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“I don’t get boxed in by facts”

We’ve had a terrific buildup to the conclusion of “Prism of Time” so far and this week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #21 aims to conclude the story by pitting Hal Jordan against the living embodiment of Krona’s gauntlet while the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps do their best to hold off the mechanizations of Sarko on the surface of Mogo.  Writer Robert Venditti is joined by artist V Ken Marion on the final chapter of the latest Green Lantern arc.

I think one of the Robert Venditti’s greatest strengths with this series has been how he has found a voice for each of the four main Earth Lanterns.  His understanding of what makes them tick is summed up nicely as Hal Jordan shares his observations with Rip Hunter during the journey to Sector 563.  I enjoyed Venditti showing Hal having more going on between his ears than we’ve sometimes seen in the past and quite often it’s easy to forget that Hal is more intellectual than he’s given credit for when writers put all their focus on his unpredictable, roguish nature.  So I really appreciated this issue giving a few panels to showcase that in a way that may help readers who may not have the history with these characters to see some of the great diversity that makes up the Green Lantern universe.

This issue continues to build up the tension as the clock seems to tick down on the surface of Mogo as the Lanterns there struggle against the overwhelming odds of the Prism Beasts.  V Ken Marion does a really nice job of showcasing the emotions of Tomar-Tu as he essentially turns his back on his comrades who face death with a far braver face than him.  We know there’s an inner struggle going on inside Tomar’s finned head and looking at the solicitations we know that his error in judgement is going to catch up with him sooner rather than later.  Here we can clearly see that combination of shame and regret as Tomar watches John Stewart rally the rest of the Corps.
Tomar-Tu turns his back on the Green Lanterns
Venditti pulls the trigger on reigniting the Soranik Natu / Kyle Rayner romance full on as the two share an embrace before entering the fray.  I do seriously hope that there’s some sort of plan for Carol Ferris in the not too distant future because this particular elephant in the room gets larger and larger as time passes.  While I loathed the whole Kyle/Carol romance I’d prefer it be addressed rather than swept under the rug or retconned out of existence.  It’d be so easy at this point for she and Kyle to admit that the whole thing was a Star Sapphire induced fling out of necessity for Carol to use the ring and move on.  I really, really want to see the moment when she finally has to ask Hal for forgiveness for the way she’s treated him, not just in the relationship department but in how she always gave him such a hard time for putting his Green Lantern duties above Ferris Air now that she’s gone and done the very same thing.

Getting back to this issue, Sarko’s lineage is finally addressed head on and to me the unfortunate part of this plot point is that it was telegraphed so far in advance that there’s no surprise value when the information is revealed formally.  Where the issue does provide some emotional beats playing off of this comes in the closing moments when Venditti resolves the conflict and Kyle comes face to face with the resulting outcome.  I can only imagine how Kyle will deal with this now that things have heated up with Soranik but I’m glad that Venditti has found a way to make Kyle more important in the series.
Kyle is about to learn what we’ve all suspected from the beginning
Regarding the conclusion to this arc’s main conflict I wished we’d have gotten more out of it.  The pacing seems off as we’ve had a nice build up and then the threat of Sarko feels very rushed and predictable.  When last issue ended with the reveal of how Krona’s gauntlet evolved I was really looked forward to something powerful in the finale.  But in the end the fight ends before it really starts and I’m left feeling unsatisfied with how quickly it all ended.  Sure Venditti leaves the door open to more with the gauntlet by teasing that it’s not really over yet, but for the sake of this story we don’t get a conclusion that rewards the reader given how much of a threat Sarko’s plan is made out to be.  I think the story would have been better served if the final battle had been drawn out more and given the room to breath it deserved.

V Ken Marion provides clean visuals and while his style isn’t as detailed as Ethan Van Sciver’s or have as much flair as Rafa Sandoval it does do the job.  I appreciate that he pays attention to some of the thing that other artists goof up, like getting the ring logos consistent.  It reminds me a little of Joe Staton during the Steve Englehart run in the mid-eighties with its straight to the point simplicity.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #21 ends the “Prism of Time” on a strong emotional note, but the conclusion feels rushed and slightly disappointing considering all the great build up that Robert Venditti put into the threat of Sarko up to this point.  While the ending of the conflict is a bit of a let down there’s plenty of great character moments and foreshadowing that makes this book a fun if predictable read.  Eight out of ten lanterns.

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