To nitpick a little, I’d say one of the biggest problems in contemporary superhero comics is that they infrequently have the characters directly saving civilians. Instead, characters spend a lot of time saving fellow superheroes, like in X-Men, or they go into outer space and fight big battles to save the entire planet, like in Superman. All too often though, comics don’t show superheroes simply saving ordinary people anymore.
This is fairly pronounced in Green Lantern. Most of the GLs now spend just about all of their time in outer space. Kyle Rayner basically renounced Earth years ago, and Hal hasn’t donned his civilian clothes in a long time (well, until now, in the aftermath of the War of the Green Lanterns). Sure, Geoff Johns and Peter Tomasi have written some cool, exciting stories in recent years, but I’d like to see the characters stopping bank robbers or saving falling people now and then. For these reasons and more, I’m calling the issues collected in The Brave and the Bold: Without Sin graphic novel some of the best Green Lantern comics in years.
The Without Sin story is a 4 issue arc written by David Hine that begins with The Stranger calling Hal’s attention to a group of children who have been mutated by genetic testing. It’s revealed that one of these children has been writing in a completely foreign langauge, and, as Hal’s ring calls it (remember, his ring can translate any language in the universe), the language is from a planet way off in the cosmos. They then visit this planet to find out the whole place is falling apart, and not only that, but its fate is directly tied to the fate of the little girl. Are they saving the girl to save the planet, or saving the planet to save the girl?
The story has a fun, vintage sci-fi appeal. I was reminded a lot of the morality plays of old Star Trek and Twilight Zone episodes.
Also included in the graphic novel is a 2 issue story featuring Supergirl and Raven teaming up. One neat thing about this is that it’s written by Marv Wolfman, who was the writer who came up with the original idea for Raven decades ago.