“Someone took the Guardians”
It’s been almost exactly three years since we’ve seen the Templar Guardians and many fans, myself included, have wondered what happened to them and when what seemed like a major loose plot thread would finally be addressed. With this week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #33 Robert Venditti pulls the Templar Guardians back into the spotlight as he kicks of his newest story, “The Twilight of the Guardians”.
With a title like that it certainly implies that something major is going to happen to the the little blue smurfs and as this issue starts out it certainly sounds like things have not been good for the Templars since we last saw them. Poor Yekop seems to be the last of the Templars still free as he is pursued by Kellic, an antagonist who would remain unknown in the opening pages if not for the spoiler given away on the cover. Yes, the Controllers are back and whatever their agenda is, it clearly isn’t one that bodes well for their former kinsmen. To add to this sense that something bad is going to happen are the words of Ganthet and Sayd this issue. Venditti paints Ganthet in particular as one who has finally grown weary of the immortal life he’s lived, aware that after all this time there is no more wonder to experience in the universe for him. Ganthet seems almost melancholy this issue and it adds to the sense that something may be coming to an end.
Juxtaposed with this is the youthful exuberance of Somar-Le as she finds the bliss of the simple feat of flight as she dances in the stars above Mogo. I like that Venditti reminds us of just how amazing it is to be a Green Lantern despite the endless crises that the Corps tackle on a daily basis. I’ve been reading Green Lantern comics for the vast majority of my fifty three years and it’s easy to sometimes forget how wondrous it must be to be able to wear a power ring. Seeing John Stewart joining Ganthet and Sayd as they watch on also allows Venditti to take a moment for some very real conversation between the Guardians and the Corps Leader, who rightfully has kept Ganthet and Sayd at arms length.
With this issue clearly being one that sets up the overall story Venditti continues to build on the dynamic between Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, with their friendship providing each with some nice character moments as Kyle wonders about the real world cost and sacrifice of being a Green Lantern. Kyle’s near mention of Carol Ferris also sparks an interesting reaction from Hal, who we saw only a couple of issues ago stopped just shy of having a major conversation with.
The issue closes with the reveal of the Controllers which again was unfortunately spoiled by the issue’s cover. We haven’t seen the Controllers since Green Lantern volume 4, issue 28 when we see a group of them fall in face of Larfleeze. For those unfamiliar, the Controllers are an offshoot of the Guardians who disagreed with the direction the Oans were taking to make amends for the actions of Krona. The Controllers created weapons of their own like the Sun-Eater and their own brand of cosmic law enforcers, the Darkstars. John Stewart and several members of the Green Lantern Corps at one time served as members of the Darkstars in the days after the Central Power Battery was destroyed. There’s a part of me that wonders if we might see the return of the Darkstars in this story or in the near future and how that might impact the roster of this series should DC decide to kick off another series.
Jack Herbert does a wonderful job with the pencils and ink work this issue. I particularly appreciated his decision to take some inspiration from Jack Kirby where appropriate, and he really conveys the emotions of the characters throughout the issue, effectively supporting Venditti’s script and adding more heart to the issue.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns Corps #33 is a wonderful return after taking a couple of issues away from the title’s ongoing story. While this installment is obviously designed to introduce the elements of the story, Robert Venditti infuses the issue with a great deal of heart and a sense of foreboding that makes me feel like this is a story that will have some impact on the direction of the book. I’m happy to see that the Templar Guardians have not been forgotten and that Venditti continues to draw inspiration from Green Lantern mythology. Coupled with great artwork by Jack Herbert, this one is an entertaining read. Nine out of ten lanterns.