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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Graphic Novel: Far Sector by N.K. Jemisin



Book Links: Goodreads, Amazon

Published: Oct 19, 2021 Publisher: DC Comics Pages:312 Collects Far Sector 1-12



OVERVIEWNo worries, you can read Far Sector outside of the Green Lantern continuity. You don't need a Ph.D. in Lantern mythos to follow and enjoy the story.

Interior art by Jamal Campbell

Enduring is a city inhabited by three different species. Their conflicts were bloody and destructive until the city council imposed Emotion Exploit (a genetic virus that takes away people's emotions) on every citizen. That helped. But there's a new drug on the streets. Switchoff, they call it. It temporarily negates the Emotion Exploit and allows people to experience their first emotions ever. And many people dig the experience. So much so that they are willing to fight for another fix.

The Council doesn't like it. The Council makes laws and enforces them through various agencies (including the "peacekeepers" who are ok with murdering peaceful protestants to keep the "peace"). On the surface, adult members of each race have a say and elect a representative to the council. However, when you dig a little deeper, things get ugly.

Interior art by Jamal Campbell

Far Sector tells the story of Lantern Mullein, who is investigating a murder case in Enduring. Before she was a Green Lantern, she was a cop, and before that, a soldier. And she's always been a Brooklyn girl. In other words, "Jo" is a badass. And probably the only person on the planet who experiences emotions. A tricky situation, made worse by the complicated politics and history of the place. She wants to do good but during her experience in Police, she discovered that there were systemic issues in the way cops operated. 

Interior art by Jamal Campbell

She's also hotheaded and impulsive. I know some readers will love this part of her persona, but I prefer more cerebral, strategically-thinking characters. 

Jemisin's world-building is impressive. But, unfortunately, introducing all the details requires time and makes the narrative dense. As a result, the pacing suffers, too, in places. Despite this, the story remains engaging, especially since politics and social issues are a significant part of the narrative. I like her take on privilege, and the ways in which politics shape communication to normalize ugly things they're doing to maintain power at all costs. All for YOUR safety and well-being of course.

Interior art by Jamal Campbell

The power dynamic between three species of Enduring - Nah, @AT, and keh-Topli is fascinating. There's a whole history here. Two of them are biological, and one of them is cybernetic (@AT). Initially, they helped each other. Then, under the influence of a more technologically advanced Empire, they set off a conflict of apocalyptic proportions. Now, they try to rebuild the city and society. Each species has some issues.

Interior art by Jamal Campbell

The keh-Topli, the plant species, are struggling spiritually. They're carnivorous plants, and they're not allowed to eat people anymore. It caused existential angst among them.

@AT are struggling just to get by. They have no jobs, no money, they have to deal with organized crime. They do love cat memes, though. Cat memes are almost a currency.

Nah are the wealthiest, and they would prefer to keep it this way. 

Shortly, there's a lot of animosities and a history of violent conflict here. And with Switchoff on the streets emotions start to boil.

With the pages full of intense, rainbow hues, interior art will divide readers. Some will absolutely love it, some will find it too busy. I'm in-between. I appreciate Jemisin & Jamal's creations and imaginations, but sometimes the panel felt too busy. This issue aside, the stunning visuals are richly detailed and vivid. Deron Bennett’s lettering is sharp and clean, and it looks great combined with Campbells' art.

CONCLUSION:  Far Sector is an imaginative comic book, with a good story and three-dimensional characters. Expository details and busy panels kill the momentum in places, but, overall, it's a worthwhile read.  It stands on its own fits and enriches the DC Universe. With its strong social commentary, it's a memorable book about making suppressed voices heard.

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