GRAPHIC NOVELS

Green Lantern: Legacy

DC Comics. Jan. 2020. 144p. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781401283551.
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Gr 4-6– Lê and Tong reimagine the Green Lantern as a 13-year-old Vietnamese American boy. Tai Pham is at a crossroads, torn between the guidance of his late paternal grandmother, or Bà Noi, whose welcoming presence held the neighborhood together, and tech mogul Xander Griffin, who wants to rebuild Coast City without regard for those already there. Tai learns that his grandmother was a member of the Green Lantern Corps, an intergalactic peacekeeping force. He inherits her magical lantern and ring and, just as she did, takes an oath to fight evil, but can he protect his family and his community? Xenophobes vandalize his family’s store, telling the Phams, refugees from the war in Vietnam, to “go home.” And Xander’s ambitious vision may irrevocably alter Coast City. Tong’s angular illustrations convey body language beautifully and work in tandem with Lê’s characterizations, from awkward and uncertain Tai to self-assured Xander to formidable but loving Bà Noi. Colorist Sarah Stern’s work is masterly; she employs playful spots of green leading up to the splashy, glowing Green Lantern scenes, and dramatic reds, oranges, and yellows during flashbacks. While Lê and Tong keep the explosive action coming, they also tell an intimate story about living up to the traditions that are handed down to us and creating our own legacies.
VERDICT Sci-fi and adventure are flashy vehicles for a tale about power and compassion—and the importance of service to others. Here is a Green Lantern story where owning a magic ring is the least extraordinary thing about the heroes.

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