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“I became will”

With Parallax out of the way Green Lantern scribe Robert Venditti has Hal Jordan in an interesting predicament as this weeks Green Lantern #51 begins.  The prolonged exposure to Krona’s gauntlet has left Hal looking a lot like a giant sized construct, but there’s something else going on that points to something greater happening to the last remaining Green Lantern.  Hal starts the issue out with a bit of an identity crisis which is aided by his brother Jim, who helps Hal return to human form.

Hal’s comment that “I became will” is intriguing but before Hal can go out, find the Corps and get help he has to deal with the Gray Agents who have been moving in on Hal in hopes of bringing him in for his “crimes” and establishing themselves as the predominant law agency in the cosmos.  It was a little bit disappointing to see this new wrinkle set aside to focus on the Gray Agents, but knowing that there’s only one more regular issue and the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps;Rebirth special before the new status quo takes over I’m confident that Venditti will provide us with a resolution.

Hal starts to think about looking before he leaps

Hal leaves Earth and bids a fond farewell to Jim Jordan and his family and Venditti does a nice job as Hal says goodbye to Jim’s children, who don’t quite understand why Uncle Hal can’t stick around.  As a reader I hope that at some point Hal gets to have a lengthier stay on Earth and spend more time with them as well.  While Green Lantern has spent more than it’s fair share of time telling stories in space there is something satisfying about Hal Jordan adventuring on his home turf in his own book while also appearing as a part of the Justice League.  I’d hoped there would be more of that planned as a part of Rebirth, but the recent announcements have made that little more than wishful thinking.

The Gray Agents prove to be really interesting adversaries for Virgo, Trapper and Darlene and they execute their actions with military precision, with Virgo rising to the occasion in a surprising show of martial arts prowess.  They are no match for the Grays and it isn’t long before they have their captives incarcerated and ready for interrogation.  Hal finds the Gray Agents in short order, having been warned by Darlene, and as the issue comes to a close we are left with the Hal preparing to lay the smack down on the Grays.

The Gray Agents prove to be worthy opponents

The issue is very action packed and moves quickly, giving me the impression that perhaps Venditti modified any original plans he had in order to move the series where it needs to be for July’s Rebirth.  I felt the issue had a nice balance between the action and the moments on Earth, but I did feel like the later half of the book moved at such a pace that it seemed to be over with a little too quickly.  A minor nitpick for sure.

Artist Rafa Sandoval makes his debut this month and if his freshman effort is any indication then readers are going to be thrilled with the visuals that he and Ethan Van Sciver are going to give us on the new series.  Sandoval does a great job with his depiction of the titular character which is a great improvement on what we’ve come to expect on this series.  His panel layouts are aesthetically grabbing and his depiction of the Gray Agents really upped my interest level in them.  There is a particular moment when Jim Jordan is trying to help his brother find himself that leads to a great spread by Sandoval that shows the reader a little bit of the journey that Hal has been on.  It not only looks great but the whole page helps make this issue a great jumping on point for anyone who may be new to the series.  Sandoval is a great addition to the title and I can’t wait to see the work he’s going to be doing in the month’s to come.

Green Lantern #51 provides little information on Hal’s transformation at the end of last month’s issue before taking the reader back into space for another adventure.  Writer Robert Venditti again shows strength with the character beats and then provides a greater introduction for the Gray Agents.  The real treat this issue is the debut of Rafa Sandoval who impresses with his first foray into the Green Lantern universe. Eight out of ten lanterns.

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