“The job needs me because I’m me”
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has been a consistently solid book from the get-go despite concerns about the sizeable cast. After taking a one issue pause for reflection and prophesying Robert Venditti picks up where he left off as the Green Lantern Corps starts anew and the search for hope begins in today’s fourteenth issue.
Venditti mines DC’s rich history to bring the Space Cabbie back to the pages and his updated version is quite the character. His interaction with Guy that opens this issue feels natural and engaging for two characters that have never actually appeared together on the same page before. Venditti’s script makes it feel like these two have a real history together and I can see the two of them in a bar together somewhere in some remote seedy corner of the universe getting into trouble. I really appreciate that we’re given a little bit of room to see more parts of the cosmic side of the DC universe which are underserved at the moment. Like the moments on Xudar these scenes make the universe feel like a real place inhabited by unique interesting beings.
Guy’s quest for knowledge folds into the anchoring part of the narrative that centers on the re-establishment of the Green Lantern Corps at the heart of the universe. John Stewart gets to flex his leadership muscles when he and Soranik Natu lay out the rules that govern the new paradigm formed by the newfound partnership between the Green Lanterns and the Sinestro Corps. The idea of sector partners being a combination of one member from each faction has considerable potential for some great storytelling and I’m interested to see how Venditti plays with it. The lanterns have their first charge and thanks to the information that Guy brings back to Mogo things are likely to heat up for the Yellow Lanterns currently on the run.
I think it’s important for John that Hal share his message from Katma Tui so I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get that this issue. I was also waiting for Soranik and Kyle to have some kind of interaction given their past. But the immediacy of Hal and Kyle needing to find what’s happened to Saint Walker leaves no time for social calls and we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that we get that somewhere down the road.
Speaking of Kyle and Hal, their dynamic together was a little different from the last time they worked together. Kyle is portrayed as being carefree and cracking jokes while Hal is depicted as being very single minded with his focus clearly being on the mission at hand. I may be reading into their interactions but I felt like there is an underlying tension between them that was just under the surface. I fully realize may just be projecting here but some of Kyle’s comments seemed aimed at getting under Hal’s nerves intentionally and Hal responded in a very no nonsense, almost curt, manner. My first thought is that it’s the elephant in the room, namely the status of Carol Ferris, that might be the focus of the tension. It could just be that Kyle is trying to recover from his time in the Omega Men and Hal feels a strong purpose due to his time in Emerald Space. Maybe I am reading into something that’s not there, but it’s something I’m definitely keeping my eye on.
That the issue ends with the discovery of Saint Walker in the throws of defending himself was pretty predictable but still very satisfying. While certainly under duress from being under attack Bro’Dee isn’t looking too worse for wear after spending time under Sinestro’s thumb. I’m really looking forward to next issue’s full-on reunion and how Venditti plans to include the Blue Lanterns in his long term plans for the series. I’m also interested in knowing what, or who, is curled around the back of Saint Walker’s neck!
I can’t talk about the art in this issue without first taking a moment to praise the variant cover this month. I have been by and large unimpressed with Kevin Nowlan’s variants so far, but this one was pretty special. It’s a nice ode to Gil Kane’s cover to Green Lantern vol. 2 issue 61 where Hal makes a nearly identical claim about Alan Scott. I love when artists recognize the work of their Silver Age predecessors and Gil Kane was certainly one of the masters of the medium back in the day and he deserves to be remembered.
Rafa Sandoval really returns in great form after a bit of an absence. The expressions during the meet up between Guy and the Space Cabbie help sell the idea of the two having a storied past and I really like his design work on the cab and the Cabbie’s new look. Likewise when John and Hal have their conversation you can really read what John is thinking by his posture and gestures.
Where Sandoval really takes off is when the scene shifts to deep space where Hal and Kyle discover Saint Walker. Those moments leap off the page for me and give so much energy to the story. The full page image where the two lanterns find themselves dwarfed by two enormous alien creatures is full of detail, depth and texture, showcasing what an incredible talent Sandoval is. There’s a very creative two page spread that alternates wedges showing what Hal and Kyle are doing that is just a lot of fun to look at and then the closing image of Saint Walker powerfully conveys the deep caca he seems to be in. There’s one minor faux pas where Sandoval shows Kyle with his ring on the wrong hand but otherwise this is another example of why this series is one of DC’s most consistently excellent titles.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #14 not only shows why it’s the best Green Lantern book on the stands but also why it’s one of DC’s best ongoing series. A strong script backed up by gorgeous artwork is a guaranteed recipe for a great read. Nine out of ten lanterns.