In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #38

Kneel before the awesomeness that is "Zod's Will"!

The covers: Two strong covers for a strong villain in this saga. The Regular cover is by Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Tomeu Morey. This is a terrific frontpiece that features Zod in the background, sitting upon a throne, with his Kryptonian eyes raging in red. Before him Hal Jordan is being raised by a crowd of locals. They’re ripping and tearing into the lantern’s costume and skin in absolute rage. The natives look terrific and Hal doesn’t look as if he’ll survive such punishment. I love this. The Variant cover by Tyler Kirkham is also a solid one. Hal is using his ring to blast open a wall so that he can lead himself and broken Kyle Rayner, whom he’s holding up with one arm, to safety. Love the energy on this and the look of strength in Hal and the beaten form of Kyle. The colors are also good, with the intensity of Hal’s ring generating white light rather than emerald. Overall grades: Both A 

The story: The second installment of “Zod’s Will” opens with the villain looking down upon natives constructing a crystal Kryptonian dwelling for him and his family. “The House of Zod has much work ahead.” The tale then moves to a round crystalline cell that contains Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner, wearing their civilian clothes. Both are bruised and cut, though Kyle is worse off with bandages covering his arms and a large one, stained with blood, wound about his chest. Hal stands to inspect their prison and has a realization. “Kyle, show me your right hand.” Painfully, the younger lantern raises his hand. Hal looks at his right hand, noticing he’s missing the same item: his lantern ring. “It’s not us that Zod is after.” In a small stasis chamber, the rings hover about before the Eradicator who sends a transmission to its master. “Analysis of the Green Lantern weapons is 47 percent complete, General Zod. Automated attempts to transmit distress signals continue. I have all communication and location capabilities placed in a closed loop.” Zod and his family are at a long table eating dinner. The villain tells the Eradicator to continue its analysis. I really like the set up to this issue from writer Robert Venditti. The setting is established, the heroes’ peril is shown, and the villains’ are shown indifferent to all, eating a meal as masters of those around them. The tension is raised when one of the lanterns is summoned to eat with the Kryptonians. Something brilliant occurs on Page 8 that had me cheering, and I don’t often audibly react to comics — this part of the story had me doing so. If this were a film, the audience would go insane. A mistake in judgement rears its ugly head on 12 and 13 with one character making a sacrifice. I love that Venditti had this character do so, leading to a great reveal on the final page. Venditti is doing such a solid job with these characters, it’s enough to make long time readers forget Geoff What’s-his-name’s tenure. Seriously. This is that good. Overall grade: A+ 

The art: This book has some incredible visuals from Ethan Van Sciver. He’s illustrated Lantern adventures for years, but this story doesn’t have the volume of characters as other issues of have. This allows him to really take his time with the small cast and make it fly. The opening page is a cinematic pull in to the natives building up the House of Zod. I love how the the third panel shows a distant Zod high in the sky, closing in on him in the final panel, showing disdain at the progress below. The reveal of Hal and Kyle on Page 2 is fantastic. Their bodies are in terrible positions on the floor, which is exactly what they should look like after tangling with the “evil version of the Super-Family.” The detail in the crystals that surround the heroes is spectacular, making this environment seem absolutely real. I’m not a fan of the blur created in the sixth panel on Page 3, but I’ve recently learned that’s often done by colorists, so that might be the case here. The structure that holds the lanterns’ rings is really neat — I’ve not seen something like this before in a comic book, and at my age that’s saying something. The demeanor of each character on Pages 5 – 7 is terrific, punctuating their speech perfectly. As stated in the story review, I cheered for page 8 which is a brilliant moment flawlessly rendered by the artist. I like that the first panel on 12 stretches across to 13, giving a skewed view of the action occurring, which matches the surprise immensely. The final panel on 14 is fantastic. The full-paged splash on 16 is powerful and matched by the power of the closing splash on 20. They both look great. I must also mention the final panel on 18 that has Van Sciver perfectly capture a character’s attitude. The visuals on this book are terrific. Overall grade: A+ 

The colors: Assisting the visuals immensely are the colors by Jason Wright. The blues of the new building on Page 1 starkly stand apart from the greens of Jekuul. The blues on 2 and 3 are beautiful. Every possible shade of this color appears on these pages and elsewhere in this issue. The browns of one character’s jacket really stand out against the blues, as do the blacks of the villainous family’s togs. The greens on 8 are stunning, both in the flight of an object and the sound effect that accentuates it. The heroes encounter a chant on Page 11 that is outlined with a specific color that makes it appropriately threatening. Wright really shows his skills on 16 and 20 which are dominated by every possible shade of green. The art is incredible on these pages, but the colors make them gorgeous. Wright is amazing. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe contributes scene settings, dialogue, Kyle’s weak dialogue, the Eradicator’s unique speech, sounds, ring speech, a chant, the story’s title, and the book’s credits. I love the Eradicator’s speech which visually confirms for the reader that he’s a machine. Kyle’s dialogue has every letter unaligned to the next, giving him a stumbling tone which is to be expected from last issue’s smackdown. But it’s the sound on Page 8 which readers will remember. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Kneel before the awesomeness that is “Zod’s Will”! Hal Jordan hasn’t been this cocky in a long time and it’s incredible to rediscover this aspect of his character. The visuals are to die for. If you love comics books, you’ll love this. Seriously. You’re going to love this. Overall grade: A+

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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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