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Last month saw the start of Robert Venditti’s run on Green Lantern and the issue got great reviews across the Internet.  Today’s release of Green Lantern #22 continues to build on the new status quo for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps as Venditti builds towards the coming confrontation with Relic and October’s Lights Out family-wide crossover.  Larfleeze’s assault on Oa causes no small amount of anxiety for the newest recruits and Hal’s leadership abilities are tested when seemingly superior forces threaten to unravel the already fragile Corps.

There’s a lot to like with this issue and as a longtime reader I in particular enjoyed seeing Hal tested not only by the Orange Lanterns but by a Kilowog who has some difficulty in embracing his new role as the Protocol Officer.  Sitting in a console with the action swirling around you has got to be difficult for someone like Kilowog and seeing him having to deal with that has given me a whole new respect for Salaak.  Hal in the end uses a totally Jordan-esque method to trick Larfleeze and gain the upper hand on the single minded adversary.  I admittedly felt like Hal and Larfleeze acted as though they hadn’t had some of the shared experiences in the past that they have and having the two really not converse in any meaningful way was a little unexpected.  
Larfleeze has just the right balance of malevolence and lightheartedness that we’ve come to enjoy
Larfleeze himself is portrayed well in all his schizophrenic glory and his motivations dovetail nicely with the events of the Threshold backup in which Agent Orange lost all of his belongings.  How this fits into a timeline with Larfleeze’s own self titled series is unclear at this point and a reader of both series might wonder how the revelation that Larfleeze doesn’t need his battery in Larfleeze #1 connects to the abrupt power loss that all the ring bearers experience in this issue.  My first thought is that the unexplained power loss is somehow connected to the arrival of Relic in last month’s Green Lantern: New Guardians #21 but time will tell if that is indeed the case of whether something else is going on behind the scenes that has yet to be revealed.
Venditti balances the action out with some humor and surprising moments that creates for some great beats.  Seeing Gazzl respond to Hal’s chiding by inadvertently punching him in the back of the head with a fist construct provided a fun, character driven moment that brought a smile to my face while the death of Cossite at the hands of Nol-Anj caught me off guard.  I was torn as to whether or not the relationship between the Green Lantern and his prisoner was one of true emotion or a ploy by the alien woman to try to win her freedom and the resulting betrayal was executed perfectly.  
Saint Walker and an unnamed Star Sapphire provide Nol-Anj with the opportunity she needs when Larfleeze’s forces the selection of a new ring bearer and the captive alien capitalizes on her chances, using Hal’s gambit against the Orange Lanterns to disguise her escape.  Nol-Anj turns out to be the female character in the preview page in last month’s issue so we’re assured that she will be playing a greater role in months to come.  While the anonymous “violet shirt” Sapphire’s death doesn’t carry too much weight with the reader it does allow Venditti to use her death and that of Cossite to drive home to Hal the weight of the burden of leadership that his new mantle has shackled him with.
Nol-Anj makes her getaway at the expense of Cossite’s life
Billy Tan’s artwork was a pleasure to look at this issue and I enjoyed seeing his creativity not only in his alien creature and ship design, but in some of his choices for constructs in this issue.  In the past Hal has often been criticized for the simplicity of his construct choices and I always found that any of those criticisms should be leveled more at the creative teams than the character.  Seeing Hal whip up a shark turned me back into the kid I was many years ago who simply reveled in seeing Green Lantern create something cool with his ring and it reminds of the simplicity in just relishing the shear fun of reading comics.  Tan also has some fun with Nol-Any’s transformation into a Star Sapphire and seeing the not so subtle background detail of a one-eyed prisoner ogling over her with his face pressed firmly against the energy barrier confining him earned a chuckle.  Saint Walker looks a little off however I chalk it up to the coloring and I think that they might have been trying to use some of his facial lines to create a pseudo mask for him that simply isn’t a part of his character design.
Green Lantern #22 is a bit of a fast read with a lot of fast paced action scenes sprinkled with just the right amount of intrigue, humor and drama to make it a worthwhile read.  The series continues to be my favorite must read book and I can’t wait to see what the new teams have in store for us in the months to come.  Four out of five lanterns.

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