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Durlans 101

Something that’s been missing from the most recent story arc has been the motivation behind the actions of the Durlans and the Khund.  Last week in Green Lantern #30 we learned why the Khund have picked up arms against the Green Lanterns for reasons beyond their warlike nature. In Green Lantern Corps #30 writer Van Jensen reveals the secret past connection between the Durlans and the Guardians of the Universe, why they are hell bent to destroy the Corps and just how far they can go to achieve their ends.

While both issues essentially slow down the greater narrative it’s a needed moment to explore the motivations of the antagonists, especially when we learn that like most great adversaries neither the Durlans or the Khund consider themselves the bad guys here – they are simply standing up against a system which has either let them down or tried to get them to conform to an ideal that they don’t subscribe to. In the case of the Durlans they are a victim of their own shortcomings when coupled with some questionable decision making by the Guardians back when the Green Lanterns were first sent out into the universe.
The Durlans are capable of anything, ANYTHING!
Jensen straddles the line with the Durlans a bit, never making them out to be wholesome by any stretch of the imagination.  But in Von Daggle’s retelling of Durlan history we witness the depths of depravity that shapeshifting can lead a species to and in the end they fall prey to their own inner demons. The surviving Durlans don’t quite see it that way, laying blame squarely at the little blue feet of the Guardians and their Green Lantern Corps.  Jensen does a nice job of dovetailing this new information with the antennaed history we came to know in the years before Flashpoint re-wrote DC history.
Van Jensen’s script bounces from Daggle’s history lesson to the current timeline as he holds up his end of the bargain and aids the Corps in flushing out the Durlans hiding out on Mogo by having the largest Green Lantern create adverse weather conditions. Von Daggle’s recommendation to John Stewart that they kill the Durlans exposes the differences between John and Fatality as she sides with the Durlan.  John is kept questioning himself between the Durlan’s perspective about history and having his moral code challenged by both Von Daggle and Fatality.
Von Daggle’s ominous words of caution
The relationship between John and Fatality is developed a bit more this issue between the issue of killing the Durlans and their blossoming romance. John has been so anchored to his past for so long and as Fatality puts him in a position to focus more on the present and future he seems to be having some difficulty in managing his feelings.  It’s been interesting to see him fly off the handle at Hal’s decision making one minute to doubting himself and the Corps the next, only to find comfort in Fatality’s company. Boy, wouldn’t it suck if Fatality turned out to be a Durlan agent!?  She was a captive of the Durlans at one point and what’s to say she didn’t escape as we were led to believe?  
Artistically the issue is a little hit or miss for me, with Scott Kolins and Chris Batista sharing the pencils for this issue. Kolins’ handling of the flashback sequences looks wonderful and detailed while Batista’s appears a bit rushed and lacking the same kind of detail work. Both are colored beautifully by Marcelo Maiolo which helps to add some consistency to the visual appearance of the issue.
Green Lantern Corps #30 serves as the last chapter of the Durlan conflict leading us to the beginning of the “Uprising” event starting in Green Lantern #31, but it’s more accurate to say that it’s the middle chapter in a much larger story. Interweaving the history with the Durlans risks losing the reader, but writer Van Jensen succeeds by making both the current events and the Durlan 101 segments engaging.  Four out of five lanterns.

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