“I always hit what I’m aiming for”
The “Twilight of the Guardians” ends with this week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #36 and the situation is looking grim for the last six remaining Oans. With his end nearing, Ganthet makes some keen observations about his life just as the Green Lanterns arrive to save the day. What happens next sets a “what’s old is new again” status quo for the direction of the Corps and reintroduces another DC franchise.
A year or so ago I remember appearing on an episode the Lanterncast podcast for a Green Lantern “state of the union” episode. One criticism that was brought up was the nature of disappearing plot threads. Specifically mentioned was the status of the Templar Guardians and how they just seemed to have been forgotten. One of the things I’ve appreciated about Robert Venditti’s run has been how he not only writes entertaining stories but he also plays the long game when it comes to the ongoing lore of the Green Lantern universe. This issue Venditti not only answers the question about where the Templar Guardians have been, but more importantly about where they are going.
As much as this series is about Hal, John, Guy and Kyle this arc in particular seemed to me to be more about Ganthet. Throughout “Twilight of the Guardians” we’ve seen a Guardian who is suddenly realizing the regret of life decisions both made and not as his future becomes ever increasingly in doubt. Ganthet has always held a special place among the Guardians and Venditti had me believing that perhaps the universe really was going to go on without him. The Guardians have undergone a considerable amount of deconstruction near the end of the Geoff Johns run to the point of irredeemability, but here Venditti restores the Guardians back to their rightful place. Ganthet and Sayd are all that remains of the Guardians of old, but now joined with the new they have a new destiny to forge.
In the past we’ve seen various characters get there individual moments and we’ve read stories that put emphasis on one or two of the main cast at a time. This arc is different as Venditti showcases all “Four Corpsmen” working together as a cohesive unit, something I don’t think we’ve really seen since the “War of the Green Lanterns” arc. It’s really great to see them working in tandem, together yet each functioning with their own unique voice. Venditti reminds us more than once about what makes these four Green Lanterns very special, and while the battle with Kellic’s Controllers may seem to be over rather quickly I really enjoyed the action and how each Lantern was showcased. I’m sure there are some readers who won’t get Venditti’s wrestling analogy and those moments are going to be lost on them, but there’s some fun in seeing the Green Lanterns sharing something they all seem to have in common. I don’t think I picture John, Hal or Kyle being big fans of professional wrestling, but as Robert Venditti said on social media Guy Gardner totally grew up with a Four Horsemen poster on his wall. The Ric Flair love continues when the four debate over which one of them would be the legendary figure in their version of the foursome. (For the record I don’t hesitate to say that it’d be Hal!)
The Controllers don’t end up being quite the threat that they were made out to be, but this story didn’t intend to return them to continuity just to shuffle them off to Sciencecells on Mogo. This is round one of a longer fight and where Venditti leaves them opens up a lot of potential, especially given the reveal at the end where we see the new threat that the Controllers have set to unleash on the universe. I’m genuinely excited to see what plans are in store knowing that we have a writer who on this series that doesn’t just put dust off old toys unless he has a plan to play with them.
Jack Herbert is joined by Jose Luis on pencils and their art styles work really well together. I did feel like there was a struggle to meet the deadline for this issue, in part due to the second artist and partially due to a number of panels with minimal background detail. While the minimalist approach does force the reader to focus on the characters I know my personal preference is to see those details as they help me immerse myself better. The art as it’s presented looks great, with some nice visual storytelling going on, but I think the quality of this issue would have been elevated if there was just a bit more meat on these bones.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #36 seems to do very little but actually accomplishes a lot by returning three elements back into Lantern lore. With the Controllers and their new toys back for the long haul and the Guardians establishing a new status quo for themselves there’s a lot going on in this issue. Despite all the work to re-establish these elements there are some entertaining and action filled moments as well. Visually the book looks great if not a little understated. Eight out of ten lanterns.