In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #20

A great lantern issue on several levels.

The covers: Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Tomeu Morey have created the Regular cover. This is a surprising frontpiece because it shows the villain that’s revealed on the final page. The character is unnamed, but looks somewhat similar to the new Blue Beetle. However, it has a glowing green right fist that has a GLC logo on it. How this plays into the story, I won’t spoil, but it is pretty cool. The art looks good and the colors are tops, with orange being a good background color for both characters. This is a decent cover, but it’s a such a spoiler! I can’t pass up any art by Kevin Nowlan, so I picked up the Variant cover for this issue. Hal is being held in a gigantic blue gloved humanoid’s hand. On the back of the giant’s hand is a Green Lantern Corps emblem and energy is pouring out of this symbol. The antagonist is unseen, save his hand which is crushing the hero. Having the villain’s identity on the cover is a terrific way to get a casual reader interested and for long time fans, like me, it sends one spinning. Overall grades: Regular B and Variant A- 

The story: Side by side with members of the Sinestro Corps, the Green Lantern Corps is defending Mogo from an attack by emerald insect-like invaders that are impervious to attacks from lantern rings. John Stewart brings the reader up to speed on the first page with what’s happened previously. This is followed by Hal screaming to John that things above the living planet are not going well. Rip Hunter, from the future, reminds the lanterns that this how the corps is erased. Soranik and Kyle Rayner banter before the story returns to Hal, who has used every construct he knows to repel the creatures with no success. Just before John has Mogo’s long guns fire on the creatures, Hal realizes that the beings he’s fighting are actually constructs. This is an exciting opening from Robert Venditti, with Hal’s realization coming just too late. Meanwhile in Sector 563, Sarko is revealing to Gorin-Sunn and Lorix, two captured lanterns, why he’s unleashed hell on the corps. The back and forth between the lanterns trying to best the prism beasts and Sarko’s scenes are solid, with Venditti changing the focus just as things get intense. Sarko’s reason for vengeance is good, as is the revealed villain that he’s helped to bring to life. This character is spoiled by the Regular cover, but he (it?) is still impressive when it appears. The construct creatures were good antagonists, but this new character looks really good! A fun read. Overall grade: A

The art: The visuals on these characters should be otherworldly, and they certainly are with Rafa Sandoval on pencils and Jordi Tarragona on inks. The first page starts with a close-up on John and slowly pulls back, revealing what John is capable of creating with his ring, pulling back further to show what other lanterns can do, until ultimately revealing every lantern construct that’s protecting Mogo. This is a nice way to show the human side of the characters before showing the cosmic level abilities of the heroes. Page 2 is a full paged splash that shows Hal among the prism creatures and he looks powerful and agitated. The creatures are designed with sharp edges, making their touch appear deadly, let alone what their abilities allow them to do. The bottom of the fourth page has two great panels that ramp up tension with a close-up, again, of John before he fires and Hal’s visage being reflected in one of the creatures. Both are excellent. The top of 5 shows John firing and this is definitely a “BOOM” panel — there’s a tremendous amount of energy that’s sent flying and it’s massive. Sarko is striking all the right poses of omnipotence as he slowly divulges information to the two lanterns. His calm is nicely countered by the lanterns who are doing everything they can to beat back the emerald invaders. Page 18 is the jaw dropper of the issue, because it’s a full page splash of the lanterns doing something I’ve not seen before in a lantern book, and I’ve been reading since the 1980’s. The visuals on this book are excellent! Overall grade: A

The colors: Bringing the art to life are the colors by Tomeu Morey. The book begins with light colors because the panels are filled with constructs from the lanterns. John’s narration stands apart from the greens of these constructs because it’s a much darker shade, which is a slick way to have it stand apart for the reader to focus on before looking at the art. The second page is like a punch because the colors are much, much darker as the scene has shifted to Hal battling the beasties. There’s no overdose on greens, because Morey is using every possible shade to give the characters some solid depth — I mean, c’mon, look at the highlights on Hal and the shine off the creatures. With characters in green fighting villains in green, it’s truly impressive how Morey can make each character stand apart from the one next to them or the one they’re fighting. It’s awesome! Sarko stands out on a page since he’s clad in black and blue and it sets him apart from his minions and the lanterns. Morey’s work is also very good. Overall grade: A

The letters: Yells, narration, the story’s title, the story’s subtitle, the book’s credits, dialogue, sounds, scene settings, screams, and the tease for next issue are brought to life by Dave Sharpe. Discussing Sharpe’s skills are like stating the obvious, so let me draw your attention to one page where the variety of his great talent can be seen, Page 15. A yell, sounds, dialogue, and a greater yell are on display, with each done in a stellar different font. This is especially important with the yells, showing that there is a different level of intensity with each utterance, signaling to the reader which is more stressful. I love Sharpe’s work. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A great lantern issue on several levels. The story is fun, with some good reveals; the art is super detailed; the colors are gorgeous; and the letters are perfection. Ring slinging comes to life perfectly. 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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