"Today we earn our rings"
With today's eighth issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps writer Robert Venditti begins his second arc of the series by hauling out some of DC's greatest cosmic threats to challenge the Green Lantern Corps before they can get a foothold in the universe again. Joined by Ethan Van Sciver, Venditti sets up the next conflict and keeps the stakes high.
Soranik's band of loyal Sinestro Corps members finds themselves immediately at odds with John Stewart and the Green Lantern and Venditti does a nice job using the situation to create tension between the two groups. Soranik's close relationship with Iolande is called upon which breaks some of the tension and attempts to show that the two groups can work together if they can get passed their past. Venditti also uses the reunion to reveal the reason for Hal Jordan's renegade turn, redeeming him for his actions but not addressing what John Stewart saw when he peered back into our universe when the Green Lanterns disappeared from ours. Hopefully that will be address once Hal returns to the land of the living.
The issue doesn't dwell on Hal's apparent demise and shift gears to a new threat as someone, or something, is attacking Xudar. It's all hands on deck as the Corps takes to the stars once again, leaving Soranik and her crew behind. Seeing the return of Starro is a real treat and it is great to see Robert Venditti mining some of DC's rich history and bringing it forward. The battle between the giant starfish and the Corps is fast paced and exciting and having Soranik defy John to come to the aid of her former comrades nicely sets up the uneasy alliance that begins to form to tackle the threat to Tomar-Tu's homeworld.
The battle is ended quickly and it's revealed that there is a greater threat lurking in Sector 2813 that puts the ring bearers, Xudar and Starro in an unexpected situation. Before we learn much more the scene shifts as the ring Hal Jordan forged continues to look for him and arrives on Nok, the home base for the Indigo Tribe. Venditti adds another surprise by revealing who the ring has found in the form of Ganthet and Sayd.
It's great to once again see the former Guardians back in play and it makes so much sense that Hal's ring would seek Ganthet out given their history. I imagine that Venditti's line about Hal becoming will means that he's become trapped in the emotional spectrum itself and it'll require someone who is a mutual ally of both Hal and Ganthet to help Hal return to physical form. And it fits in line perfectly with comments Venditti has made regarding the timing of Kyle Rayner's return so that he can "do something only Kyle can do".
|Hal's ring finds someone who might help it find its master|
What makes a great script an even better finished comic is the art and this series has been blessed by one of the best art teams DC has going for them right now in my opinion. Ethan Van Sciver is on this issue and as expected the issue looks spectacular. Particularly eye-popping is the beautiful two page spread as Starro makes his initial appearance. It's packed with detail that takes the moment and elevates it something special. Ethan's attention to the little things is one of the qualities that makes me look forward to anything he gets to draw. The whole issue is a feast for the eyes and I loved seeing him draw Rot Lop Fan once again!
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #8 wastes no time wrapping up the events of "Sinestro's Law" and jumping headlong into "Bottled Light". For what is the initial installment of a new arc the story moves fast and keeps our heroes off balance by putting them in a high stakes battle. Ethan Van Sciver takes a great issue and takes it up a notch with some inspired visuals and the kind of art that Green Lantern fans have come to expect from one of DC's best art teams. Nine out of ten lanterns.