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Green Lantern #8 is a transitional issue that pauses the recent events of the series in favor of pivoting to a side quest. Jeremy Adams also drops some more clues about the larger story unfolding in the series, and Kyle Rayner shows up in the issue’s backup feature that lets us know a little bit of what’s happening outside the quarantine of Sector 2814. DC Comics smartly brings Ron Marz in to ground the Kyle portion of the book, which I am sure will resonate with his fan base.

Like last issue this one starts with a bit of a time jump, however this time it’s Razer who’s filling Hal in on how the events that brought him to Earth. Similar to events that unfolded on New Korugar, Odym falls victim to the exploding central battery problem, and Razer hints that a similar event has taken place on Ysmault. Thinking about it now, you have to wonder if somehow the explosion of the Oan central battery that exploded at the beginning of the Throne run is connected to these, as clearly there is a concerted effort to destroy the ability to harness the emotional spectrum. If the theory that the United Planets is behind it all, then John Stewart’s creation of the new battery on Oa has at least slightly disrupted their plans. Many Blue Lanterns die in the explosion and arrival of space pirates on Odym, however Razer manages to get through it all and reunite with Hal.

 

Adams skirts around the Aya issue a bit here, implying that perhaps Odym was a stop on his way to find her and was a step he took to deal with his sense of loss. While we can’t necessarily take the events of the Animated Series literally, certainly Adams is likely to use the parts that make sense here. Saint Walker’s fate is not revealed here, but I do surely hope that he was not a casualty of either calamity that has decimated the Blue Lanterns. Razer’s challenging of Hal’s ability to leave Earth leads to more attempts from Hal to do just that, all of which end in failure.

The Hal and Carol subplot move along a bit in this issue when Carol arrives to make sure Hal is okay after his fight with Sinestro in issues 5 and 6. Carol is upset with Hal for not checking in with her and you can clearly see that her feelings for Hal are still there, and there’s that disappointment in realizing that while Hal may lover her he from Carol’s perspective the lack of consideration is painful. Certainly from Hal’s point of view he’s not in a relationship with Carol, and she’s engaged with another man, so why should he can contacted her? He’s grieving over the loss of Kilowog and the arrival of Razer is another thing that distracts him from taking that extra step with her. I love how Adams has created a situation that underscores the issues underlying their complex relationship without making either of them wrong here.

Adams shows us why Carol and Hal’s relationship is so challenging

Carol’s right in feeling hurt and not important to Hal and she’s too emotionally conflicted to be able to vocalize how she feels. Hal, on the other hand, is in his own pain and trying to balance his own needs with the greater good, blinding him to what matters most to him. Just like Carol, Hal is too emotionally conflicted right now to do the right thing – and neither of them is able to open up and start a real conversation. Adams has wonderfully captured the dynamic between these two and it just seems like there’s no way for them to move forward without one of them being brave enough to be vulnerable with the other. Jeremy is able to say a lot without really saying anything here and I think a lot of writers in this case would have gone for a heavier approach when this is perfectly weighted.

Of all the meta on Earth that Hal would turn to, I didn’t have Madame Xanadu on my bingo card. That said, what a great choice! She plays a great role here and provides some key information as to what’s going on. Something that almost escaped my sight was when Razer makes a comment that he thought that Xanadu has power and she responds, “so do you”. It’s an easy line to read passed, but that hints to me that Razer has a greater role to play in the story beyond simple fan service. However, it’s when the United Planets Lanterns come knocking that this story really starts rocking.

Among the things we learn during the ensuing fracas are a few things, mainly though that the UP Lanterns can channel at least three of the emotional spectrum as we see them use Green, Yellow and Blue as they try to apprehend Hal and Razer. Also of note is the fact that they don’t call themselves Green Lanterns at all, but United Planets Lanterns, complete with a new type of uniform. The UP Lanterns also mention that the fact that Earth has so many metas is reason when Earth is sealed off from the rest of the universe right now, well beyond just the quarantining of Sector 2814. In my review of the last issue I speculated that everything that took place on New Korugar was at least partly to get both Sinestro and Hal off the playing field so that the UP can enact their plans without two of the biggest obstacles in their way. This to me cements that notion and with some of the playing cards now on the table, you can bet that this is going to light an emerald fire under Hal to confront Thaaros and his cohorts. The issue ends with Hal making his way back to Spain, where he felt that power surge during his confrontation with Sinestro. Hal is about to confront “the green” and learn what powers his ring, what’s preventing him from leaving Earth, or both.

The United Planets Lanterns capture Razer, but at the risk of exposing too much.

Amancay Nahuelpan fills in for Xermonico this issue and again completely nails the art. Particularly effective is the panel where Carol drives off and you can see the pain on her face as the tears have begun to fall and Hal takes to the skies again. I also enjoyed the humor, intentional or not, of Hal and Razer floating above the street outside of Madame Xanadu’s while there’s a light across the street depicting a green man walking and a visible “No Standing” sign. I also don’t know if some of the choices were intentional or not, but the tarot cards that Nahuelpan drew were interesting to say the least.

It’s no secret I’m not a Kyle Rayner fan, and even less of a Ron Marz fan, but I felt like the backup this issue was a great example of the kinds of backups I want to see. We’re seeing the story from another angle, and at least for now one not tied directly to the events of the main issue. With all the change in the universe Kyle is taking a moment to connect with himself and process his emotional state. He’s recreated Radu’s and Alex DeWitt to provide some additional comfort, showing that while he’s moved on from the events that shaped his early days as a Green Lantern, he’s still deeply rooted in those events. He’s not joined by Soranik Natu, Jade, Donna Troy, or (yuck) Carol, but by Alex.

Kyle takes a moment to reflect on what’s going on, and his place in the universe.

The self reflection ends when Jo Mullein shows up and she’s onto something that could point to the mystery of what the United Planets is really up to. The immediate things I take away from this are that the United Planets Lanterns are perhaps being kept secret from the Green Lanterns given that neither Jo nor Kyle are wearing those uniforms and surely if they were able to channel other emotions from the spectrum it would be a talking point here. In the coming issues we’ll be catching up with Jessica Cruz and Guy Gardner, so I think that these backup are going to continue to provide more to the overall Green Lantern story.

Green Lantern #8 might have seemed like a bit of a filler issue, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jeremy Adams provides some more clues to the larger story being created without giving away too much and the action and narrative work is supported by some great character moments. Kyle Rayner fans will be really happy to see Ron Marz’s name in the credits as he provides a typically grounded story for his creation. Nine out of ten lanterns.

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