Hal’s house of cards comes tumblin’, tumblin’ down.
When Robert Venditti took over Green Lantern from Geoff Johns he had to know that there would be plenty of comparisons and a lot of expectation from fans to live up to all the work that came before him. Some would say that he’s doing a so-so job and others would say that they love the direction that Venditti is taking Hal and the Green Lantern Corps in. Regardless of any of our own opinions we’d be hard pressed to disagree with how much story has been generated in seven months. Green Lantern #27 takes the groundwork that Venditti has laid out and pulls those plot threads together to create even more havoc for those who wield the power of Will.
As John Stewart continues to turn Mogo into a top rate headquarters our attention goes to sickbay where Soranik Natu and Hal Jordan check in on Saint Walker, who’s finally coming to after having the light of the Blue Lanterns extinguished in Green Lantern: New Guardians #23. Venditti does a super job of making us feel for Walker as he begins to mourn his losses and not only begin to feel survivor’s guilt but the emotional burden that his Corps usage of the emotional spectrum was likely the greatest of all.
|Saint Walker begins his long road to recovery|
The issue picks up steam quickly as the Braid Clann arrive on Mogo to serve out their sentence, but not all is as it seems as the Durlan plot becomes more clear with the Braidmen meeting up with one of the shapeshifters who helps them get free and arms them with some of Relic’s weapons. Venditti’s script continues to up the ante with the Braidmen and the Durlan springing their trap on an unsuspecting Hal Jordan, knocking him out and taking on his visage in order to announce to the universe the threat that using their rings pose as well as spin Hal’s new directive into a declaration of galactic martial law, effectively turning the universe even further against the Corps and triggering attacks on sector houses around the cosmos.
|The Durlan’s plan succeeds|
This issue takes a lot of what Venditti has been setting up and provides a payoff that turns the whole Green Lantern universe topsy turvy. If Hal didn’t want to lead the Corps before he surely isn’t too glad to be the one calling the shots now that he has once again been turned into a villain. What’s interesting here is that the Durlans didn’t make up a plot to pin on the Green Lanterns so much as advance their perspective on what Hal and the Corps are doing. Like Sinestro, Hal is guilty of doing the wrong things for the right reasons and while we can debate whether or not this is the same Hal Jordan that we saw at the end of Johns’ run or not the plain fact is that while he’s doing the best job he can this is a case of failing at doing your best in a bad situation. What I think everyone can agree on is that this provides Hal with a chance to grow in ways that we haven’t really seen before and it will take all of Hal’s will to find a way to restore the peace.
While I put myself in that crowd that finds Hal’s actions of late a bit of a step backwards for the character and not how I would expect him to react, I’m finding myself more rooting for him to turn things around. My optimism aside, there are a couple of things this issue that didn’t work for me. Some of that being dialog, such as the unnatural sounding line where Hal tells Kilowog, “Trust me, Kilowog, friends as long as we’ve been, we’ve seen our share of rocks and hard places, right?” It not only reads a little awkward but it certainly doesn’t sound conversational to me. I also had trouble accepting that Mogo not only didn’t have a clue about the Durlan’s presence and activities, but didn’t move a molecule while their plan unfolded.
Billy Tan is replaced by Dale Eaglesham, who was just announced as the ongoing artist on the new Sinestro monthly series. Dale’s work this issue channels Gil Kane in some of his classic lines and facial design while keeping the look of the book modern. This works for the most part although there are a few panels where Hal’s head almost looks misshapen. Eaglesham also channels a little bit of Parallax when it comes to Hal’s mask and one has to wonder if this is intentional foreshadowing or just artistic license.
Green Lantern #27 is a thrilling issue that forces us to look at the Green Lantern Corps in a different way, plunging them into a war against beings that they are sworn to protect. Things are going to get worse before they get better so this is the time to strap in and get ready to enjoy the ride. Four out of five lanterns.