Green Lantern #52

This series closes out with Hal definitely a changed man.

The covers: The Regular cover is of Green Lantern Hal Jordon roaring with power as his power gauntlet erupts with emerald energy. This piece by artist Howard Porter and colorist Hi-Fi is a winner. Hal looks incredibly buffed up, the force coming out of his gauntlet strong, and the coloring makes this a stand out cover. This looks great. The Variant cover is by interior artist Billy Tan and colorist Alex Sinclair. I’m a die-hard Porter and Hi-Fi fan, but I couldn’t avoid picking up this cover because of the awesome image of Sinestro. This frontpiece acknowledges Ivan Nunes, for it’s modeled off the first issue in this series, though Sinestro is now wearing his traditional yellow togs than the green ones. Additionally, there are yellow lantern logos emanating from his ring, rather than the green icons. This is sensational and I had to buy it. Yes, DC got me: I bought both covers. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Hal is confronting the Agents of Gray, who have taken captive Hunter and Virgo. They want to capture Hal to make themselves look like heroes to the galaxy to become the new intergalactic law force. Before their motives are known, there’s a fight that shows off each character’s abilities. Things go south when Marshal Rankk, the leader of the group, fires at Hal with his big gun. The former lantern easily evades the shot and uses his power gauntlet to create an oversized fist construct to smash them. Unfortunately, the group has phasing suits, allowing them to teleport in and out of the room. Robert Venditti is showcasing a new group of villains to plague Hal and his friends and set them up for future appearances. The line up of this team includes Two-Pounder, Speechmaker, Dakwa, and Dome. This is a run of the mill super hero comic book story, with the newbies initially taking out the title character, only to have him rally back and take them out, or have the next best thing occur. If you’ve read a comic book in the past five years, this will seem like overly familiar territory. It’s not bad by any means, but it doesn’t do anything that hasn’t been done before. The Agents of Gray have the traditional distribution of powers, though with one very cool exception: Speechmaker. This character’s abilities are very different from anything I’ve seen before and what he (Is this character male? I admit to going default on this individual.) is shown to do is very, very interesting. Additionally, Hal goes pure energy again. Why he does so and how he is able to come back from this state is also very interesting. The final three pages have Hal finally moving in the direction where fans want to see him. It’s very logical and ends on almost a godly level. These moments only count for only about seven pages of this issue, with the rest being an okay introduction for a group of antagonists. Overall grade: C+

The art: The pencils are done by Billy Tan, with the inks by Mark Irwin and Livesay. Hal looks great and he also looks good when he’s in action. When Hal goes into pure energy mode he’s very impressive; it’s a very different look for Hal and I like that the artists make him seen as though he’s a different character while in this state, becoming absolutely emotionless. Very cool. The Agents of Gray obviously are a moment for the illustrators to cut loose in their designs and have some fun, and they do. Rankk has got a swashbuckler flavor to him due to his beard and ponytail. When he smiles he’s every inch the rogue. Two-Pounder is the monstrous heavy hitter that punches things. He’s got a generic dinosaur humanoid look to him and he has the most memorable action scenes with Hal, with some excellent additions to his wrists to make him a really heavy hitter. Dakwa is a slim goggle wearing shooter who’s dressed in slick cosmic wear. Not enough of him is shown, but when he’s in action it’s just enough for me to want to see more of him. Dome is the helmet wearing intelligence of the group. As with Dakwa, there’s not enough of him, though he has a key visual scene late in the book. Speechmaker is absolutely alien. One of the joys of reading a Lantern book are the aliens encountered, and this character is the most unusual in quite a while: he looks like a seven foot tall amphibian, though there’s a computer screen in the back of his head which demonstrates his abilities. I expect this type of character in British comic books, like 2000 A.D., but he fits in fantastically here and there needs to be more opportunities for this oddball villain to appear. He is utterly fascinating, comedic, and disturbing. Good design work, good action, and the Hal scenes are good. Much to like visually in this issue. Overall grade: A 

The colors: Since Hal is in action for most of this book, greens dominate throughout. When something is constructed from his glove, there’s a slick transparency in the colors created by Alex Sinclair to let readers know Hal’s creations are made of light. The same effect is used when Hal goes into energy mode. There are also wonderful blues for Rankk, the deep pinks for Hunter’s flesh, and some terrific yellows for energy blasts and explosions. My favorite work by Sinclair comes in the first two panels on Page 16: that’s some really outstanding coloring on Hal’s face and hair, with a slick use of greens for what Hal is making. They’re only two panels, but they stand out. Overall grade: A

The letters: Go-to Green Lantern letterer Dave Sharpe provides dialogue, opening narration, title, credits, sounds, yells, character identification, and the tease for the new series that begins next month. Sharpe puts so much into every panel without stepping on the visuals: sounds go behind characters, are outlines, or enhance explosive moments. Praise should also be given to his yells, which are the best in all of comics. Take a look at Page 3’s final panel: that’s a textbook Sharpe yell, with the text in that elongated font that goes beyond the border of the dialogue balloon. It’s always impressive, if it’s a few words or only one. Sharpe can do no wrong. Overall grade: A

The final line: Not much new for long time readers, but a decent debut for a new group of villains. This series of Green Lantern closes out with Hal definitely a changed man. Overall grade: B+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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