In Review: Green Lantern#44

This is a decent filler, to be sure, but filler nonetheless. Readable, but quickly forgettable.

The covers: A very different pair of covers for you to collect this month. The Main cover is by Billy Tan and Tony Avina, featuring an image that is found within this issue: Hal and Trapper are under attack by unseen baddies who are shooting at them. Trapper avoids the weapons the best he can, unloading with some fire of his own, while Hal stands strong behind a shield of emerald energy. There’s a lot going on behind Trapper and it’s hard to make out all the details. The colors aren’t helping. Hal is much easier to see. I would have preferred to see Trapper repositioned. The Green Lantern 75th Anniversary Variant is by comics icon Howard Chaykin. This features the golden age Green Lantern sharing the cover with Hal. I’m a huge fan of Chaykin and if he draws it or writes it, I have to buy it. If I had seen this cover at my local store, it would have been the one I would have purchased. It’s gorgeous. Overall grades: Main B and Variant A+

The story: With Virgo still unconscious, Hal has Darlene stop at the planet Gallun to get him medical attention. Knowing the bounty hunter will double-cross him the first chance he gets, Hal puts a bracelet on Trapper that will blow up if he gets too far from the former Green Lantern or if Hal dies before he does. Parking Darlene next to several dilapidated ships, Hal can’t help but feel that something is wrong with this formerly thriving space sport. He spies a little girl and goes up to her, though after only a few words she bolts off screaming, “Guests! Guests!” Meanwhile, below in the Underland, a disgusting individual wakes up the occupants of its ship and licks his lips, saying, “We loves when we gets guests.” I was glad that writer Robert Vendetti had Hal instantly suspicious; after all, how many times has he walked into this type of situation when he was a member of the corps? I wasn’t surprised by the locals’ reaction to Hal and what they intended him to do — this sort of motivation has been done in a million stories before this one. Where Vendetti makes things interesting is who the antagonists are. I didn’t expect Hal to encounter any of this race so far out in space, but considering what they were doing, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I wasn’t too keen on their Mad Max dialogue. Their threat is quickly eliminated, as it should be, and Hal and company are soon on their way. It seems the purpose of this issue was to put Trapper on a short leash and establish how his interactions with hostiles will play out in future stories. It’s pretty rote storytelling, without much seemingly playing into a larger story arc, but it’s readable. Overall grade: B-

The art: Billy Tan was not the sole artist on this issue and it showed; Martin Coccolo is also providing pencils. The inks are done by Mark Irwin and Coccolo. The amount of detail that I associate with Tan, based on his excellent previous work on Lantern books, was missing on this issue. For example, Trapper is shown from some odd angles and it seems like it was done so that no details were needed for his face. Hal’s face in the fourth panel looks unusually soft. Page 3 has a nice establishment of setting, so I was hoping that only Page 1 would have a mild deviation from the excellence I’ve come to expect from this book. When the occupant of the dwelling is revealed on Page 6 it seemed as though this were being done by a different art team. Things don’t improve on the next two pages. Thankfully, the arrival of the antagonists has the art improving, with many fine lines being put into characters that weren’t there previously. 10 is a super splash showcasing the book’s villains. Hal’s face looks manga inspired on 11 — Why? His head goes from round, on this page, to stretched out on 12. The fine details return when the fighting kicks in and it looks good. The penultimate page returns the odd angles and softer looking characters. This is a real mishmash this month. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The coloring on this book is strong with Tony Avina at the helm. The final panel on Page 2 nicely captures a cinematic lighting effect of the opening door revealing a overly bright world. There are some really nice cloud colors on 3. Page 13 begins the fight, and that means that Hal’s gauntlet will be used to create constructs. The first one, on 13, is gorgeous in green, with some outstanding lettering for a sound effect. I loved how the green light lessened a tad when Hal revealed himself to his opponent. For the remainder of the fight, all of Hal’s constructs are gorgeous as they glisten in green. Avina makes the sounds really pop out on these pages by using yellow or dark orange, which play spectacularly against the greens. This is some good work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dandy Dave Sharpe has created scene settings, dialogue, story title, credits, screams, yells, sounds, a transmission, character identification, some fantastic sounds, and next issue’s tease. The sounds are stellar on this issue, being everything that I want to see and hear when a super hero fights. Overall grade: A+

The final line: This came off as a filler issue, seeing how the Black Hand storyline resumes next month. This is a decent filler, to be sure, but filler nonetheless. Readable, but quickly forgettable. 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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