“And from our meddling springs ruin!”
One of the big attractions of the Green Lantern universe to me is the diversity of the storytelling open to writers. Whether it’s a very intimate personal story or a galaxy sprawling space odyssey the only limit is the imagination. In this week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #34 writer Robert Venditti dives deep into Green Lantern history in order to tell a story that has the potential to shake the franchise at its very foundation. The “Twilight of the Guardians” is here and the Maltusan’s past seems to have caught up with them.
For those not familiar with the Controllers check out my review of the last issue where I do provide a quick lowdown on their history. This issue’s final pages reveal their frightening agenda although Venditti doesn’t give us everything as we still don’t know why the Controllers are doing what they are. Given the dramatic conversation between Ganthet and Kellic it’s fair to presume that both branches of the Maltusan family tree are withering and one side feels the other needs to die so that they may live. If so my next thought falls to the Zamarons and any stake they have in this. I love that Venditti is finding new stories to tell based on the rich history of the Corps without invalidating any of it.
We also see more of Somar-Le’s initiation in to the Corps and the challenges created with her being a minor. Venditti uses this as a way to highlight the differences in the four main Earth Lanterns without downplaying the potential that the young Xudarian represents. While it’s a small part of this issue it serves to remind us of how unique each individual is in the Corps despite having the same power set. It’s a good moment for both Kyle Rayner and Somar-Le in particular to be sure.
This time it’s the Green Lanterns as intergalactic investigators rather than space cops and again Venditti shows his understanding of the main characters as each uses techniques which reflect their personae. It’s also great to see John taking a more active role in the situation as he joins the Honor Guards in their mission to find out where the Controllers have taken the Guardians. While Venditti has done a great job showcasing John Stewart as the Corps Leader he hasn’t given him as much to do as a man of action and I’m looking forward to seeing all four Green Lantern in action next issue.
The strongest parts of the issue circle around the relationship between Kellic and Ganthet who spend several panels verbally sparring with each other. The eons of regret are apparent in both Ganthet’s face and in his words and the dialogue here really shines in my opinion. Ganthet is well aware of the failings of the Guardians, himself included, and here he’s far more candid with Kellic than he would be in front of the Green Lanterns. The divisions between the Guardians and the Controllers runs deep and Venditti wonderfully plays up the complex nature of the dynamic between one people who have gone in separate directions. Combined with the actions of the Controllers this part of the issue is really strong stuff – and poor Yekop! The Guardians in are in a dire situation, even Rami who seems to have ditched Tyran’r since the two of them went off searching for Volthoom in Green Lanterns #31.
Jack Herbert really turns in a great effort this issue. There is a Kirby-esque feeling to his work that I greatly appreciate and I think he does a nice job conveying emotion to help underscore Venditti’s dialogue. There is one slight hiccup on the page when John tells the other Earth Lanterns that he’s joining them that did take me out of the story for a minute until I realize that the page layout had confused me regarding the reading order of the panels. It threw Comixology’s guided view mode for a loop as well as it read the panels in the traditional “left to right, top to bottom” order. That aside, Herbert’s pencil work and they rock solid coloring by Jason Wright make this issue wonderful to look at.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #34 is yet another great installment of my favorite DC series. Robert Venditti and Jack Herbert turn in a strong issue which really makes the reader feel like it truly is the “Twilight of the Guardians”. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this one is going. Nine out of ten lanterns.