The Green Lantern universe continues to expand as Larfleeze takes off. Larfleeze, also known as Agent Orange or the Orange Lantern, is the sole controller of the Orange Battery and therefore leads the Orange Lantern Corps. As a quick review, the emotional spectrum provides a slew of colors, each paired with an emotion. Green is the power of Will, for example. Orange is the color of Greed, selfishness. Larfleeze became significant during the “Blackest Night” saga and his past is still somewhat unknown. We do know that, at some point, he came into the possession of a container housing Parallax, Yellow Fear itself. Now, much of Larfleeze’s back story occurred long ago during the time of the Manhunters so it will be interesting to see how much background we get as the series kicks off. The Orange light is very powerful, especially against Green Lanterns. Essentially, the Orange light drains the power of Will. Larfleeze is an odd-looking creature, a slender, tall lion-looking beast with what appear to be tusks coming out of the side of his face. He is quite physically powerful and incredibly aggressive. He would not hesitate to tear someone limb from limb.
That brings us to Larfleeze #1 brought to us by Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Scott Kolins. This series is part of “The New 52” and exactly how it will fit in with the existing Green Lantern universe series remains to be seen. We join Larfleeze on the verge of his destruction, at the center of creation. He is accompanied by his only companion, Stargrave, who is a servant or butler of sorts. Stargrave appears to be the brains of the group. While Larfleeze is emotional, intense, self-centered and aggressive, Stargrave comes off as calculated and intelligent. This launch issue focuses primarily on Lafleeze’s background as being told by him. We learn bits of pieces of his childhood and what brought him to be in possession of the Orange Battery. These stories don’t just provide factual information; in fact, they provide the exact opposite. Larfleeze’s stories show us exactly what kind of being he is – angry and dishonest. Meanwhile, Stargrave remains focused on the task at hand and has to explain simple concepts to his master. What appears to be the primary and significant point of this issue is glossed over. I won’t spoil it here, but I will say that I hope they go into more detail in the following issues. Finally, we do get a villain and the beginning of a story arc entitled “The Hunt is On” with a tease of a future story arc, “Revolt of the Orange Lanterns”.
As far as the writing is concerned, the story is interesting and does move at a decent pace for the most part. Some of the voicing is a little over complicated, I think. This issue has a narrator, plus the dialogue appearance is different between Larfleeze and Stargrave when they are talking and also during flashbacks when stories are being told. That provides five different looks to dialogue before we even get to the villain. This is neither good nor bad at this point but I see how it could be helpful to assist in discerning who is talking. The illustrations are colorful and eye-catching. Larfleeze and Stargrave are kept fairly consistent which I appreciate, especially since Larfleeze is a fairly complex character visually. The only complete inconsistency I noted is during one of Larfleeze’s stories. He should be wearing a space suit (or jump suit) but in one frame he is no longer wearing the helmet or suit and the following frame, they are back on. Not a big deal but something worth noting and looking out for in the future. Most interesting for me was that I found myself having a stronger emotional reaction to the illustrations than I did to the dialogue and writing. There are parts of the issue where I feel bad for Larfleeze simply because of how well Kolins portrayed his emotions. This is something I really get into and appreciate. If Giffen and DeMatteis can connect from a story perspective then we might be looking at a fairly powerful series.
Overall, this is an interesting issue and series concept. They have taken a fairly unknown, outcast character and provided his own series. Many would have liked to see spin offs for other Lanterns from various parts of the emotional spectrum, perhaps a Blue Lantern Corps series for example. With that said, I wouldn’t overlook Larfleeze. I think this series can certainly surprise us because we know so little about this part of the emotional spectrum but greed is something all of us can relate to. If you haven’t been greedy yourself, you certainly know others who have been. To build on that, Larfleeze is not a hero in the traditional sense. He is a villain himself. He was a thief and a killer before he came upon the Orange Battery. Now he is the same person but with a very powerful weapon, one he can use against the Green Lanterns and the other Corps. We’ve had Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and John Stewart but Larfleeze is a whole different animal.