"That stupid wall made me a freak! Not even the kind I like!"
Green Lantern #46 closes the most recent chapter of Hal Jordan's adventures, this one being the first major arc of Robert Venditti's "Renegade" era. This issue seems to settle the issue of the Source Wall's damage during GodHead and effectively takes Black Hand off the table for the foreseeable future with the knowledge that Venditti or a future writer could spring him free if there's a story to be told with him.
The issue starts with an enjoyable conversation between Virgo and Trapper and Venditti uses the final moments of their "vacation" to underscore the differences in their life experiences. While brief the scene provides the reader with some perspective on both characters while hinting that Darlene's time with Hal may be having some effect on her own point of view about organic life. Venditti has said that the Hal will be on his own for the next several issues and it will be interesting to see how the time apart will effect crew when they are reunited.
|You can almost feel sorry for William Hand, almost.|
The main focus of the issue is on Hal and Black Hand's fateful arrival at the Source Wall and here Venditti reinforces with readers that Relic is a being of pure science and logic, able to put aside any emotional energy he may feel about Green Lantern to further his knowledge. Hal is successful in pointing out their common problem with Black Hand's "Medusa effect" and the state of the Source Wall. The arrival of the Darlene and Black Hand's fate are dramatically played out before Hal and the crew make a hasty retreat while Relic's attention is diverted.
With the knowledge that the Source Wall is essentially repairing itself what remains to be seen is what happened to the creature that escaped from beyond the Source Wall at the end of Godhead in Green Lantern Annual #3. Venditti has alluded to a growing threat to the universe which will be addressed some time after issue 50 but whether it's this creature or not remains to be seen. It could just as easily be a reference to Sinestro's rising stature in the wake of the disappearance of the Green Lantern Corps that could draw Hal's attention.
Speaking of the Green Lantern Corps it's Simon Baz who comes to Hal's mind as the issue comes to a close. Baz was to watch out for Earth and Hal has it in mind to see if Baz has gone missing like the other ring bearers, providing the opportunity for Hal to return home and hopefully encounter his family and perhaps even Carol Ferris.
|Trapper and Virgo continue to see things their own way.|
Of course Hal is going to run into someone else in Coast City, namely Sonar. When I interviewed Robert Venditti at this year's Baltimore Comic-Con we spoke a little about Sonar, a classic Green Lantern villain who first appeared in Green Lantern volume 2, issue 14. Venditti is reinventing Sonar for the new DC universe and it will be interesting to see how he modernizes the character for a new age. The story of a small Balkan nation trying to establish itself is a timely one and Venditti is clearly taking inspiration from current events to help inform the motivations for Bito Wladon and the tiny country of Modora. Seeing the rich Green Lantern history being revitalized for a modern audience is something I'm personally excited for so I'm approaching the next few issues with great interest.
Billy Tan turns in a better than average performance this issue, particularly when it comes to playing up the grand scale of Relic and the Source Wall. The two page title page spread is one of the best images thus far in his tenure with the series and generally speaking the book is visually spot on. It's only for those few panels when the action is over and the crew have made their getaway that I find myself reminded of where I don't appreciate Tan's version of Hal.
Green Lantern #46 provides a fitting end for Black Hand even if it's only temporary. Robert Venditti effectively closes one chapter on Hal Jordan's renegade adventures while setting the stage for his return to Earth and the revival of a classic Silver Age adversary. Four out of five lanterns.