“I fly with all the will I’ve got!”
This week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #28 seems like an odd chapter in the “Fall of the Gods” arc because it breaks from the traditional formula in comics of using the next to the last installment in the arc to really ratchet up the plot for the finale. Robert Venditti instead gives readers a wonderfully written, poignant character piece that so full of heart that I found myself reading it four or five times today. So well does Venditti capture the essence of Hal Jordan that I put this up there as a tie for my favorite single issue of the last decade, the other being Tom King’s amazing Justice League: The Darkseid War Green Lantern #1.
The issue also places the spotlight solely on Hal Jordan, something the book hasn’t done in some time. In pursuit of Highfather and Lightray, Hal Jordan pushes the limits of the possible thanks in part to the support of his father Martin, who appears in the back seat of Hal’s construct jet. This issue is very much about the dynamic between Fathers and Sons as Venditti shows the elder Jordan’s ability to instill confidence and recognize Hal’s strengths while Highfather acknowledges his own son’s limitations. Venditti also plays off of Hal’s pilot days in a way that reminds us of the glory days of flight when men like Chuck Yeager tamed the beast of faster than sound travel. The issue is also grounded in reality as Venditti shows us how relatable Hal’s journey is and, despite his pretty boy jock exterior, is a very human character no different than any of us. I’ve often said Hal Jordan is my co-pilot and this issue really hit home for me as I think it will for anyone who’s lost a parent and didn’t get to say the things you wished you had the chance to. Hallucination or godly visitation, Hal got a rare gift in spending a few minutes with the man who meant the most to him.
Spurred by his father’s inspiration Hal finds the will to push the envelope just that much more and once again save the day. But mixed in with the pep talk were some words that have a great deal of meaning for Hal once he gets the chance to reflect on them. At one point Martin reminds Hal that there needs to be a balance between duty and being there for those who are important to you, that “you find a way to balance the sky and the ground, and can’t no one beat you.” A father’s wisdom if I’ve ever heard any.
Rafa Sandoval continues to bring incredible imagery to the series and as usual he doesn’t disappoint. The issue’s art is rock solid and helps underscore the emotional beats of the issue as well as pump up the action sequences as Hal struggles to overcome the tremendous challenge before him. I also have to give praise to Barry Kitson’s variant cover, which is probably the best looking one of the series thus far.
While Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #28 only nudges the plot in the very slightest of ways, the beautifully touching character beats of Robert Venditti’s script almost makes you forget that the fate of the New Gods are at stake. Frankly I think this is one of Venditti’s best issues he’s written since taken the reins from Geoff Johns. Some people might be turned off for the lack of appearance by the rest of the Green Lantern Corps, but the it does do an absolutely fantastic job of showcasing why the titular character has his name on the cover. Ten out of ten lanterns.