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“Can’t believe I gotta be the adult here”

In Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #18 writer Robert Venditti launches the next arc in DC’s foremost cosmic title.  While giving us a glimpse at a new threat Venditti and artist V. Ken Marion also provide the first appearance of a fan favorite character who brings ominous news from the future which introduces a whole new mystery to be unraveled.

I’m glad to see Gorin-Sunn get more panel time as he is one of my favorite of the new lanterns that Venditti and former Green Lantern Corps writer Van Jensen introduced in the post-John era.  The dynamic between Sunn and “Space Ape” are are a bit of a role reversal in that the Sinestro Corps member seems to be more of a protagonist in comparison to Sunn’s not so sunny disposition.  Between this and the recent actions of Tomar-Tu it certainly looks like Venditti is trying to provide some commentary about the Green Lanterns and their preconceptions.  Their situation becomes dire when they encounter a strange new threat while investigating a temporal anomaly, a threat Venditti foreshadowed back in issue thirteen.  I’m sure their appearance, and the veins of rock made up of dense will, are somehow tied to Krona’s gauntlet given that Hal Jordan recognizes the location as being where he ditched it back in the Rebirth re-launch issue.

While the fates of Sunn and Space Ape are left up in the air their distrust is echoed even more strongly back on Mogo when the Green and Yellow Lanterns end up in a brawl.  Venditti uses John Stewart to provide a voice of reason and re-examination of how we look at our enemies once our struggles have ended, again perhaps serving as commentary on recent events in the real world.  John’s observations aside the fracas erupts nonetheless until Guy Gardner and Arkillo, of all beings, inject rationale thought into the situation.

John Stewart is finding, like Hal, that leading the Corps when the universe isn’t at stake is a bigger challenge.

The whole sequence on the surface level seems almost throwaway, but coupled with the Sunn-Space Ape situation and the mysterious disappearance of Romat-Ru last issue I believe that Venditti has something in mind that he’s building up to.  My first reaction is that we’ll see Tomar-Tu’s actions come to light and it will be the Green Lanterns who cause the relationship to turn sour when it’s discovered that they are the ones who couldn’t be trusted to take the high road with John and Soranik’s grand plan.

With Kyle Rayner back as a regular part of the team Venditti takes no time in having him interact with Soranik Natu.  Their interaction is very brief but there’s a casual flirtatiousness about it that hints that there’s more to come should these two be given the chance to rekindle their relationship.  There’s no such happy reunion for Saint Walker and the Blue Lanterns and he’s once again charged with building his Corps from the ground up.  There’s a real sense of foreboding as Ganthet and Sayd briefly take stock of their contributions to the universe and realize that despite all they’ve done there is so much more beyond them.

The issue’s conclusion brings about the return of Rip Hunter to the DC Universe in his first appearance since Rebirth.  Rip’s appearance is also tied to a temporal anomaly which leads me to wonder about any connection between Hunter and the crystalline beings that Sunn and Space Ape encounter in the opening sequence of the issue.  Hunter brings news to the Mogo from the future and it’s not good news either.  Perhaps tied to the interference with Kyle’s attempt to resurrect the Blue Lanterns someone is also erasing the Green Lanterns from the future.

Saint Walker must rebuild the Blue Lantern Corps anew.

All in all this is a nice setup issue that introduces so interesting new challenges for our heroes while continuing to build on the solid foundation that Robert Venditti has established on this series.  There’s a lot happening in this series for those who pay attention to the details while Venditti does a good job of making sure that those layers don’t muddy the straight forward science fiction action elements that serve as the core of the Green Lantern franchise.

V. Ken Marion does a nice job overall with the pencil work on this issue. There are some proportion issues here and there but nothing which takes too much away from the overall reading experience.  Denei Ribeiro’s colors are a little less vibrant that what we’ve seen so far in this series, but everything still looks good overall.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #18 hints that there are some major events looming over the horizon while setting readers up for the next chapter of Robert Venditti’s space opera.  There are plenty of things in motion but it never feels overwhelming thanks to Venditti’s ability to juggle all the moving pieces.  Eight out of ten lanterns.

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