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“It’s Time I Got Willful!”

This week’s Green Lantern #31 kicks off the six part Uprising story that runs between the flagship title and Green Lantern Corps, and although this first leg of the story seems to go in the favor of the Corps, knowing it is just the beginning there is no doubt more trouble just around the corner.  This issue has the Durlans playing some of the cards in their hand by activating the plants they’ve managed to integrate into the Corps, a tactic which might have led to an early victory for them if not for some inspired words from Hal Jordan.

Writer Robert Venditti weaves together a couple of plot threads early on in this issue by having Hal present the Khund warship he took possession of last issue to the Green Lanterns who find using their ring a moral dilemma and providing them with not only a useful strategic role, but an asset in the coming battle which will allow them to participate without compromising their principles.  The scene does a nice job of illustrating Hal’s growth as a leader, as does the following sequence when he asks Two-Six to take a role in getting he less experienced recruits to step in provide some of the behind the scenes support that is lacking now that the Durlans who undercover have been flushed out.

Before the Corps can fully get themselves prepared the Khund reach Mogo, accompanied by a fleet of warships from planets and systems throughout the universe both enemy and former ally alike. Again displaying signs of maturity Hal attempts to reason with the encroaching fleet, but in a scene reminiscent of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country the attempt at peace is interrupted by an attack against the fleet that comes from within the group of Green Lanterns who’ve left Mogo’s surface under Hal’s command.  MukMuk reveals that he is indeed a Dulan undercover as do a number of others in the group, putting Hal and the true Green Lanterns in a dangerous position, surrounded, outgunned and outnumbered.

Hal attempts to find a peaceful solution

This is where Hal gets a chance to really shine and it’s through his leadership and actions that the Green Lanterns are able to rally against the ensuing frenetic battle sequence. Visually the battle is bit hard to follow as there’s no visual cues to help the reader know friend from foe, but the sequence is gratifying nonetheless. The battle reveals that the Durlans can use a ring despite what we’ve been led to believe, however they are no where skilled at being able to use their rings beyond created simple energy blasts. It was a little odd seeing the Corps in battle without John Stewart by their side, given that he is likely still on Mogo after the events of Green Lantern Corps #30, but not knowing what might have transpired he could be off-planet for some reason.

The hasty retreat by the armada and the internal squabbling of the Durlans and the Khund is a bit of let down, but knowing that this is the first part of a six part story and that this attack was only one of many cards that the Durlans are holding in their hand makes any disappointment dampened. Hal has one victory under his belt but it’s clear that this is only the beginning and there’s definitely more conflict on the near horizon.

MukMuk mucked up

I’ve commented before that I’ve had some issue with Venditti’s portrayal of Hal, perhaps lessening the character from where Geoff Johns left him before building him back up. The Hal Jordan of this issue definitely shows signs of growth yet still maintaining the core of the character. We also got more background on Gorin-Sunn, one of the more interesting new additions to the Corps.

Billy Tan for the most part does a great job this issue, although I’m still having some problems adapting to his version of Hal’s head. It’s a little too round and small for me and I’d love to see him bring the look back around to something more along the lines of Ethan Van Sciver’s take on Hal, which I tend to feel is the definitive look for him post-Rebirth.  The aforementioned battle between the Durlan impostors and the Corps was visually confusing since there was no way to tell them apart, but I really don’t know how he could have handled it without doing something incredibly hokey. That aside there are some really great visual moments in this issue, particularly when the Corps takes to the skies and when Hal decides that it’s time to go on the offense, or as he put it, time to be willful.

Green Lantern #31 is a really good issue with lots of action sprinkled with good character moments and a pinch of humor. I’m really interested in finding out what tricks the Durlans have up their tentacles as the Green Lanterns sets out to rescue their fellow Corpsmen who were replaced by the impostors.  Four out of five lanterns.

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