This week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #17 serves as the conclusion of the “Quest for Hope” storyline and this time Robert Venditti gives us a conclusion that is not what anyone would have expected. The story ends with a status quo change for Kyle Rayner, but it also hints at bigger events which have been shaping the DC Universe since the Rebirth initiative began.
Since the days where Kyle mastered all seven emotions at the core of the emotional spectrum and donned the White Lantern ring it’s been conjectured about how long the torchbearer would keep it – would the ring ultimately be too much for any one person to master for long? Some have felt that being the White Lantern would lead to him being pushed to the background as writers might struggle finding ways to use him. Others think that Kyle becoming a Green Lantern again is a step backwards. In the end it’s a creative decision to return Kyle to his most iconic look that led to him once again donning the Green Lantern ring.
How Venditti does this is pretty interesting as Kyle is pushed to very limit of his abilities in order to revive the Blue Lanterns, and he’s stopped by…someone. The White Lantern ring comes undone, dividing back into the seven rings Kyle mastered back during the Green Lantern: New Guardians days. Interestingly we don’t see the orange ring searching for a new master which, whether intentional or not, leads to the the potential for some new ring bearers. Speaking of ring bearers – wouldn’t it be interesting to find out what ever happened to Kyle White Lantern Corps?
With the mysterious Mr. Oz showing an interest in the situation, and watching Kyle from afar, the obvious conclusion is that this is the mysterious presence that was alluded to last issue – likely the individual behind the missing years in the DC timeline alluded to in Rebirth. Tying the Green Lantern franchise into the larger DC narrative is an exciting prospect considering this is likely to be the first big company wide event as they continue teasing bringing the Watchmen to the DCU.
Those exciting things aside this issue has some other great moments that certainly deserve commenting on. First of course is the continuation of the Guy Gardner thread as both he and Arkillo begin licking their wounds from their clash. Seeing the four Earth Lanterns bonding at Guy’s bedside was a nice treat before Guy making a bedside visit to the Yellow Lantern. It seems that Venditti is setting Guy and Arkillo up to be partners and the two should be an interesting combo whose evolution should be fun to read.
From a character perspective Venditti has a really nice scene between Kyle and Hal which seemed very brotherly to me. It was great to see Hal’s self awareness for a change and how he views his eventual demise. His observations and insight about Kyle really illustrated that there’s more going on inside Hal’s head than we often get to see, but then he defensively switches back on the bravado before Kyle can get too close. Kyle returns the favor in opening up to Hal which put the icing on a great moment.
Then there’s Tomar-Tu and the case of the missing Romat-Ru. The implication here is that the former killed the latter but there’s also the possibility that Romat-Ru is passing himself off as the Green Lantern of Sector 2813. If Tomar has indeed gone to the dark side with revenge against his fellow Xudarian he has indeed seriously crossed a line. Either way there’s going to be some form of reckoning for him.
Ethan Van Sciver outdoes himself this issue. Sure everything looks spectacular as one might expect when it comes to the spectacular moments, but there’s the attention to detail during the character moments and how Van Sciver elevates the scenes through expression that helps sell those moments whether it’s Hal’s smirk or Ganthet’s confidence as Kyle dons the Green Lantern ring again. I can’t remember the last time we saw John Stewart smile and it happens twice this issue. There’s also another great throwback that deserves being pointed out – when Kyle loses his ring he’s shown wearing the same clothes he was wearing back when Ganthet first gave Kyle his ring back in the alleyway. Like Guy Gardner’s wardrobe last issue this is a neat call back to a previous era that I can really appreciate. There are a couple bumps in the road, most notably the size of the Guardians’ platform being way to small and Tomar-Tu’s appearance, but they don’t hinder the enjoyment of the issue.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #17 ends with a failed mission and a major change in the status quo for Kyle Rayner which will please many fans. Robert Venditti fills the conclusion to “Quest for Hope” with some nice character beats and enough intrigue and foreshadowing to whet our appetites for what’s to come. Coupled with the always amazing Ethan Van Sciver art this issue is a real winner. Nine out of then lanterns.