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“Never the end”

In 2013 Robert Venditti took on the unenviable task of picking up the reigns of the Green Lantern universe following the most successful run the franchise has had in its storied history.  Now some eighty plus issues later it all comes down to this as the Green Lantern Corps faces an opposing force that challenges them on both a physical and ideological war front.  Today’s Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 brings the war to an end in a fashion that keeps the spotlight tightly focused on clashing beliefs and personal legacies.  When you’ve finished reading the issue we’d highly recommend listening to our exclusive interview with Robert Venditti on the Podcast of Oa!

If one goes back on looks at the entirety of Venditti’s run you can see some themes which come up time and again, like family dynamics.  Between Soranik and Sinestro, Hal and Martin Jordan, Guy and Roland Gardner, and Tomar-Re and Tomar-Tu.  In this final chapter Venditti underscores the conflict with how we choose to deal with tragedy and great personal loss using those relationship that have been looked at throughout his run.  At the heart of the battle taking place in Sector 0001 are Hal Jordan and Tomar-Tu, two men who have so very much in common yet find themselves at each other’s throats.  At the height of the conflict Venditti uses the foundation he’s built up to deliver a powerful and emotional punch as Hal confronts Tomar-Tu with the harsh realities that lie under the surface of the Xudarian’s decision to embrace the Darkstar way.

High above John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner face their own ethical battle as they struggle against the overwhelming odds while remaining resolute in their stance that no Darkstars will die at their hands.  With the numbers against them the Green Lanterns struggle to keep Arkillo and Zod in check and it’s only John’s steadfast leadership that keeps the battle from becoming a bloodbath.  While every member of the Four Corpsman has a moment, this issue really shines the spotlight on Hal and John and how this series has shown them both evolve as characters.  As the cover implies there certainly is tragedy in this issue as someone does perish, but their loss is handled with a suitable amount of grace and dignity for all involved.

I’m glad that DC have us extra pages with this issue because it gives the creative team a chance to wrap the story up in a nice bow while setting the stage for the future.  There’s a really great scene on Mogo as Venditti shows that, from Green Lantern #21 to now, the Corps has endured their hardships but have emerged stronger than ever before.  While their numbers are fewer they’ve been forged into a strong force that stands ready to grow and flourish.  I found the last two pages really gratifying on a personal level as one of the biggest open plots in Venditti’s run is addressed in a way that feels natural.

I don’t think I could have enjoyed this issue as much as I did if anyone other than Rafa Sandoval or Ethan Van Sciver had drawn it.  Sandoval has been a breath of fresh air throughout this series and Venditti’s script is brought to life spectacularly.  The battle in space feels suitably epic in scale, yet when the scene shifts to the planet’s surface you can sense the ferocity of the fight between Hal and Tomar-Tu.  Through it all the characters’ emotions shine through, giving Venditti’s great dialog a suitable canvas.  The final panel is one of my favorites, containing no dialog and using nothing more than Sandoval’s art to convey all the emotion that words can’t express.

I’m really going to miss this series but what a great way to end Robert Venditti’s run.  Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 is a wonderful conclusion to the Venditti era and a fantastic end to the Darkstars saga.  From script to art this one hits every beat perfectly.  Ten out of ten lanterns.

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