When we last saw Hal Jordan and the end of the third issue he had apparently disintegrated into oblivion but as one would expect Hal is not going anywhere right now and he returns in this issue. The fourth issue of the new post-relaunch series has some great character moments and one in particular that I’ve never seen in my over thirty five years as a fan of the mythology.
The Story –
We start out with seeing Hal’s perspective as he’s breaking apart inside the Sinestro Corps Central Battery with images from his troubled past with Carol. We find out that Hal’s presence doesn’t destroy the battery, but it has triggered a failed attempt transport him to Qward – something I felt was going to be the case as a way for the Weaponer of Qward to try to exact revenge on Sinestro should he ever enter the battery. With that aborted the Central Battery spits Hal out and he lands not far from Sinestro and his former army.
With the failing of Sinestro’s plan Hal is thrown into the Sinestro Corps version of the sciencecells and he’s left there to await the complete discharge of his ring so that they can deal with a powerless captive. As for Sinestro his former Corps postulate that he may not be acting of his own accord and they plan on getting the ring off one way or another. Rather than wait for his ring to run out of a charge or disappear altogether should something happen to Sinestro or his ring, Hal expends nearly all of what’s left in his ring trying to break free, but the cell is impenetrable. With it’s last bit of energy left Hal uses it to create a construct of Carol and apologizes to her as at fades away and he is left in his cell in his civilian clothes.
|In his darkest moment Hal finds the courage to say what Carol needs to hear, only she’s can’t hear them.|
Meanwhile Professor Insidd has discovered that, like the Guardians before him, the Green Lantern ring isn’t coming off of Sinestro any time soon. In the face of excruciating pain Sinestro taunts Sidd but no matter how much they subject the Korugarian they cannot remove the ring and so they throw him in a cell with the rest of the citizens they’ve imprisoned.
The Korugarians view Sinestro with looks of fear and hatred and Sinestro appears to not truly understand why his people view him as anything but a hero. Among the prisoners is Arsona, the woman that Sinestro broke his plan for last month. As is revealed by their conversation, Arsona sided with Sinestro and helped him capture the corrupt leaders and topple the leadership of the planet. She was key to lobbying the people to rally behind Sinestro when no one was on his side and viewed him as a rebel.
With their conversation growing louder Hal’s ears perk up and he listens in as Arsona continues to rebuke Sinestro for the fate he created for his people and in the end she is able to pierce his ego with the weight of the reality his actions have created. In an extremely rare moment Sinestro apologizes and admits he made a mistake, although whether that is a false sense of regret or not is unknown and the conversation is disrupted when Hal voices through the wall that there could be a way to save Korugar.
|Wow, didn’t see that coming!! But is it a sincere statement?|
Hal’s radical notion is for Sinestro to create rings to empower the people to fight back the way he created a ring for Hal. Sinestro actually doubts himself but it is Hal that encourages Sinestro that he can do it and that this is the one thing they can do to save everyone. With that said Sinestro begins to focus and with sweat pouring off his brow dozens of rings spew forth and fly to the fingers of his fellow captives. The issue ends with an exhausted Sinestro surrounded by an small army of power ring wielding Korugarians hell bent on exacting revenge on him.
The Writing –
In the thirty five or so years I don’t think I’ve ever heard Sinestro apologize for anything and while I was shocked when I read that panel and wanted to see it as a watershed moment for him, in the back of my mind I kept thinking like Arsona was that this was just Sinestro saying what he thinks she wanted to hear so focus could shift to the greater task at hand of getting free. Either way, however, it was a great dramatic moment and if it was an honest and sincere one it is a major moment in the arc of the character.
Likewise Hal Jordan had a couple of moments of his own this issue. With nothing left but his own thoughts Geoff drives home exactly how much Carol really means to Hal when he has him conjure the image of her with his last bit of energy. Like the opening sequence where we are treated to Hal’s thoughts both moments are completely sincere and honest, devoid of any posturing and stripped clean of the influences of ego. Despite their history they both love each other deeply and it reinforces to me the reasons why Hal and Carol’s relationship is one of the more complex ones in comics.
|Sinestro doubts himself and Hal
boosts him up – who’da thunk?!
I also think Geoff did a great job in the scene where Hal encourages Sinestro to think beyond himself, believing in the abilities of his greatest enemy when Sinestro does not. And at the same time you have Sinestro telling Hal to stop with the pep talk while he carries the plan out and that whole sequence encapsulates their entire relationship. Theirs is one of spite and mutual respect, each believing the other is capable of so much more than there actions portray. While they make a great team together when they are on the same page, they go together like nitro and glycerin!
The issues close is the first one of the new series where I felt it wasn’t the cliff hanger that it tries to be. We already know that the rings cannot harm Sinestro if he was able to imbue them with the same restrictions he did Hal’s, and although we don’t know if he did or not the reasonable assumption deflates that moment considerably. However the greater ramification is that in issue five it will be Sinestro’s job to convince his fellow Korugarians to focus their attention on freeing their planet despite their hatred of what he’s done to them, and that is another chance for some great story telling.
The Art –
|One of my favorite panels in a long time.|
Doug Mahnke really did a great job this issue and I think the panel where Hal is winding up with the giant fist while imprisoned is one of my favorite Green Lantern images in quite a while. While a lot of panels were intentionally dark to convey the conditions of the cells I never felt the issue was lacking anything. A great job by the art team all the way around this month.
What Do I Think?
Green Lantern continues to be one of the top books on the shelves and this issue is worthy of the same. While the title dropped about thirteen percent in sales volume from the first to the third issue it is still selling over 120,000 copies a month which is a great thing. This issue is perhaps more character and dialogue centric that action oriented I don’t feel I’m missing anything at all and in fact found it to be a great pause before the action gets hot again next month when the battle for Korugar explodes as this first arc advances to the last two issues. Five out of five lanterns.