Review: Lantern City #1

If you listened to this week’s episode of the CBMFP then you’ve already heard me talk about Lantern City #1 a little bit. Overall I enjoyed this issue. The writing is solid and doesn’t stumble largely due to its veteran creators led by Paul Jenkins. The art from Carlos Magno is beautiful and a great use of his talents. The part that I’m struggling with is that I don’t know where the story is going to go. Now that sounds like a big “duh” since we never know until we read it, but it’s more of a where can it go that will be believable? Now there’s going to be spoilers ahead so you’ve been warned, but I will start just by telling you about the story and world.

Lantern City starts off by explaining the world to us. The city is protected by the Greys, persons that have an actual grey hue to their skin. These Greys protect the city from some kind of outside intruder that may have been wiped out already. The Guards work for the Greys by keeping the order and making sure people work. The workers… do everything else. From food, to the basics of keeping the city running, but regardless of your job everyone is the same… living like shit.

Lantern-City-#1-1Our main character Sander works in the yellowberries field and through him we learn more about the world. He’s chained to another man while they work and his partner begins singing which brings the attention of the guards. They instantly beat him and because Sanders is shackled to him they beat him to. We learn rule number one of this world… the actions of one are the actions of all. Which if you’re going to be a dictator is a great way to justify beating everyone for anything.

As the story goes on an opportunity presents itself to Sanders and this is the part that left me wondering where exactly this story was going to go and it’s a spoiler for sure. Sanders is going undercover as a Captain in the guard. The problem I have with this is that it’s very much like a video game in which you steal a costume and just need to get by the level in order to progress to the next level of the game. It works in a video game because no one expects much from the stories, but here in the comic what are we to expect?

How would this man that’s never been a guard and didn’t even know they had faces up until a minute ago, supposed to fake it? And what can he really accomplish? Again that’s why we need to keep reading, but it really feels like a convenient yet extravagant route for the story.

Overall it’s still a good story. We learn a lot about the world and the characters we meet have real personalities. Sander’s is a bit stiff though which is again why the video game analogy works because a lot of times the character you play is left vague so you can paint your own personality on to them.

The art is definitely a strong aspect of the story. I don’t know if the visuals can lead the story quite yet, but they manage a lot on their own. The coloring gives the city and the world a personality and sets the tone of the story. If there’s one thing Lantern City #1 has its tone and personality.

I’ll definitely be back for the next issue and I’ll have to clear my mind of expectations and try not to anticipate what it’s going to do next. It’s a curious tale so far, but we’ll have to see if it has the legs to keep going or if it’s just an interesting world that would work better in a different medium.

Score: 3/5

Lantern City #1 Writers: Paul Jenkins, Matthew Daley Artist: Carlos Magno Colorist: Chris Blythe Publisher: BOOM!/Archaia Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/13/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital