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“Smile for the camera, scumbag”

GodHead starts out with a double feature with the dual release of Green Lantern / New Gods: GodHead #1 and Green Lantern #35 and having the first two parts of the story released simultaneously was definitely beneficial for both books.  Writer Robert Venditti takes the baton for this three month marathon even and provides some much needed characterization for some of the New Gods while cashing in on the work he has done to mold Hal Jordan into a true leader of the Green Lantern Corps.

With Mogo ring-less the mobile headquarters for the Green Lanterns begins a downward spiral of decay, but the actions of the New Gods on Aydin and Metron’s subsequent hacking call for a more immediate response.  With John Stewart dispatched with a team to address the crisis on the universe’s most populated planet it’s up to Hal Jordan and a team of his own to try to confront Orion and Metron for the theft of the power rings.

The key word here is “try” as the team is completely shut down by the power of the guards from New Genesis before they can do anything.  It doesn’t bode well at all for anyone in our universe if the most powerful weapons in our arsenal have no effect on our adversaries, and to me that becomes a central point in this story arc for me.  If GodHead is to be a traditional “versus story” between the ring bearers of the emotional spectrum and the New Gods it will likely be an unrewarding tale if we can’t even mount an offensive, but for me I don’t believe that the focus of the story will ultimately be one side triumphing over the other.  In my mind this is about creating the dynamic between our universe and the New Gods before Darkseid arrives, establishing the characters and setting up the relationships that will be key when he returns.

What a noob!  🙂

I say that because ultimately the New Gods and the Green Lanterns are on the same side, they just don’t know it yet. This is in large part due to the fact that Highfather and those loyal to him don’t yet see us as worthy of the effort to be bothered with and had the New Gods approached the situation differently the result would be different, but then we’d have no story!  For me what made this particular issue interesting was seeing how Hal’s growth is portrayed here, in particular the two times when he approaches the situation from a place of calm resolve.  Yeah, I used “Hal” and “calm resolve” in the same sentence!

The biggest example of how Venditti’s influence on Hal is the scene where the Green Lanterns confront Orion.  The Hal of old wouldn’t have bothered trying to avoid a conflict with Orion at all but here he makes a noble attempt at resolving the situation by being calm and carrying a big stick, but Orion will have none of it.  The irony of Hal being the rationale one is terrific and I can picture how, with just a little more thought into his choice of words, he might have been successful.  But then that might be pushing Hal too far from the core of his character and Venditti’s choice not to do so is the wise one.  The fight is over before it becomes one and seeing the reactions of the Corps once they see through the Boom Tube’s portal is clearly a sobering image that leads Hal to make a decision that I’m sure bites at his healthy ego.

The Green Lanterns learn the magnitude of the challenges that face them

One question that has not been answered since the death of the Guardians is how ring selection works.  It becomes a point this issue that creates some uncertainty for readers who rightfully wonder why the Green Lanterns don’t just give Mogo another ring to use, even it mean taking off their own.  Perhaps the wearer must be chosen by a ring so you can no longer just put one on?  With Mogo out of action who guides the rings as he was did – or do now they function autonomously?  That would explain why Barreer Wot’s ring immediately goes in search of a new bearer, but it’s certainly unclear how things work anymore.

Billy Tan provides the art chores for this issue and if you’ve read past reviews you already know what I’m going to say, so I won’t.  Tan’s artwork is consistent with what readers have come to expect and your opinion of his artwork one way or the other won’t be swayed much by this issue.

Green Lantern #35 is a great issue which effectively moves the story of GodHead forward while providing some good character beats that flesh out the New Gods and illustrating how Hal is advancing as a leader.  The magnitude of the threat the New Gods pose is made clear, forcing a decision which will once again turn enemies into allies.  Four out of five lanterns.

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