In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #23

Everything about this title is working at the highest possible level. Absolutely recommended.

The covers: How is it that Ethan Van Sciver’s hand hasn’t burst into flame from all the detail he puts into his work? The Regular cover this month shows that he’s madman for details. With the horrific visage of captured raider Bolphunga in the center, Soranik is on his right, while Hal is on his left. Both lanterns have their rings flaring with power. Below these three are full figured images of Arkillo and Guy Gardner taking out Cepheid raiders. The characters look amazing and even the clouds and the energy at the bottom look terrific. Jason Wright is the colorist on this cover and he, too, has done an excellent job, with those clouds and the energy capturing the eye. The Variant cover is by Kevin Nowlan and features Arkillo running forward, with a tongue that Venom would be envious of, with Hal flying beside him, as are several other lanterns, both green and yellow. Arkillo looks great — love that fist right in the reader’s face — and Guy and the other lanterns look good. Nowlan continues to do outstanding variants for this series. Overall grades: Both A

The story: Part 2 of “Fracture” picks up where last issue left off: recently captured raider Bolphunga has stated that he knows a Green Lantern has killed a member of the Sinestro Corps, who are now allies with the Greens. If it gets out that this has happened, the unity between the two teams will be over and it will be open war. He wants to be released or a message will be broadcast stating what’s happened. Hal doesn’t believe the criminal, while John says he has to confer with others before making a decision. Jordan leaves, upset that Stewart is being “played.” Alone, John says to no one, ” I hope I’m wrong about this one. But if Bolphunga is telling the truth…I’ll never allow him to prove it.” Writer Robert Venditti then moves the story to the mess hall where Kyle Rayner asks to sit with Soranik. He tells her he can’t believe she’s a yellow lantern and makes some statements that upset her. She leaves, with Kilowog coming up to Kyle to set him straight. Making her way to another table, Hal sees Soranik and says something to her that causes her to remember something, prompting her to leave the room in a hurry. It was revealed previously that the villain Sorak, who died, was from the future and was the child of Kyle and Soranik. He knows, she doesn’t. When she finds out it’s going to be bad. Elsewhere, Guy Gardner and Arkillo are leaving Mogo on a secret mission from John to find the Cepheid raiders. They find them and the action is big. Soranik does indeed discover something, but not before something surprising occurs on Page 17. The big secret of the issue is revealed on Page 20 and will have fans holding their breath for the fallout. Venditti is on fire with this series. Overall grade: A+

The art: Every page, every panel of this book is stunning. The opening page has a smiling Bolphunga being interrogated by Hal and John. Look at the details in his face, his muscles, and the chains binding him to the floor. His cocky final appearance for this issue is in the third panel on the second page and it’s wonderful. When the lanterns go outside for John to explain his position, look at the sprawling city below them — epic! The final panel on Page 3 makes John’s words incredibly weighty. Ethan Van Sciver tops himself on the fourth page with the mess hall. This setting is filled several different looking lanterns, which is outstanding, but he shows them from a high angle, revealing much of the kitchen setting as well. The anger that comes out of Soranik in this location is terrific — frightening, but terrific. When the story moves to Guy and Arkillo they, too, look great. Sciver follows up their introduction with a page that’s practically a full-page splash of the raiders’ stronghold. This location screams trouble and serves as an outstanding introduction to the book’s villains. The duo’s arrival is a true full-page splash and it’s created from an angle looking up at the pair and it’s funny and thrilling. The item that the raiders are hiding is a very unique design and is funny when shown with the strongest lanterns. On Pages 16 and 17 is a really cool medical table constructed by Soranik’s power ring. It looks terrific, and though it shouldn’t be the focus for any reader, I can’t take my eyes off of how alien/cool it is. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Jason Wright does an equally outstanding job on this book’s colors. Look at the tone work he does on all the characters, highlighting the muscles in character’s faces and their bodies. This is really evident in the close-up in John’s face at the bottom of Page 3. When the story moves to the mess hall, Wright really gets to cut loose with coloring, with all the different races of aliens getting some incredible colors, which add to their green and yellow suits. Even backgrounds look incredible, such as the space setting when Guy and Arkillo go off on their mission. This might seem easy, but take note that there are no borders around the three panels at the bottom of the page, just black lines. Within these panels is the same space setting, so Wright must make sure that his coloring doesn’t blend these smaller panels with the larger one, and he does not. He’s able to maintain the red background in each without it becoming confusing to the reader. Some of the yells in this book are even colored, with Guy getting green and Ark yellow in their exclamations. As detailed as the art is, the colors are equally detailed. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene settings, the story’s title, the story’s subtitle, the book’s credits, dialogue, transmissions and ring speak, yells, sounds, Arkillo speech, tired voices, and the tease for next issue are created by the talented Dave Sharpe. Look how the variety of the fonts and the way in which Sharpe uses them on the first page: the scene settings, the two teams’ logos, story title and subtitle, and the creator credits. The book is visually interesting before the characters have even spoken. Arkillo’s speech is fantastic looking, with the letters resembling the scrawls of a killer, which make his stature even more fearsome. The first three panels on 14 really show the power of Sharpe’s letters, as they tell the reader what’s occurring before the actions are shown. When is Sharpe not delivering superior work? Overall grade: A+

The final line: This series is a powerhouse! The conflicts come from within and outside the teams, with the Kyle-Soranik saga as compelling as the murder mystery. The visuals are intense, loaded with details in both art and colors. Even the letters are visually pleasing. Everything about this title is working at the highest possible level. Absolutely recommended. 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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