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“I never stopped seeing you as my responsibility”

The Green Lantern Corps is at a crossroads and, with the universe looking at them with a collective scowl, someone has to right the ship.  Of course that person is Hal Jordan, asked by the Guardians to help them “reclaim the Corps good name”, and when you ask Jordan to do that without telling him how to accomplish it you’ve got to expect the unexpected.  With that in mind, writer Robert Venditti uses much of what he’s built since taking over the title and takes a bold step forward with the franchise that will dramatically change how the universe regards the Green Lantern Corps Leader.

I pointed out in my review of last month’s issue a few directions that I felt Venditti had laid the groundwork towards and I’m glad to see that I didn’t miss the mark by much with some of my speculation.  That said, Green Lantern #40 is as much about the relationship between Hal Jordan and Kilowog as it is anything else and Venditti does a great job of taking what could have been just another “everything changes forever” and makes it a personal story that emphasizes the growth of the Hal Jordan character under his tenure.  He reminds us why, at the end of the day, Hal is not only the greatest Green Lantern of all, he’s still a man willing to do something everyone else would deem crazy and never flinch in the path he’s chosen.

Kilowog once again stands between Hal Jordan and his goal.

There are moments in this issue reminiscent of “Emerald Twilight” but this time it is a Hal Jordan completely in control of  himself who makes a conscious decision which carries a tremendous burden and changes how the universe will perceive him for the foreseeable future.  At this early stage it’s a little hard to see how Venditti’s change in direction will be reflected in the Justice League series now that Hal has returned to Earth to rejoin the “World’s Greatest Super Heroes” again, but for now we’ll have to assume that there’s an explanation in there somewhere to be had.  Either way I’m prepared to sit back and enjoy the ride.  

By letting the reader in on why Hal goes after Krona’s gauntlet there’s no room for misunderstanding Hal’s intentions in the minds of readers and while the method Hal chooses to help the Corps regain their place in the universe might not have been what the Guardians had in mind, it will likely have the intended effect.  How Hal’s closest companions will view what happens will be of great interest and I have to think that we’ll see some of that over the course of the month as Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians and Red Lanterns release their final chapters.  Whether John, Guy or Kyle takes Hal’s actions at face value or not will be of great interest as the rest of March unfolds.
The character moments between Hal and Kilowog are spot on this issue.

This issue doesn’t answer any questions about what Green Lantern: Lost Army is about other than the nebulous comment by the Guardians that “our own matters must be seen to”.  There’s certainly a number of ways that could be interpreted and we’ll no doubt have those answers in pretty short order. What Venditti does make clear is that Jordan’s future, while it may be connected in some ways to the Green Lantern Corps, will be on a path he walks alone.  

If it seems I’m dancing around what Hal’s decision is you’re right – that’s best experienced for yourself and I won’t spoil it for anyone who’s planning on reading the issue.  And, in all honesty, while those events are clearly an attraction they aren’t as important to me as the personal moments between Hal Jordan and Kilowog.  Theirs is a friendship that is often expressed more by actions than words and thankfully Venditti finds a way for both men to not only have a meaningful dialogue but to validate what readers have seen for so many years.  As entertaining as this issue is, and as much as big things happen, at the end of the day what makes the issue shine is the spotlight Venditti shines on the relationship between an alien and the first Poozer from Earth he ever met.

Hal passes the point of no return

I’ve been critical of Billy Tan in the past and even though there are still things about his version of Hal I don’t appreciate he does an overall great job this time around, particularly when it comes to the more personal moments of the issue.  There is a full page image of Hal and Kilowog that stands out as one of the most personally rewarding images that I’ve seen in some time.  

Green Lantern #40 is a fitting “end of an era” of sorts and, as much as it creates yet another turning point in Hal Jordan’s saga, the issue is perhaps at it’s most rewarding when it comes to the personal moments between Jordan and Kilowog.  While it’s clear that Hal Jordan isn’t stepping away from headlining the series this issue does send both the book and the character off a path that leads away from the future of the Green Lantern Corps.  Robert Venditti has much more in store for the greatest Green Lantern of all and this issue creates some new opportunities for readers to join Hal Jordan as “a bold new era begins”.  Five out of five lanterns.

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