“Enjoy being me while you can”
It would be easy to look at Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #40 and dismiss it as a filler designed to help round out a trade, but looking over Robert Venditti’s tenure with the franchise you can see how he often plants seeds for the future in his books so that future events look far more organic in hindsight. There are a couple of things in this arc that get my Lantern-sense tingling much in the way it used to during the Johns run when Geoff would leave subtle clues about what is coming up. That aside, the issue is the action fest that needs to happen in any confrontation with a character like Zod and after three issues of build up we get an issue which is nearly one hundred percent payoff.
But let’s start this review by looking at the situation between John Stewart and the Guardians of the Universe. The Blue Person Group is none too happy that the Green Lanterns defied their decree and have set off for Jekuul to rescue Hal Jordan. John does the right thing and accepts the blame, but you know there’s more going on under the surface and given that John is going to be a part of Scott Snyder’s Justice League run the writing is on the wall about his future as the leader of the Green Lantern Corps. The only real question is whether John is going to step down or the Guardians are going to remove him from his leadership position.
Here’s the really interesting thing to me – why are the Guardians taking so long to decide about what to do about Zod? It’s not like they have any other pressing situations to attend to, right? Could they want Hal out of the picture? Remember, Hal killed Krona singlehandedly back in Green Lantern #67 with a regular power ring, and now he’s got a ring forged from his own willpower that’s given him even more power than before. While I’d prefer the Guardians of old that were altruistic but emotionally disconnected, the Guardians of recent years have proven to be untrustworthy. What better way for them to get someone who could really challenge them off the chessboard than to let Zod deal with him?
The other thing to consider is all of this is the fate of Kyle Rayner given that without Hal’s ring he was close to certain death. The noble sacrifice he makes to reconnect Hal to his ring could be fatal when you consider the pummeling he took from Zod this issue. Were Kyle to die as a result would provide the Guardians just the excuse they need to remove John from a position of authority and justify way the Corps need to take directions from them. I don’t really want to think that this is what is going to happen, but I can certainly see it as one possible set of outcomes. Especially when each passing month sees both title’s sales figures continue to drop and DC potentially looking to shake up and refresh a franchise which was only rivaled by Batman at one time.
One of the highlights this issue besides seeing some of the non-human members of the Corps getting some panel time was seeing the interaction between Guy Gardner and Lor Zod. Guy’s past and his own code prevents him from physically engaging in combat with a child, but it doesn’t get in the way of some humorous dialog as Guy tries his best to survive the brutal beating he takes from the youngest member of the House of Zod. No one can question Guy’s toughness but man is he in a world of hurt right now.
You can’t talk about this issue without discussing Rafa Sandoval and the great work he continues to churn out on this series. Here he really gets to cut loose as the Corps and the Kryptonians go toe to toe from one spectacular page to the next. The book is just beautiful to look at from cover to cover.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #40 showcases the bitter battle between General Zod and the Green Lantern Corps. Things don’t go too well for the good guys in this one, but the stage is set for the final showdown in the battle for Jekuul next issue. The plot may not advance too far but that doesn’t present this from being entertaining and the artwork alone is worth picking this one up. Eight out of ten lanterns.