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“Keep it tight and bright, Lanterns”

With the Green Lantern / Yellow Lantern alliance still standing on shaky ground Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #22 provides them with their first real outing.  While Robert Venditti’s story is pretty  much a straightforward action piece there are two major subplots that serve as an undercurrent that illustrate how shaky the ground is that this arrangement is built upon.  Sprinkled throughout are nice character flourishes that allow members of the cast to each have moments that will make their fans happy they signed on for another adventure.

“Fracture” part one is built on the groundwork that this series has developed over the past several months.  Tomar-Tu is hiding a dark secret which threatens the very core of the dynamic between the two Corps and could very well destroy all the hard work that John Stewart and Soranik Natu have poured into getting these two groups to lay down their hostilities.  The Hal Jordan led strike force does an effective job of handling Bolphunga’s plans to rob the treasures stored on the planet Vault, seemingly showcasing just how well they can function together as a unit, but Tomar-Tu’s shaken willpower really illustrates how fragile things really are.

That Tomar-Tu’s secret is not confined to the knowledge of he and his partner is the primary threat to John Stewart’s master plan, and by issue’s end it becomes apparent that the murder of Romat-Ru is about to become a major problem for everyone.  It makes  you feel a little bad for John, who so clearly feels the burden of leadership.  I thought that Venditti giving John that moment where he can acknowledge his relief was an important one for the character as he’s so often portrayed rather one dimensionally and this showed that there is more going on emotionally beneath the stoic shell that he builds for himself.

John Stewart takes a rare moment for himself
Meanwhile Kyle Rayner is struggling to deal with Soranik Natu in light of his knowledge of their future progeny, a situation that leads Kyle to make an offer to Natu that could alter the timeline that he’s understood from his experience wearing Rip Hunter’s power ring.  There’s an irony that Kyle was the one pushing for them to get back together and now he seems to want to pump the brakes a little while Soranik is finally showing her own willingness to move forward.  Their relationship is going to be tested in more ways than one and I’m interested in seeing how this one plays out.

This issue marks the welcome return of Ethan Van Sciver and as one might expect he elevates what is a pretty straight forward issue to feel like an event.  Ethan’s work is always very detailed and something you don’t expect to see on a series that ships twice a month.  Ethan’s found ways to to use space to his advantage so that he can put more energy into providing the quality of work that defines his style into the elements that matter most.  You can really see the love and respect he has for the Green Lantern universe pouring out of his pencils.  Jason Wright is an unsung hero as his ability to blend color to add more definition and depth to Ethan’s pencils takes what is already so great and takes it to the next level.
With dynamic scenes like this the art team continues to bring their A game
My respect for creative teams increases when I see that they have paid attention to what came before when others defined the universes they now create in, especially when they show they’ve done their homework.  I really enjoyed that Venditti made references to Betrassus, homeworld of Princess Iolande, and Nellewel, the mining planet where the Green Lanterns faced off against the Khund back in 2013’s Green Lantern Corps#22 and #23.  But what really got me was the appearance of Myrwhydden in the sciencecells.  Myrwhydden is a sorcerer first created by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane back in 1964 who hasn’t been seen since a brief appearance in 2004’s Justice League of America: Another Nail.  It seems like a little thing but in the eyes of a long time reader I think it’s important to make those kinds of nods back to the things which define the mythology you’re writing about.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #22 is a fantastic start to another story arc for one of DC’s best series.  While the action takes center stage there’s plenty going on that builds on the foundation that Robert Venditti has laid, and with the fantastic art team of Ethan Van Sciver and Jason Wright the book looks amazing.  Nine out of ten lanterns.

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