In Review: Green Lantern #45

Mixed visuals take away from the fun story, but Lantern fans will still enjoy this.

The covers: The Main cover by Billy Tan and Alex Sinclair has a gigantic Black Hand reaching for Hal, whose shoulder has already begun it’s rocky transformation, while ghostly images of aliens erupt from the ground, looking to grab the former Green Lantern’s legs. This is not Tan’s best work: Black Hand looks off, the details on his death touch of a hand look too plain, and there’s not much detail in Hal. The coloring is fine by Sinclair, but I’m disappointed in this cover by Tan who’s normally off the chart insane with his covers. The Monsters Variant, in honor of Halloween, is by Green Lantern great Neal Adams, with colors by Sinclair. This features a monstrous Hal Jordan Green Lantern dragging the limp body of, who appears to be, John Stewart across the ground. A trail of blood marks where the body has been, starting with a bloody smear of the Lanterns’ logo on the white wall. Terrific image for Monster Month, and when it’s done by Adams why wouldn’t it be? Overall grades: Main C+ and Monster Variant A  

The story: In Space Sector 3052, Darlene, the name of Hal’s A.I. ship, sits in a field of flowers with Trapper and Virgo bored at the helm. Virgo says, “Whatever Hal is up to right now…there had better be a good reason for leaving us out of it.” This dialogue continues on the second page, which is part of a double-page splash with 3. These two pages feature Hal grappling with Black Hand, who’s giving a wicked smile as his deadly hands are grabbing Hal’s constructs. Page 4 goes to “Earlier” back aboard Darlene where Hal is having her plot out the “Source Wall Effect.” Realizing where next this “effect” will take place, Hal leaves his two companions aboard while he zips off, stating, “I thought I was done with being in charge. That was supposed to be the upside.” He doesn’t tell the pair why he’s leaving, so the ship parks on the nearest uninhabited world. The rest of “Idle Hand” by Robert Venditti follows Hal’s confrontation with Black Hand. As shown in previous issues, the villain no longer can reanimate the dead; instead his touch turns living beings into stone. This has left him befuddled and a little more unstable than usual. Hal’s arrival on the scene completely justifies his use of a new costume, and I was pleased to see this. Naturally, the reveal occurs, on Page 11, and then the fighting begins. The battle is good and the pair’s dialogue during the throw down is also good. The story’s not over and I’m looking forward to what Hal, via Venditti, does next. Overall grade: A

The art: I am a big fan of Billy Tan, but this issue didn’t look as though it was drawn by him. Mark Irwin is a good inker, and I’ve never had any complaints with his work either, but I just don’t know what happened with this issue’s visuals. I’m used to crazy details in Tan’s work, but the second panel doesn’t have much in the way of foliage. My fears were momentarily alleviated by the excellent work on the double-paged spread of 2 and 3, which has both characters looking sensational as they struggle. I grew concerned with the work on Page 5; Hal’s face is really being defined by the coloring more so than the line work. Take a look at Hal on Page 6. What happened? Tan is incredibly consistent with his characters, but on this page it looks like three different people are supposed to be the title character. This is so unlike Tan and Irwin. Things improve tremendously on Page 7, with Hal being the same individual in every panel. Black Hand looks super on 8, with his long face being a cool change on him; it gives him a very sympathetic feel, and had me suckered into thinking he’s a changed man. Hal’s appearance before the villain is great — it’s cinematic, and when he pulls back his hood on 10, the voice of the character in the fourth panel was like a dark whisper. This is the stuff of fans’ dreams. The illustrations for the fight start well, but by Page 15 they start to degrade: Black Hand, panel two, the construct on 16, Hal on 16, Black Hand at the bottom of 17. When the close-ups occur on 18, things improve, and the issue closes out fine. I was really taken out of the reading experience as the quality fluctuated. This was so unlike both of these creators. Overall grade: B-

The colors: Alex Sinclair is the colorist of this book and his contributions are solid. He creates depth with his colors in characters’ faces and in the settings. Both can be found on Page 1 in the second and fourth panel. In fact, before Hal leaves Darlene, the colors contribute the most to shaping the features in Hal’s face. There’s also a very nice green lighting effect done on the three leads while they look at the computer screen that Darlene has produced. Hal’s hair also has some good highlights in it so that it doesn’t appear to be blanket colored brown. Grays and whites are used very well for Black Hand’s face and the world he’s changed. I do have one question involving coloring on Page 20: Hal creates a ball and chain construct; the chain is green, as his constructs are, but the ball is colored solid, as if it were actual stone. Is Hal able to create physical objects with his glove? I was surprised that it wasn’t colored in the transparent glowing green of all of his constructs. The two pages where this object was shown had me scratching my head. Overall grade: B+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, opening title and credits, Darlene dialogue, sounds, yells, and next issue’s tease are all crafted by Dave Sharpe. All look great, with his bold lettering used for certain characters’ yells continuing to impress. Overall grade: A

The final line: Mixed visuals take away from the fun story, but Lantern fans will still enjoy this. 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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