“You can’t hide from your fear, Alley Rat”
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has been a series that is typified by cover to cover science fiction action and adventure, but the recently released twenty-fourth issue takes the most recent plot points and emotionally charges them in the buildup towards the title’s anniversary issue. It’s a departure from the breakneck pace that Robert Venditti has kept the series at since the Rebirth launch but in taking a brief pause before plunging ahead the writer he creates some emotional anchors which will make what comes next all the more spectacular.
The main plot revolves around Tomar-Tu and his admission of guilt in killing Romat-Ru. Sure Tomar crossed the line but I’m really glad that Venditti made sure to show how Romat pushed just the right buttons to provoke his fellow Xudarian into taking such a drastic step. Good characterization is given to Phantas-M as well, who know from his own history the terrible weight of Tomar’s decision will have on him. Despite Tomar’s actions and his attempts to keep them secret his conscience is burden too much for him to handle, and coming clean to both John Stewart and Hal Jordan showed tremendous character. I felt for both Tomar and Hal given the history between them and I appreciated how Venditti showed Hal being Tomar’s friend to the end who has such a hard time accepting the truth of the situation. Big kudos to Ethan Van Sciver who delivers some wonderfully crafted panels which provide the emotional foundation for Venditti’s script.
The other situation brewing revolves around Soranik Natu and Kyle Rayner now that Soranik has learned that the two of them had a son. Venditti really plays the scene between them well as Natu erupts in fury at Rayner’s lie of omission. That Sarko’s body disappeared is a pretty clear indicator that the future of their romantic relationship is in mortal danger. Natu’s action drive home the point that the foundation of their relationship is on very shaky ground, and when she totally wrecks Kyle, leaving him laying on the ground after delivering a most stinging tongue lashing I honestly felt bad for the both of them. Again it’s the quality of both the contributions of Venditti and Van Sciver that elevate the scene to another level.
There are a couple of details that almost escape unnoticed amid all the drama. First being that Romat-Ru’s ring deactivates itself once free of Tomar’s forcefield and the other being how Soranik lashes out at Kyle. There’s a panel in particular where Natu looks very much like her father and I don’t think that her calling Kyle an “alley rat” is entirely of her own doing. We all know that it’s only a matter of time before Sinestro returns and while that’s pretty much confirmed by the solicitations for the coming months I think that it’s smart of Venditti to plant some seeds early. I’m in the camp of thinking that the power ring was shut off by Sinestro wherever he may be and that Soranik’s emotional state was such that her father was able to channel a little bit through her from afar due to his connection with Parallax. I could of course be very wrong here, but given how Venditti is a long range planner I look at seemingly minor pieces of information much like I did during the Geoff Johns’ era.
John Stewart is faced with a major situation now that the truth of Tomar-Tu’s crime has come to light. While John is often a master tactician his decision to leave Hal to protect Tomar in his quarters versus whisking him off to a secure location seems to be a bad one, and when John decides to make the situation public so hastily it takes mere moments before the Yellow Lantern lynch mob comes calling. This sets the stage the final chapter of the story arc before the title jumps into its second year which looks to be one where the alliance between the two factions has come to an end.
I’ve mentioned Ethan Van Sciver a couple of times already but it bears repeating how much he contributes to this issue. Ethan is often the guy DC turns to for events and major storylines because of his reputation for turning in jaw dropping pages that ooze epicness. I appreciate his efforts here at some subtlety and delivering the goods on a more emotionally grounded story that what he usually gets to work on. I’ve said it before – Van Sciver and Jason Wright are killing it on this series and they are in my opinion one of the best art teams that DC has working for them.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #24 delivers a one-two punch to the gut as DC’s greatest space series puts action aside for some character driven drama. Robert Venditti and Ethan Van Sciver are firing on all cylinders this issue, setting the stage for a climactic conclusion to the “Fractured” storyline. Nine out of ten lanterns.