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“This pilot can dogfight all day”

This week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #3 is an action packed issue that showcases the bravado of the titular character while adding a little more detail to Sinestro’s grand plan.  With his “fear engine” revving up the situation becomes desperate for Hal while the rest of the Green Lantern Corps continue to try to re-establish themselves on Mogo.

Robert Venditti starts the issue out by giving us a brief glimpse into the Green Lantern Corps’ continuing predicament as John Stewart tries to check in on Guy Gardner.  While major systems remain inoperable we do get to see where Guy is – and it’s in the middle of a brawl where we’d expect him to be.  Sadly the focus shifts away from Guy and John after only a couple of pages leaving me wanting to know more.

The rest of the issue splits its time between Hal’s confrontation with the Sinestro Corps and a very interesting meeting between Sinestro and Administer Lash that unveils a new faction in the universe in the form of The Sacrament.  The Sacrament’s intentions are unclear but what is apparent is that their agenda and Sinestro’s line up enough to benefit them both at least in the short term.

Sinestro forges a new, if uneasy, alliance with the Sacrament

Sinestro has a new strategy that involves something called the “Fear Engine” which isn’t spelled out per se but as Hal is fighting off the Yellow Lanterns the scene shifts between their conflict and scenes on other planets like Khundia and Tamaran where other members of the Sinestro Corps are on the offensive.  As they succeed in each instance the power of the Yellow Lanterns grow, implying that the Fear Engine is generating emotional energy for Sinestro’s forces to use.

While Soranik Natu watches from afar Hal Jordan has his hands more than full as he takes on a dozen members of Sinestro’s Corps.  Venditti does a wonderful job capturing Hal’s “never say die” spirit and reminding us just why Abin Sur’s ring chose him.  Hal throws himself at his opponents and doesn’t back down as the odds continue to increase against him despite the tide of fear rising against him.  That Hal eventually succumbs to his foes is a nice move by Venditti as the reader rallies with Hal each time he overcomes each succeeding challenge only to realize just what a dire position the Green Lanterns are in.  It’s also great to be reminded that this is what a Green Lantern is supposed to do and inspired by the heroism and selflessness of the people who accept the responsibility of the ring.

Hal is at his most heroic trying to save people from the Sinestro Corps

Unfortunately the issue is over quickly with the struggle between Hal and the Yellow Lanterns chewing up the majority of pages in this issue.  I felt like someone who’d just gotten off a rollercoaster and really enjoyed the ride only to find it over quicker than I wanted it to be.  Both this issue and the previous one moved at a quick pace partially due to the number of large panels and splash pages in the book, something that I’m sure some readers will believe was done to decompress the story to accommodate for being a bi-weekly series.  While I don’t have any answers for that I do both appreciate seeing the story unfold in a non-rushed fashion and see where many would want the narrative to move along at a brisker pace.  I do think that the Hal fight sequence could have been shortened by a page to give John and Guy a little more panel time and if there’s any criticism of the issue it’s in that.  The one thing that I will say is that the decompressed story telling really provides opportunities for the art team.

And what a visual treat this issue is.  Rafa Sandoval has shown his worth once again this issue.  The action really comes to life and leaps off the page under his pencil, and the one page that Guy Gardner appears on effectively captures what the character is all about.  Tomeu Morey’s colors and Jordi Tarragona’s ink work is spectacular as well and together these three artists deliver vibrant images that showcases the frenzied battle.  Their are several panels in this issue that really left me just admiring the quality of the artwork that has graced the pages of this series so far.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #3 is another stellar chapter in what is my favorite book from DC Comics coming out of Rebirth.  This issue has secret plots, high octane action and heroism on a cosmic scale plus artwork that is out of this world.  While the focus is a little unbalanced this issue is still a great read.  Eight out of ten lanterns.

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