“You can be a hero”
Set sixty years into the future, issue thirteen retells the events of “Bottled Light” through the eyes of one of the survivors of Starro’s attack on Xudar and the subsequent battle with Larfleeze. For some readers this may be a reason to cry foul but what makes the recounting interesting is knowing the future fate of the survivor by the issue’s end and seeing how this one event quite literally shaped her life. From that comes the powerful reminder of the aspirational nature of the Green Lantern mythos.Through the words of Somar-Le, now much older and wiser than her twelve year old self who fell under Starro’s control, Robert Venditti reminds us of the nature of fear, anger and greed and of the incredible force willpower is in the face of these things when we find it in ourselves. It speaks to the universal notion that we each have the ability inside to rise above whatever holds us down, to be a hero even if when that doesn’t mean saving the universe but getting through life’s obstacles. I think it’s sad that some reviewers and sites have politicized this issue, but at the end of the day I think it speaks to how readers can find what’s important to them in this issue’s narrative.
Besides shining another spotlight on the Xudarians, reminding us that we each can be a hero in our own right and showing that the Green Lanterns are once again viewed as a force for good in the universe, this issue also foreshadows the future as Somar-Le talks about other deeds of the Green Lanterns. Interestingly Somar-Le’s accounting of the Starro invasion ignores the participation of the Sinestro Corps. At first I questioned this but then as the issue went on and we see future events and we learn more about Somar-Le herself it became clear that this was intentional.
This issue marks V Ken Marion’s first foray into the Lantern universe and it’s a good freshman effort. Marion does a good job conveying a range of expression on the Xudarians which is no easy feat. There are also four double page spreads in this issue and Marion makes each one of them look spectacular. While the arrival of the Green Lantern Corps looks great it’s the other three that really capture the reader’s attention.
The first spread depicts foes both old and new who the Corps will having entanglements with. Showing Romat-Ru was a nice touch and reinforces the commonly held opinion that the new relationship between the Sinestro Corps and the Green Lanterns is not going to be a lengthy one. It was also great to see Evil Star again. He last showed up during the Van Jensen run on Green Lantern Corps with a less than spectacular new character design and here he looks closer to his roots. Ethan Van Sciver mentioned that Venditti brought Evil Star up in conversation nearly a year ago just after this series was first announced which goes to show you how much planning has gone into this title. The other threats on these two pages appear new and look really intriguing in both design and scale.
The second spread piques my interest as the stars are filled with Volthoom-like power rings. The thought of an army fueled by Volthoom creates the notion of a crossover between the Lantern books may be in our future, especially given what’s transpired in the Green Lanterns series recently. Lastly there is a nice ode to the “War of Light” image that featured prominently in the finale of the Sinestro Corps War. Kyle Rayner is noticeably absent from the image, however I think it’s intentional to preserve the outcome of some events which have been mentioned in solicitations for upcoming issues.
While Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #13 may not seem to further the series it does allow the reader to see the heroics through a different lense and be reminded that while we may not wear a functioning power ring we each have the capacity to be a hero to ourselves and those that matter most to us. Nine out of ten lanterns.