“Guy Gardner is the only one too thick-headed to die”
**Author’s note – DC Comics provided The Blog of Oa with an advanced copy for this review. See episode 105 of the Podcast of Oa for an exclusive conversation with Robert Venditti about this issue. An embedded player to listen to the interview is included at the end of this review.**
This week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #2 continues to pull together the pieces of the Green Lantern universe and with this issue writer Robert Venditti brings two of these elements back together as Hal Jordan’s return is made known to Sinestro. Meanwhile across the universe John Stewart, now the leader of the Green Lantern Corps, is putting his own pieces back together as he and Kilowog ponder the state of the Corps now that they are back from the Edge of Oblivion.
The Corps is decimated once again and Venditti tells us that their numbers have dropped below five hundred. With the host of other problems they are facing, like not really knowing where they are, John decides to send one lantern on a recon mission to help the Corp get their bearings once again. This is just the kind of mission that suits Guy Gardner, and it doesn’t take much to motivate Guy to take to the stars once again.
Venditti does a great job of setting the somber tone for the position the Green Lantern Corps find themselves in. John is just the right man to lead the Corps with them in because the situation demands the kind of careful consideration that falls in Stewart’s wheelhouse. John responds with a carefully crafted, but certainly not risk free, plan which also caters to Guy Gardner’s strengths. It’s a credit to Venditti that he’s taken the time himself to consider his cast and craft ways that showcase their unique qualities and personalities that make them two of the cornerstones of the Green Lantern universe.
While John and Guy’s moments serve as an emotional anchor for the issue, it’s Hal Jordan and his continued search for the Corps that provides the action this week. Like he does with John and Guy, Venditti showcases the raw courage and willpower that defines Hal as he takes on both Maash and Slushh at the same time. The fight scenes and dialogue are fun and filled with energy which Rafa Sandoval does such an amazing job at depicting. Hal is clearly driven by the need to find out what happened to his comrades and his single minded pursuit of his goal is ultimately used to great advantage by Sinestro upon learning that his friend and greatest enemy has returned.
I can’t talk about this issue without highlighting the wonderful character dynamics that Venditti establishes between Sinestro and Soranik Natu. Building on the work of Cullen Bunn Venditti takes their relationship and twists it in a very Sinestro like way. The exchanges between them here is some of the best character work that Venditti has written in his tenure in the Green Lantern mythos. Soranik is put is a precarious position and upon finding out that Hal Jordan is back how Soranik responds I feel will be one of the highlights of this run.
I mentioned Rafa Sandoval earlier and there’s a lot more to be said for his contributions to this issue. Simply put the artwork this issue was spectacular from cover to cover. I’m still adapting to his version of Soranik Natu and Kilowog but regardless of my personal preferences there’s no qualms with the quality of the visuals that Sandoval, inker Jordi Tarragona and colorist Tomeu Morey create here. The face work does a great job in conveying emotion, both spoken and unspoken, that make it easy to get pulled into the story. And the energy during the confrontation between Hal and the Sinestro Corps leaps on the page with visuals that really capture the adventurous tone of the series thus far. I have to say that between the two art teams on this series Green Lantern fans have really been given the cream of the crop right now.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #2 is another great installment that is well balanced between the character work, plot progression and action/adventure. Hal Jordan is about to find out how far the scales have been tipped against him with only his lost and wounded allies to hopefully arrive and save the day. Robert Venditti and Rafa Sandoval are on point this issue much to the delight of this Green Lantern fan. Ten out of ten lanterns.