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Walker is a Saint no more

Green Lantern #29 acts as a bit of pivot point for the ongoing story of the assault on the Green Lantern Corps by the Durlans and their associates as Hal begins to make the steps towards being a better leader while taking the Corps into offensive mode.  Writer Robert Venditti juggles that with the subplot of Saint Walker’s loss of hope and throws in a Simon Baz cameo for good measure.  Meanwhile the Durlan operative finds that the much needed radioactive material that enables him to shapeshift is in far less supply than he thought – not to mention that his stash has been uncovered.

There’s a lot in this issue if you can’t tell by that paragraph, but at the same time the overall story doesn’t seem to advance. This is the pause before the storm starts again and the issue strikes some good chords in terms of characterization.  Venditti clearly has an affinity for writing Saint Walker and as a reader you can’t help but feel empathetic towards him. The one time Blue Lantern has truly lost his way and it seems that for once he no longer knows his place in the universe.  We can only hope that all is soon well again for him.
Me too!
Hal in the meantime is shown to be taking the steps he needs to grow into his role as the Green Lantern squad commander, reaching out for help and using the strengths of others rather than solely relying on his own guile. Venditti does a superb job with Hal’s dialogue as he explains the difference between the fighter pilot he was and the leader he needs to be. It’s good forward progression for the character.  I was also delighted to see Hal reunited with his brother’s family if only for a few pages. This leads to the Baz cameo as Hal entrusts the only Green Lantern remaining in Sector 2814 to look out for Jordan’s family in the coming days. Jim Jordan’s comment to Simon Baz echoes the sentiments of many fans who hoped to see more of Hal, John, Guy and Kyle on Earth a little more often and while Baz is holding down the fort I know my own voice joins theirs as hoping that the rest of the Green Lanterns will be able to return home more often in the future.
To provide some action for this issue Hal leads an assault on the planet Gwottle where Gorin-Sunn steps up to save the day when the Green Lanterns stop a shipment of the power dampeners that have been modified from Relic’s technology.  At the conclusion of the fight Hal’s greater understanding of the big picture comes into play when he refuses to lock up the Gwottlens for their role in the weapons manufacture, instead choosing to lock up the Khunds who are there and level the factory.  Hal’s realization that he has to win over the minds and hearts of the people of the universe to undo the damage done by the Guardians and the Durlans is the proper course and well may prove to be the greatest battle he’s ever fought.
Hal shows some good character growth this issue
Artistically the issue is hit and miss for me.  Joining Billy Tan is Martin Coccolo and while their art blends well together there are some things which don’t work well. Hal’s ring jumps hands during his visit to Coast City and there are some missed opportunities when it comes to facial expressions which lessens the impact of the scenes, and both Kilowog and Salaak suffer a little bit throughout the issue.
Overall, however, Green Lantern #29 is a solid issue.  There’s a little bit of everything here, right down to setting the stage for the outing of the Durlan operative. This particular sequence might raise questions for readers who aren’t enjoying Van Jensen’s work over on Green Lantern Corps, but the lack of understanding that the Durlans require the radioactive material to fuel their transformations is compensated for enough with the context that the operative provides to be much of a problem.  Four out of five lanterns.

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