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“Hello, beautiful”

This week’s thirtieth issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps brings Hal back to Earth for the first time in quite some time and sets the stage for the return of a classic Green Lantern villain while serving to show some interconnectivity with the rest of the DC Comics universe.  Patrick Zircher is the guest artist on the issue and brings with him a fresh take on the Green Lantern Corps.

The first thing to get out of the way is that this issue is primarily a setup tale that serves as connective tissue from the “Fall of the Gods” to Robert Venditti’s next story involving Hector Hammond.  It also serves as a follow-up to the return of Sinestro and Parallax in Superman #29 and 30, moving those two particular elements back into the background until they are ready to take center stage once again.  With this series being very disconnected from the rest of the DC Universe I enjoyed seeing them intersect and creating the feeling that these books do take place in a shared space.

Someone is trying to get through to Hal

Of course it’s always great to see Hal return to Earth and here’s looking forward to hopefully seeing him interact with his family and maybe Carol Ferris, too.  We often forget that Hal has a supporting cast on Earth who are often overlooked and many fans have expressed the desire to see Hal back on Earth regularly.  While that’s unfortunately not likely to happen we can enjoy the moment while it lasts – and hey, maybe we’ll get to see what’s going on with Tom Kalmaku some time.

Venditti reinforces that this is a rare treat for any Earth Lantern through the opening sequence where John Stewart entertains pitches from Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner as to why they are right man for the job.  Stewart goes with Jordan due to his experience with both Sinestro and Superman, leaving Guy and Kyle to go off on Honor Guard duty.  There is the nagging thought that this mission should just have fallen to Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz and it’s a concession this story makes which contradicts the “one universe” notion.  I’m chalking it up to being a tale which takes place during the time that Jessica and Simon went on that mission for Rami – an event that should have ended up with someone patrolling Sector 2814 in their absence.  These are the moments when the lack of ongoing connectivity between the two Green Lantern books really shows and in these moments I do miss the good old days when there was tighter continuity between them.

Pat Zircher makes the fight scene look great.

Hal takes a statement from Superman and that’s when thing start to pick up as Hal falls unknowingly under the influence of a distressed Hector Hammond.  Thinking that Parallax is controlling Superman puts Hal on the offensive and there’s a fun battle scene as the two face off.  Venditti almost has us convinced that Superman really is possessed by the fear entity and he does a nice job of down playing down Hal hearing voices as possibly Superman calling out for help to keep the reader thinking that perhaps Parallax really has taken control of one of the Kryptonian.

I really likes seeing Hal and Superman interact and Venditti creates a nice chemistry between them.  There’s a Captain America moment from Superman that made me chuckle and I’m reminded immediately of how much I miss seeing Hal interacting with the rest of DC’s hero community.  There is clearly a sense of camaraderie and respect that I love seeing with there two particular heroes interact and Venditti does a good job of conveying it this issue.

Pat Zircher does the pencil work on this issue and he brings with him his own style that works well with the Green Lantern universe.  I’m not overly familiar with Zircher’s work but I like what I see here.  He does a nice job of conveying emotion and the first page in particular does a nice job showcasing his ability to tell a story as there is nary a word balloon to be found yet we totally understand what Hal is thinking as he approaches Earth.  Zircher likewise infuses the fight between Hal and Superman with a lot of visual energy that makes the action scene come to life.  While not as hyper detailed as Ethan Van Sciver nor as glamorous as Rafa Sandoval, Zircher does an excellent job with the issue and I’m definitely going to check out more of his work while hoping he’ll be coming back to this series again for another story arc.

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #30 is a fun story which introduces the next plot while simultaneously reconnecting the series to the greater DC Universe and laying the groundwork for the return of the Green Lanterns’ greatest enemy.  While clearly a setup issue the book is entertaining and features some great visuals from guest artist Pat Zircher.  Nine out of ten lanterns.

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