In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #12

Larfleeze is successfully reintegrated into the DC Universe as a threat. Wow!

The covers: A pair to add to your collection so it can rival that of Agent Orange himself! The Regular cover is by Ethan Van Sciver and Jason Wright and there’s a whole lot going on in this frontpiece. A ginormous Larfleeze, looking rather goat-like, holds the bottle that contains the miniaturized city from Xudar. Green Lanterns John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Hal Jordan are joined by White Lantern Kyle Rayner in trying to use their rings’ constructs to drag the bottle from the baddie, but he’s not having any of it. The artwork is amazing, with Larfleeze looking demonic. The coloring is incredibly bright, with the antagonist’s oranges overwhelming the smaller lanterns, which is exactly how it should be. This is a strong cover, however I purchased the Variant cover by Kevin Nowlan. This shows Larfleeze sitting on a chunk of rock that’s floating in space. He’s grinning at the reader with one hand atop his power battery. He’s not the monster he is on the Regular cover, but he’s certainly evil looking. I love the coloring on this as well. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: This is the final chapter of the Bottled Light storyline, titled “Orange Crush.” Writer Robert Venditti pulls Larfleeze away from his comedy capers and back as a serious threat to the lanterns. The first page has Agent Orange releasing the power of his dead constructs from his power battery to fight the combined forces of the Green Lantern Corps and the Sinestro Corps. Both groups unleash their fury against the doomed orange souls who want to kill them and add them to Larfleeze’s army. Making things difficult is the heroes’ need to protect Tomar-Tu who is using his ring to protect his miniaturized city which was broken from its bottle last issue and is vulnerable to any attack. And where is Hal Jordan? Now that’s he’s regained his strength and is no longer composed of living green energy, he and Kyle Rayner, Ganthet, and Sayd are speeding through transluminal space to assist them. The action is great in this issue and there seems to be no way that the green and yellow can beat the orange. However, they do find a way and it’s fantastic. Venditti has come up with the perfect way to defeat Larfleeze and it’s just awesome. I really enjoyed the wails of Larfleeze and his dialogue with Brainiac. Speaking of this robotic villain, something happens to him at the end of this story that had my jaw drop. What happens creates several intriguing situations for his future in this series, or, say, in a certain Man of Steel’s titles. I am on fire to see where Brainiac appears next and what he will be capable of. With all this action, Venditti still has the time to put in a very emotional moment for one lantern and I’m grateful that he did so because it brought great heart to this conclusion. The final page forges a new path for this series and my interest is piqued! My only nit is that Kyle does has only one action; otherwise he’s useless for this story and has no reason to tag along. All he did was fill in space. I should also mention that a character from the New 52 line of books has a cameo and I will gladly contribute to any fund that has this character being stepped on. Overall grade: A

The art: This is stunning art from Ethan Van Sciver. This artist always has an insane level of detail in his work, but I’m continual wowed by how he impresses. If you think Larfleeze is nothing more than a joke, the first page will convince you otherwise: he’s an orange demon from Hell unleashing orange flame that forms into monstrous creatures to fight the heroes. Behind him is the frightening Gil Kane designed robotic Brainiac of the 1980s. When the orange minions reach the lanterns, Sciver has set it up in tilted panels that overlap each other; this makes the conflict seem chaotic and I loved it. Sciver not only knows how to draw horrors and lay out a page, but he is also extremely talented in creating emotions on his characters, both subtle and strong. The look Guy gives in the final panel on Page 3 is outstanding, the ferocity of both teams on the double paged spread of 4 and 5 is poster worthy, and the smile Hal has at the bottom of 6 will set fans’ hearts a flutter for what’s to come. Larfleeze is the scene stealer of the book, as his emotions rage out of control, matching his frenzied cries. I also have to give a special shout out to Sciver for including a creature that looks as though it hails from “The Mountains of Madness” on Page 15. Without a doubt, the strongest visual of the book occurs in the last panel on 16: both characters are shown from a distance, with one character posed with his back to the reader. The emotional strength of that image is undeniable — I swear it gives me goosebumps every time I look at it! The final image of the book is nice cap on the story and the twelfth issue. I’ll buy anything that Sciver illustrates. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Matching the intensity of the artwork are the colors by Jason Wright. The first page is overflowing in oranges, but Wright employs so many different shades of this color that the page isn’t overwhelmed, nor are any details in the art lost. In fact, it looks absolutely real. With a turn of the page the lanterns appear and their greens and yellows provide a slick counter to all the oranges against them. Wright works the light excellently — take a look at the work done on Guy’s face on Page 3. I also like that some of the louder yells are given colors, such as those on 4 and 5 which will make a reader’s heart soar, and makes the blending of the colors on 20 even stronger. Transluminal space also looks sharp thanks to Wright’s work, with the different greens giving the experience some excellent depth. Can Wright color every DC book? Overall grade: A+ 

The letters: Scene settings, exclamations, the story’s title, the book’s credits, dialogue, ring speak, sounds, Brainiac’s dialogue, and the tease for next issue are by Dave Sharpe. It’s amazing that Sharpe is able to place so much text in some panels and doesn’t step once on the visuals. In previous reviews I’ve stated how much I enjoy the sounds he uses, and they are just as impressive in this issue, but it’s Larfleeze’s cries that stand out this issue. I not only read what he said, I felt it — and that’s because of how Sharpe makes his cries look. Stunning. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: Larfleeze is successfully reintegrated into the DC Universe as a monstrous threat, rather than the cartoon character he’s become. Great action, killer art, and a major turning point for an iconic villain. Give me more DC! I want it! I want IT! I WANT IT! 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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