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“Just can’t stop spraying yellow, can you?”

This week’s Green Lantern #36 launches Act 2 of GodHead in an issue which forgoes space battles for the sake of building characterization for both sides of the conflict, sprinkling in a few revelations and plot developments along the way to keep the three month event chugging along happily.  It would be my normal opinion that the lack of action would me feeling like I was missing something, but Robert Venditti’s script is so on point with wonderfully executed dialogue and great character moments that I never felt like the issue was deficient in any way.

The issue opens on New Genesis where we see more of the tension between Orion, Metron and Highfather.  The sequence helps to establish Highfather as just as much a protagonist as the Lanterns while showing that the New Gods are not perfect beings.  The relationship between Orion and his father feels very real and it’s easy for the reader to sympathize with Orion’s sense that no matter what he does he will always feel he falls short of the expectations that Highfather has of him, while at the same time we can’t help but agree with the assessment that Orion’s terribly short-sided perspective prevents him from reaching his potential.  While the sequence is only a few pages long it manages to add depth which we haven’t seen much of since GodHead started and was needed in order for us to become more invested in the characters.

As Hal and the Green Lantern Corps are heading to New Korugar there’s another great moment where we witness the the fruits of the efforts Venditti have invested in Hal Jordan as a leader.  No longer is the idea of Hal being in charge met with snickers, but the cost of the evolution is made clear with the best moments of the issue as Sinestro challenges Hal in some of the best banter between these two characters in a long time.  Sinestro is right to a degree that the burden and responsibility of leadership have changed Hal to some degree and that Hal is no longer the same person.  The scene is executed perfectly and as the scene closes we are treated to yet another great character moment as Hal uses Sinestro’s word against him to great effect.

The banter between Hal and Sinestro is some of the best exchanges they’ve had in some time.
The New Guardians reunite with their Lanterns this issue and provide a revelation or two that pulls us back to the core of the story while also getting some great responses from Hal, Sinestro and Saint Walker, who just might have found something to gain a little bit of hope again.  Their charge to Hal to formulate a plan not only acts as the catalyst for the aforementioned scene between Hal and Sinestro, but pushes Hal to make the kind of wild decision that has defined his character for years.  As the issue closes Hal secretly returns to Coast City in search of an unlikely ally in the form of Black Hand as the rest of the Lanterns head off to an unlikely hiding place.   
Black Hand is portrayed a bit differently than he has been in the past, and it’s the only part of the issue that caused me any misgivings about.  Rather than a dark and disturbing character this Black Hand is perhaps a little too gleefully macabre for my own tastes but he’s not so far off the mark that the characterization is not recognizable.  While the whole sequence was absolutely entertaining, and I loved the cameo by one of my personal heroes, it was just a little too over the top for me, but not enough to effect my overall opinion of the issue.
Everybody is dying to see the Circus Macabre
Except for the slightly hypnotic cover Billy Tan has the issue off this month, replaced by artist Francis Portela.  Portela’s character designs don’t stray far from the norm and I quite liked the pairing of Portela and colorist Brad Anderson and I hope we see more of them on the series.  The facial work goes a long way in conveying the emotions of characters, especially in the lighter moments, while the whole Circus Macabre looks suitably, well, macabre.
Green Lantern #36 is a perfect example of the wonderful dynamic between Hal Jordan and Sinestro and why their complex relationship is so important to the Lantern universe.  The arrival of the New Guardians provides exactly what’s needed to move GodHead into its second act in some exciting directions.  As the New Gods reveal some cracks in their armor Hal plans a most unusual response to the theft of their rings.  This is one of Robert Venditti’s best issues yet in his run, earning five out of five lanterns.

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