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“The do not see the end.  They see inspiration!”

This weeks Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15 returns Saint Walker to the fold as Kyle Rayner and Hal Jordan face one of the creepiest threats seen on the pages of a lantern book in a long time.  While the Misery Mound tries to put an end to two of the Corps’ finest, Guy Gardner sets off on a mission of his own while John Stewart finds that leading the Green Lanterns may be more of a challenge than he thought when he realizes no everyone is marching in line behind him.

Something I appreciate about Robert Venditti’s approach with John Stewart is that he shows us how Stewart’s military history has shaped him without the need to do flashbacks or provide a bunch of exposition.  You can see John doing his very best to be the leader and making tactical choices which he believes sets the Corps up for a return to greatness.  It isn’t all coming easy to John either as he is finding out the hard way that leading a group during a crisis is one thing when everyone is looking for a leader, but it’s another thing when there isn’t a crisis and people aren’t always to quick to follow.  Venditti seems to be setting John up for an altercation with his fellow human lanterns, all of whom have ditched John for one reason or another.  It’s a good opportunity for John to grow as a leader and a character depending on how he handles his fellow humans.

Guy Gardner has come to kick butt and chew bubblegum……

The issue serves three plots and the emerging thread centers on Guy Gardner and his assessment of one particular member of the Sinestro Corps.  Ditching his ring in favor of taking Arkillo on mano e mano is a show of bravado that one would expect from Guy, but underneath what appears like a rash action is a pretty on the nose analysis of Arkillo by Gardner.  It plays into some of Guy’s insecurities that he can’t envision another being potentially outdoing him which shows how much Venditti understands what’s going on behind Guy’s thick skull.  Seeing these two going toe to toe next issue is something I’m really looking forward to.

We learn that Saint Walker’s situation with the Misery Mound is no coincidence and that the Mound is an elemental being which has created the violent environment that dominates the planet’s surface.  While the Mound doesn’t end up being much of a threat Venditti uses it to both show what Hal and Kyle want most for themselves and to illustrate why they are likely the two most powerful ringbearers.  This particular plot provides several great uplifting scenes, particularly when Hal and Kyle emerge triumphant from the disparity that the Mound put them through.

Hal and Kyle are about to have their mettle tested by the Misery Mound

One can’t talk about this issue and not mention the art.  Ethan Van Sciver makes everything he touches seem like an event and here he takes an already great script and elevates it to something really special.  Whether it was his choice or Venditti’s, seeing Guy Gardner wearing his trusty “G” emblazoned jacket and Warrior’s shirt was an excellent way to provide a nod to Guy’s past and give long time readers a nice easter egg.  There are a number of large panels, full page spreads and double page spreads which gives Ethan a lot of room to create some really dynamic visuals which serve to showcase key moments in the story.  There are moments that seem to come alive and leap off the page which makes this issue a real treat visually.  The Misery Mound is really creepy thanks to Ethan’s ability to convey the visceral horror of the being so effectively.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15 keeps the lantern train rolling with some great character work, lots of action and stunning visuals.  While the issue doesn’t move the plot along a great deal it’s still the most entertaining book in the lantern family.  Robert Venditti is on a roll and you can’t go wrong anytime Ethan Van Sciver’s name is on the cover.  Nine out of ten lanterns.

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