Far Sector #5 Review

by Jay Hill on March 26, 2020

Written by: N. K. Jemisin
Art by: Jamal Campbell
Lettered by: Deron Bennett
Published by: DC's Young Animal

Green Lantern Sojourner Mullein’s dealings in the City Enduring have been shaky at every turn. She has a case she can’t crack, she’s working with a government she can’t trust, and she’s trying to fight for a society on the brink of a civil war. While she keeps trying to make things right for all parties, we are given a look into her past that may show why this fight is so important to her.

Jo’s history is explored finally, and some insight is given to why she wields the ring. Through a few scenes traversing years in her life, we are shown what experiences have built her into the woman we have been reading about. In these scenes, we see she is righteous and that, even if she’s not entirely sure why, she will fight for those who are wronged. We also see the different ways she has tried to help. These do a good job of showing her determination but still doesn’t give her a defined presence. But, since her run as a Lantern has been revealed to be on a trial period, this means, like joining the Military, going to Princeton, and becoming a police officer, this is another venture she has taken up to learn about herself and why she fights. That would explain why she appears slightly undefined; she, herself, is just learning about what's at her core. That mean this series could be about her learning the “why” to her story.

The backstory was great, and I liked the very grounded and believable picture it painted and its representation. However, the glimpses we were given of a rocky family life, her being affected by the attacks on 9/11, and her being an ambitious student who pivoted her life towards “justice” were sort of ambiguous. Like coming up with my above theory, I felt like at times the reader was left to fill in the blanks themselves instead of the story painting the picture. I liked it was wrapped back around that she mentions her father a lot in previous issues and the flashbacks show how close they were. But some elements felt like I had to reach to connect their meaning to Jo’s story.

With the focus being on Jo’s origin, the present-day story still moved along well. The end had some implications for the ongoing mystery. The issue started by stating Jo was going to dive into the investigation to finally get some answers but the information she got in that scene seemed like a minor piece that may come into play later. The apparent real “big break” comes towards the end in the form of an unexpected phone call. If that phone call wrapped around with the investigation she did earlier, it seems like that simple tie would have added some needed cohesion to the narrative. I’ve been feeling, and still feel, like the story lacks an “ongoing” feel. That doesn’t take away from the quality of the narrative it just adds a sense of aimlessness. It’s like a beautiful painting cut into a jigsaw puzzle and while the pieces are all in the right place, they’re separated a bit so that you can still make out the great work, but there are gaps. If it was all connected and cemented into place, the experience would be that much better.

On the art side of things, we’re still at the top-notch level we started. There were many great illustrations of Jo in her construct enhanced clothing. The effects in the coloring are stellar. But, while the art’s ability to create other-worldly visuals has been on display throughout the series, this issue we got to see its ability in a more grounded, real-world atmosphere. From the start, with Jo in more civilian clothes, it could be seen. But, when the flashbacks begin, which happen on Earth (obviously), then we get some visuals that we haven’t really seen. With Jo’s childhood, we get to see illustrations of her young (baby hair on fleek). The illustrations of black people were outstanding; there’s a club scene where the clubgoers are dancing and it has some great character designs (I imagine Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up was paying). And the realism captured in the military scenes were nice; I liked the cohesive coloring of the fatigues, the desert, and the civilian’s clothes.

Far Sector continues to be an enjoyable, yet hard to pin down, series. The talent on display is undeniable, but cohesion is lacking. This origin focused issue was a great look at the character of Green Lantern Sojourner Mullein and may be one of the most engrossing because of how revealing it is. And with that view of the past, the art gets to also show us some different things. I’m still not sure where the “main story” is leading us, but this issue’s end shows we are progressing towards something.

Our Score:


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