwhile, we learn more about Jo’s recruitment into the Green Lantern Corps, and the nature of her mysterious and unique power ring.
Take a look!