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“It ain’t always about the math”

In Green Lantern #30 Hal and the Corps take the war to the Khund, but before punches get thrown, power rings get discharged or laser guns get fired both sides are drawn into a different form of conflict resolution that allows both sides of the conflict to see each other in a different light.  Robert Venditti does a super job of opening the issue up on Mogo as Hal leads the Corps in a ceremony to open the new crypts and honor their recent losses with a heartfelt and inspiring speech. Kyle Rayner, whom everyone still believes to be dead, serves as a focal point for Hal’s words and it’s clear both through Venditti’s script and artist Martin Coccolo’s pencils that recent events have changed the new Corps leader.

A much better catchphrase than “We Got This!”
Once Hal and his team of advisers head to space station Oasis Bay they are drawn into immediate conflict with the Khund, but when the station’s emissary, Preegus, demands that both sides honor the neutrality of the station or risk the station’s nonalignment as well as the plentiful resources of its owner, the Khund and the Corps are given the opportunity to settle their dispute in accordance with the station’s way of operating. Hal, in true Hal form, jumps at the opportunity not knowing that rather than face a tribunal to debate their merits this means a power ring free physical altercation.
The following bar scene and the fallout of the fight between Hal and Captain Baaka Khu does a great deal to add depth to this conflict as we finally get to see some of the motivations behind undermining the credibility of the Green Lantern Corps. We see how both men act when they are able to let their proverbial hair down and share some frank conversation about the war which humanizes this conflict beyond being a good guys versus bad guys battle. The fight leads to a not too unpredictable outcome, but the actions of the Khund following the fight push Hal over the edge given the losses that the Corps have suffered. It’s here that Venditti’s plot really shines as he reveals the rationale the Khund have for siding with the Durlans and the Clann and their point of view is a compelling one that should lead to some further self-reflection down the road about how the Green Lanterns can enforce justice in the cosmos when not everyone’s sensibilities are in agreement.
Hal and the Khund Captain keep it real in the hours leading up to their “debate”.
The fight scene itself was classic Hal Jordan as he faces off against a superior foe without the use of his ring.  It underscores why the ring chose him in the first place and for a change Hal displays much more of a thinking man’s pugilist rather than the bare knuckled brawler he’s been shown as in the past. Bruised but not broken he emerges the victor, if one can actually call this a victory rather than survival.
HMukmuk makes a return this issue as he has a rather interesting encounter with the Durlan whose energy cache he discovered last issue. The events that take place on the last two pages of the issue illustrate that the infiltration of the Corps is deeper than we thought, showing the layers of deception at play in this story.  
Billy Tan is off the book for just this one issue, and in all honesty I think I like Mart Coccolo’s work a bit more.  There are a few panels where the art is a little uneven, but the coloring team of Tony Avina and Alex Sinclair do a beautiful job in minimizing the flaws. The sequence on Mogo are beautiful and the coloring style marries well with Coccolo’s pencils.
Green Lantern #30 is my favorite issue of the Venditti era so far with a script which is balanced well between the emotion, action, humor and character that makes for a great read. While I haven’t been entirely happy with how Hal has been portrayed and I’m still not a believer in the whole “emotional reservoir” theory this issue really resonated for me.  Five out of five lanterns.

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