“Welcome to the eye of the storm!”
This week’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #49 serves and the penultimate chapter in Robert Venditti’s five-year tenure with the Green Lantern franchise, and boy what a way to set things up for the big finale! The battle between the Darkstars and the Green Lantern Corps rages on full boar as John Stewart executes his master plan to help his comrades meet the challenge unfolding around them. Venditti’s final arc challenges the core values of our protagonists with a very personal conflict for the Four Corpsmen while making the reader think about the complex subject of capital punishment.
Robert’s script does a nice job of balancing the greater battle at hand with personal conflicts, primarily in this case the struggle between Hal Jordan and Tomar-Tu. I think it’s a smart move as it would be easy to lose sight of the interpersonal drama with the scale of the cosmic conflict that takes place on Mogo and in Sector 0001. As Hal and Hector Hammond deal with the Controllers mind link John is forced to watch the events unfold around him as he waits to pull the trigger on his big gambit. I did feel that Hector Hammond’s role in this was somewhat underwhelming considering the big buildup we get as Hal warns Hector how difficult the task is going to be. It ends up being a bit too easy in my opinion for Hector to accomplish his task and it deflated some of the dramatic tension for me.
Once the two prong attack on the Darkstars is complete the tide of the battle swiftly changes as Tomar-Tu falls easy prey to John’s superior tactics. With the battle raging above them Venditti returns to the battle of wills between Hal and Tomar-Tu, underscoring the larger conflict with the interpersonal one. Their struggle is no longer a case of restraint and regret but one which now completely eclipses any friendship that the two ever had. It’s a tragedy given the rich history behind their camaraderie, but in putting Hal and Tomar-Tu on opposite sides of the fence it makes this arc have some emotional weight to it.
As good as Venditti’s script is, the art by Rafa Sandoval and Sergio Davila is just plain breathtaking. The battle comes alive in their panels and there are some great decisions that the art team makes to help add drama to the issue. One great piece of work is where Hal levels Tomar-Tu, knocking him into the ground where his helmet cracks open to reveal one eye. It only lasts for a couple of panels, but in those you can see all of the emotion you need just from that one visible eye. It’s truly great stuff!
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #49 turns the fight between the Darkstars and the Green Lanterns up to eleven with a great script elevated even more by some fantastic art. It’s really a shame that there’s only one more issue left of this series as it has been one of DC’s most consistently entertaining series. This is one that you shouldn’t miss. Nine out of ten lanterns.