“Talk is cheap”
This week’s Green Lantern #49 wraps up Hal Jordan’s first encounter with writer Robert Venditti’s revamped version of Sonar, and while Sonar’s plans may have been thwarted, the Modoran terrorist now finds himself the target of an international manhunt. The issue also serves as the final setup for Hal Jordan’s inevitable confrontation with himself as Parallax has found his way to Earth with his sights definitely set on…himself.
As we’ve seen Venditti’s “Renegade” saga unfold we’ve witnessed Hal struggle with mastering Krona’s gauntlet, a device described as a less refined but more powerful predecessor of the typical power ring. The gauntlet has seemed to play off of Hal’s baser emotions at time which challenges him to keep himself in check far more than he’s used to and as we see again this issue it’s becoming more and more difficult as time passes. I get the feeling that there is a side effect to all of this as we see Hal losing control as if there’s an internal battle being waged which has yet to reach its pinnacle. Venditti has said that issue fifty will present something we’ve never seen done before and calling it “crazy” on social media it will be very interesting to see what he has up his sleeve when Hal literally comes face to face with himself.
I think there’s some fair criticism about Hal not catching Sonar as this story comes to a close, but at the same time I believe that in not providing the reader with the typical “good guy catches bad guy” ending Robert Venditti sets the stage for a future confrontation when Bito Wladon has raised his game to a whole new level. Sonar now sees Hal as an adversary worthy of more attention and when he’s had time to contemplate how he will adapt his methods to exact revenge we’ll see a villain more motivated by ego and emotion than by the cause which brought the two together for this story.
This new take on Sonar was a different adversary for Hal to go up against and Venditti creates a situation where Hal has to change his tactics to deal with a mindset that is more alien to him than the aliens that usually end up in his crosshairs. Having to outmaneuver Sonar on an intellectual level pushes Hal to use muscles that don’t often get to be flexed and even though we see him go a little over the top in how he handles the local law enforcement it is rewarding to see Hal overcome both the internal and external challenges to save the day.
Martin Coccolo handles all but the last page this issue and he does a great job in the moments that call for a bit more emotion, particularly when we see Jim Jordan, worry etched on this face, confronting his brother Hal in an emotional moment where he also loses a little bit of control and says some things that he might normally say. Jim’s reaction to Hal’s admission of trashing Wladon’s camp is very real and Coccolo does a nice job of giving the scene the emotional weight it needed in a visual sense. Likewise the final appearance of Sonar reveals a new level of madness for Wladon who is left in seething anger at having been bested thanks to Coccolo’s talent.
A really nice touch that Coccolo creates really plays off well in the digital version of this issue. When the scene shifts from Sonar’s hideout back to Coast City one scene ends with a closeup of Sonar which is following immediately by a near duplicate image of Hal. When read digitally in guided view the face of Sonar seems to transform in the face of Hal which I thought was a really smart idea on his part. There are a few moments where the perspective work make Hal look a little awkward but by and large Coccolo’s work more than gets the job done.
Green Lantern #49 wraps up the first appearance of the new Sonar without a real conclusion with Robert Venditti choosing instead to leave both with things to think about before locking horns somewhere down the road. The cracks are beginning to show in Hal’s armor at just the wrong time with Parallax literally on the horizon, setting the reader up for what could be a very climactic fiftieth issue. Eight out of ten lanterns.