In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #16

A solid issue that gives some new backstory to Guy.

The covers: Two dramatic images showing the same event: Arkillo beating the tar out of Guy Gardner. The Regular cover is by Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Tomeu Morey. The Yellow Lantern has just delivered a left uppercut to the Green Lantern, with a stream of blood charting the path of the larger’s fist. Guy looks like he’s going to be propelled backwards. Both characters look fantastic and the colors are wonderful. Any reader will shudder at the ferocity that Arkillo has dealt upon this human. The Variant cover is by Kevin Nowlan and Arkillo is again delivering a left, but this is a swing and Guy is already on the ground. Behind the Yellow Lantern several chunks of rock are in the air, raised from the ground by the power of his punches. No blood on this cover, but the feeling is just as strong, as Guy is being hammered while down. Great power out of both of these, but I have to say the Regular cover was a bit better because the colors are much brighter. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant B

The story: In Space Sectors 1372, 3008, and 2265, fugitive Yellow Lanterns Setag Retss, Murr, and Romat Ru are being apprehended by Green and Yellow Lanterns. While they and others are being brought to justice, John Stewart leaves Mogo, the headquarters of both corps. He’s learned that Guy Gardner has gone off on his own to collect Arkillo and it’s going to get messy. He leaves Space Cabbie behind, but he’s picked up by Soranik because she knows “Regardless of how this day ends…Guy Gardner will need a surgeon.” Robert Venditti then moves the action to Sector 1974, the planet Heep, where Guy has willingly relinquished his ring to fight Arkillo man to…vorn. Guy goads the monster into putting aside his ring, who says, “In memory of the great Sinestro, who chose me for his corps and taught me the power of fear. I grant your request.” He throws one punch and blood spurts from Guy’s nose as he hits the ground. Standing over the unconscious human, Arkillo asks, “Will that be all?” The vorn continues to speak to semi-unconscious Guy, who has flashbacks to being beaten by his father. This motivates Guy throughout the story to stand back up and face Arkillo, with both of them receiving plenty of blows. Back on Mogo, the two remaining Guardians watch the arrival of Saint Walker. The Blue Lantern’s future is left dangling as Guy’s story quickly returns to center stage. If one is looking for some physical battling, this is the issue for you. The fight goes the way one would expect, though the flashbacks are a new aspect of Guy’s character. They were an interesting new dimension to his past, justifying why he is the way he is. The climax of the story isn’t surprising and that’s the only letdown of the issue: if one knows how the story will end, what’s the point in telling it? The status quo endures. Overall grade: B

The art: Penciller Rafa Sandoval and inker Jordi Tarragona are creating gold with this book’s visuals. The first page shows three horizontal panels in three different sectors as the yellow lanterns are caught. The design of the new characters are terrific and the familiar faces look just as strong. Page 3 introduces Guy and Arkillo staring each other down, with the former having his fists ups. The sizing up of both characters stays in the reader’s mind as they pummel one another. Arkillo’s first punch creates a frightening stream of blood from both of Guy’s nostrils, alerting the reader that this will not be an easy battle for the human. The flashback sequences are difficult to look at. Not once is Guy’s father shown hitting him, but the reader is transported to these moments just after the fact. Later in the book, the fight with Arkillo mirrors Guy’s tribulations with his father, making the fight with the alien seem harsher. Page 15 has the panels look torn, as if the memory of this horrible past is peeling away at his mind — it makes the action even more violent. As the fight progresses, Guy’s face becomes more battered, reminding one of any boxing match, as the blood flies and the eyes become beaten shut. Page 18 is really graphic, showing perhaps more blood than all DC Comics for the past twelve months combined. Only on the final page of the book, a full paged splash, is the duo’s damage to the surroundings fully shown. The brief interlude with Walker arriving on Mogo has got some incredible energy on it; I can’t recall seeing lanterns with a trail of solid energy in their wakes. Overall grade: A

The colors: This is a terrifically bright book from Tomeu Morey, with the first page really being the highlight of the book for the variety of colors involved. Once the action goes to Heep, the background is a sand colored setting, not giving much to look at behind the characters. The flashback sequences are similarly colored, though they are set on Earth, and this provides another reason why Guy is remembering these terrible moments from his past. When the blood starts flying, and fly it does, it’s not a sensational thing, but the expected result of these two combatants fighting. I admit to thinking blood flying looks pretty cool in some battles, but not here; it was a shocking color on the page and the proliferation of it became unsettling, as it should. This is the first time in quite a while when blood had me fearing for characters. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, a yellow lantern’s unique speech font, Arkillo’s unique speech, the story’s title, the issue’s credits, sounds, yells, screams, and the tease for next issue are created by Dave Sharpe. I’ve complimented Sharpe’s fantastic sounds for years, but they are really incredibly important to this issue as each fist that finds home creates a painful sound: CLUD, KROK, WHUDD, and WHOK. The one sound that will haunt a reader is SSHRESSH; it’s as horrific as the image it accompanies. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A solid issue that gives some new backstory to Guy. The visuals are also top notch. If only the conclusion wasn’t so predictable. 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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