“We get to choose what kind of people we’ll be”
Robert Venditti kicks off the final saga in his tenure writing Green Lantern for DC Comics with the first salvo in his three arc swan song. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42 marks the return of the Darkstars to DC continuity with part one of “Darkstars Rising”, this time as a counterpoint to the Green Lantern Corps. Venditti not only pulls from Green Lantern’s rich history, but he also pulls together plot points from his own run to create the next exciting chapter for the series.
We saw the Controllers return a few months ago when they began using the Guardians to restore their numbers. By the end of issue thirty-six readers knew that only were the Controllers back, so were their army. This issue shows what they’ve been up to for the past decade, with row upon row of Darkstar mantles waiting for deployment. Echoing the Guardians misstep with the Manhunters, Kellic discovered their control over the new Darkstar armor is fleeting as one of the suits takes off in search of someone to wear it. While moments earlier the Controllers thought they had control over the mantles it appears their best laid plans may have faltered.
Running concurrent to this plot is a return visit to Tomar-Tu in the Sciencells. The son of Tomar-Re killed Romat-Ru and has been serving time since last summer’s twenty-fifth issue and now months later we find that he’s done some soul-searching. Venditti uses the innocence of young Somar-Le to great effect as she questions how Tomar-Tu could have killed Romat-Ru. This leads to a great conversation between Tomar-Tu and Hal Jordan where Venditti uses the two to talk about the complex issue of where you draw the line when it comes to justice. It’s a timely topic to be sure and I like that Venditti doesn’t hit the reader over the head with a singular perspective on what is a complex and thought-provoking issue. Between Tomar-Tu and Hector Hammond’s statements back in issue thirty-one Hal could be questioning his own beliefs. Venditti also uses this scene to great effect in terms of developing Hal more as we see him show some real depth in his comments to the impressionable Somar-Le.
By the end of the issue these two plots come together with Tomar-Tu becoming the first of the new Darkstar army. Venditti has said in interviews that the Darkstars will be equipped to go toe to toe with the Corps which has me really excited for what’s to come. This sprawling story is going to be about an ethical battle as much as a physical one which is very reminiscent of the Sinestro Corps War. Issue forty-two hits all the right beats in that regard and to be honest I don’t think I’ve had this much anticipation for a Green Lantern story in some time. This is a brilliant first chapter to a story which has all the makings to be Venditti’s best story since he took over the Green Lantern universe nearly five years ago.
Punctuating the story perfectly is Ethan Van Sciver’s stunning visuals which help to elevate this first chapter. Van Sciver’s illustrations are on point on every page and his style and attention to detail makes every book he works on look important. I appreciated the character work in the Sciencell scenes where you see the innocence in Somar-Le’s face, the conviction in Tomar-Tu’s and the surprise in Hal’s as he realizes his friend and he are no longer on the same page. Along with colorist Jason Wright the art team takes an already excellent script and makes it something more.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42 builds perfectly on both Green Lantern’s recent past as well as its storied history. Not only is the book beautiful thanks to Ethan Van Sciver and Jason Wright’s fantastic visuals, Robert Venditti is really on his A game as well. This one is a fun and exciting read that is a real page turner and highly entertaining from cover to cover. Ten out of ten lanterns.