“How many steering wheels you see on this ship, Darlene?”
While the Geoff Johns’ era of Green Lantern has been heralded as being the best in the character’s seventy five year history there were complaints that all the universe building that took place over the course of the run was at the detriment of building the character of the the book’s lead. Robert Venditti’s run thus far has focused on deconstructing Hal Jordan and looking at some of the things that makes the character tick and with the decision to make Hal a man alone in a universe that wants his hide the stage is being set for an interesting phase in Jordan’s life.
This weeks Green Lantern #42 goes a little further down the path that Hal has before him by establishing more of his new supporting cast. Tying Virgo’s home planet of Ketleth Prime back to similar events we witnessed in issue 39 (and even further back to the conclusion of last year’s GodHead) provides some connective tissue to an ongoing mystery that was left unresolved prior to the disappearance of the Corps. As we see the consequences of any physical interaction with the Source Wall confirmed Venditti uses the plot point to redefine the relationship between Virgo and Trapper while also tying their immediate future back to Hal.
The encounter between Hal and Trapper’s gang serves as the issues main action sequence and it’s entertaining seeing how Hal has to fine tune his control over Krona’s gauntlet in order to prevent the device’s enormous power run amok. The true potential of this gauntlet remains to be seen but I suspect that as Hal learns mastery over it we’ll begin to see the real reason why the Guardians might have kept it under lock and key. We see Hal trying to keep the confrontation to a minimum and dealing with the gang in a no-nonsense fashion which is spectacular to say the least.
I also enjoyed seeing the chemistry between Hal and Darlene develop a bit more here as well. As we see more of the A.I.’s “personality” I begin to see her more a more as a cross between Tony Stark’s Jarvis and Aya – with Aya’s voice of course. Darlene proves to be a great foil for Hal and her tone provides some of the lighter moments of the book without forcing humor where it doesn’t seem natural.
The issue’s final splash page reminds us about Black Hand, who’s fate is also tied to his involvement in raising the dead at the Source Wall back in Green Lantern Annual #3. The scene almost makes you feel sad for the sick creep as he tries unsuccessfully to make any of the dead bodies he’s surrounded by rise. His forearms still bear the stoney resemblance they have since his first hand encounter with the Source Wall and however he’s been effected has had some lasting consequences. I’m sure he will cross paths with Hal again soon as Jordan now has put the mission to discover what happened to the Corps on hold while he looks for the answers behind what’s happened to Katleth Prime.
Hal’s new look continues to grow on me as I remind myself that this isn’t a costume or a uniform, it’s Hal’s daily garb that is meant to allow him to blend in while he’s trying to keep his whereabouts on the down low. I have to chuckle a little when the mask shows up and I just chalk it up to Hal feeling more comfortable having it on when he’s using the gauntlet as a psychological thing because I can’t see it making much sense any other way. Tan’s artwork looks good this issue, again with my overall dislike of his version of Hal’s face, and I like the subtle coloring of Hal’s eyes as his normal brown eyes have begun taking on a greenish hue.
Green Lantern #42 goes back to the basic principles of science fiction adventure which has been a hallmark of the Green Lantern books for years. Stripping Hal Jordan of the weight of being a member of Corps has begun to open new avenues for Robert Venditti to explore the character. This issue, while providing a detour to discovering what’s happened to the Green Lanterns, sets the Darlene’s crew on a new course that is bound to be filled with new threats and familiar ones alike. While this issue is a little heavier on character building it’s an entertaining second chapter in Hal’s new renegade persona. Eight out of ten lanterns.