This issue has brand new Green Lantern, Simon Baz, meeting the Justice League for the very first time. While it doesn’t go as smoothly as one would hope, it does create a complex dynamic between him and the team, as well as setting up Simon’s role in the upcoming Justice League of America title, which will be about a different, more underground type of team.

Simon’s story has the ingredients of an absorbing political thriller and introduces us to a timely sort of hero. His background is questionable, he’s on the run from the law, and his family life is turbulent, with his sister being his sole contact and confidante. The League is, naturally, very suspicious about how Simon got his ring, as well as concerned about the fate of Hal Jordan. Speaking of which, we do get a glimpse of where Hal and Sinestro might be. The fact that they’re existing anywhere at all is a comfort, to be honest. Ever since hearing about the new Green Lantern, I was afraid they were going to cast Hal and Sinestro aside. Not so, it appears! In fact, I think both will play a vital role in defeating the mad Guardians of the Universe, as well as this mysterious “First Lantern” they’re keeping prisoner.

Geoff Johns’ writing is as action-packed as ever, containing just the right balance of intrigue and humor. Particularly, the League’s reaction to Simon and vice versa. (Batman’s line is my favorite.) We’re also treated to some damned fine artwork by Doug Mahnke, who displays some of his best work on the title yet. Alex Sinclair and Tony Avina adding their vibrant colors make it even more beautiful. Especially the sequence with The Flash chasing after Simon. Very inventive artwork and writing. When you read it, you’ll see what I mean.

I’m happy to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the new direction this title has taken. I was prepared to despise Simon Baz. Instead, he’s become one of the most intriguing characters of the New 52. Well played, Geoff Johns. Well played. 10/10