In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #39

This is the calm before the storm as the Corps races to battle Zod to rescue Hal.

The covers: Two covers for this issue that features the lanterns going after Zod and his family. The Regular cover is by Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Tomeu Morey featuring said lanterns attacking Zod en masse. I love seeing lots of members of the corps in action and it’s few and far between to see this many members on a cover. In fact, there are so many it’s a bit difficult to make out who’s who. Zod looks like a Greek god as speeds towards the heroes. The colors look great for the mass of green, but also with Morey coloring each lantern’s skin correctly to provide some differentiation among them. Very cool. The¬†Variant cover by Tyler Kirkham and Morey has only Kyle Rayner on the cover. He’s wearing the togs he had when the was the only lantern left on Earth years ago. He’s in deep space, with stars and a massive sun behind him. Though he has the emerald outline around him found on lanterns in space, he’s reaching out to a floating power ring before him. He looks in awe at the object. Neat. Overall grades: Both B+

The story: Within the Fortress of Zod, on the planet Jekuul in Space Sector 2811, Hal Jordan smiles in a sunless cell. He’s grinning because of the arrival of a visitor: his jailer Zod. The Kryptonian argues that he’s trying to build as much of his destroyed world’s culture as he can for his son. “I’m a father. A father who wants his son to know something of his heritage and his people.” Hal tells the villain that the natives think of him as a god and that he’s “the same old terrorist working a new angle.” As the Kryptonian leaves, Hal tells him the corps will be coming. Writer Robert Venditti then moves the story to Mogo, home of the corps, where Kyle has been placed in a containment unit because the power coming out of him could blow apart the entire headquarters. Kyle can’t control the energy he’s obtained by wearing Hal’s ring and wants out. It’s only when he mentions that it’s Zod that’s got Hal do Guy and John decide that something needs to be done. The three pages that follow show the proper way to go to into action, while the three after that show the improper, but more heartfelt, way to go into action. It was great to see so many lanterns wanting to help rescue Hal and I felt just like John on Page 12. The lanterns do arrive on Jekuul and make their presence known. The issue ends with Zod and his family racing up to meet the corps. This is one heck of a cliffhanger, promising that next issue will have all the action. Though this is a transition issue, justifying why the lanterns go to help, it was still fun to read. Overall grade: A

The art: Rafa Sandoval pencils and Jordi Tarragona inks this issue which looks really good. Pages where characters are simply talking to one another present visual problems for some artists because the art can become nothing more than talking heads. Complicating things for Sandoval and Tarragona is that Hal is restrained in a tight cell as Zod speaks with him. These two artists make the visuals very engaging, thankfully, starting off with a full figured reveal of Zod on Page 2. Notice Hal is made to look smaller by focusing only on his head, because showing his entire body right away would make him the equal of the villain. Notice when the two are shown close up at the bottom of the page, Zod has his hand out as though to snap the human’s neck. This is followed by another large image of Zod, leaning and looking down. Page 4 is a full-paged splash showing the energy that Kyle’s emitting. The young lantern looks incredible buff and should be since he’s got Hal’s ring on. Any time he’s shown in this issue energy is radiating from him. The top of 5 has a great reaction panel from John and Guy. The individuals that John are speaking with on Pages 6 – 8 look fine, but are visually boring. That’s been the greatest visual flaw of these characters for decades and I’m hoping that future issues have them drawn a little more dynamically and not so much in shadow. Page 10 is the WOW image of the issue, featuring several characters who look fantastic. Seeing these individuals in flight is wonderful. The smile on 12 echoed my own. The arrival and first attack on 14 and 15 is huge and made my heart sing. 18 and 19 are almost a true double-paged spread, though there’s a small panel in the lower right. This image is good, but the bottom half of 18 and much of the top is a wasted. Tilting the angle would have improved this. The final page shows forces about to clash and it’s the perfect cliffhanger. Overall grade: A-

The colors: This book has incredibly strong colors from Tomeu Morey and it’s exactly what I want in a book featuring the Green Lanterns. Strong oranges start the book as the visuals move down to Hal Jordan, who’s face is a lesser orange than the skies. Zod’s arrival has him colored darkly, but not black as to make the linework in him obscured. On Page 4 the lantern scenes begin and there’s, rightfully, a lot of green in this book. In fact, this page has such strong greens that they go white with their intensity. The blues on the Guardians are terrific, I just wish they hadn’t been so darkly shaded by the art. John’s skin on 6 – 8 is beautiful. I like the blues on the character shown briefly on 9 and love the wide array of colors on the mob that appears on 10. The emerald work on the lanterns is really impressive in this issue, with every shade used to show constructs and costumes fabulously. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe is the book’s letterer and he has created scene settings, narration, dialogue, the book’s title and subtitle, the book’s credits, yells, sounds, the Eradicator’s speech, and the tease for next issue. The last two lines of text on the opening page are narration and not scene settings, so I’m surprised why Sharpe used the same font. This is the first time in a forever I can think of where Sharpe reuses the same font for a different form of communication. The yells are great in this book, with them going from italicized to entirely different fonts to show how loud each is. I love the Eradicator’s speech which instantly identifies him as a machine. The sounds are stellar, always a Sharpe strong point, and the opening battle has got some doozies. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is the calm before the storm as the Corps races to battle Zod to rescue Hal. Solid dialogue, moments that revel in heroics, and visuals that make the actions awesome. Very enjoyable. 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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