“Let the Space Smurfs go”
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #35 brings the fight to the Controllers in the third chapter of Robert Venditti’s “Twilight of the Guardians” arc. With Earth’s Green Lanterns deciding to go Four Horsemen on the Controllers this issue is one where the reader needs to buckle in because this one is going to be an action filled ride.
Comic readers tend put little stock in situations where characters seem to face grave peril simply because they are so often killed and returned to life, but there are a couple of moments in this issue where I genuinely felt like Venditti was going to let the axe fall. The pacing of the issue really kept things moving as Venditti positioned the cast where he needs them for the main confrontation. Those two elements resulted in an issue that was highly entertaining despite the fact that it didn’t advance the story a great deal.
Venditti continues to build on the chemistry between the four lead characters and it was great fun to see the four of them sharing significant panel time together. You continue to see the Hal/Kyle and John/Guy pairings as well so there’s ample opportunity for each character to get the spotlight. Hal’s cautiousness at taking on the Controllers without backup seemed a little out of character to me as well as the moment where the Lanterns realize they are pinned down and everyone looks to John clueless about how to proceed. But other than those couple of hiccups everything is pretty spot on. I really enjoyed Venditti’s wrestling analogy to the Ric Flair’s legendary Four Horsemen which also served as the fodder for this issue’s variant cover.
The Controllers really gain the upper hand while the Green Lanterns are challenged by the armed forces protecting their compound. More Guardians perish, including New Guardian Gurion, named after Israel’s former Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion who served as Gil Kane’s inspiration for the design of the Guardians. If nothing more than a nice reference to the architects of the Green Lantern universe it’s sad to see him fall victim to the Controllers’ plan. Kellic makes the Controllers’ mission personal with Ganthet, who Kellic is sure to make witness the deaths of the remaining Guardians. I find the Controllers’ plan a really creative idea by Venditti, using their shared DNA history as a way to simultaneously pare down the number of Guardians while literally giving the Controllers the source material they need to rebuild themselves. Now that the Controllers outnumber the Guardians things are really looking quite grim, and with Kellic’s sights set on the Zamorans next the Controllers are positioning themselves as a major threat if their plan succeeds. Sayd’s life hangs in the balance this issue and whether the Lanterns arrived in time or not is left unanswered for now.
Jack Herbert’s pencils this issue are on point and there are some really great moments brought to life by his hands. There are some particularly effective panels this issue that do a spectacular job supporting Venditti’s script, notably in the scene in which Guy is targeted and John’s reaction a couple of panels later. Herbert has some beautiful action shots as well, especially in a rousing two page splash when the four Lanterns go on the offensive together and one where Kyle launches Hal at the opposing forces. On the other side of the coin I find Herbert’s depiction of Ganthet laughing a little over the top and unnerving in how animated Ganthet appears. But otherwise the work here is really, really good. The fact that Venditti’s script is pretty light this issue gave Herbert a lot of room to work with and he really use the opportunity to present us with some fantastic imagery.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #35 is a short read that is light on narrative but heavy on the fast paced action front. Even though there’s not a lot of plot advancement here it’s a very entertaining and exciting read as the four Green Lanterns race against time to save the Guardians before the Controllers completely wipe them from history. Venditti has set the stage for their inevitable confrontation by raising the stakes in this action packed installment. Eight out of ten lanterns.