In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #40

What more could you want than Green Lanterns versus evil Kryptonians?

The covers: Kyle Rayner is shown in profile from his right, holding his ring hand and screaming. Emerald energy pours out of him. From his back a ghostly image of Hal Jordan emerges from him, looking equally pained. I love this illustration by Rafa Sandoval, inked by Jordi Tarragona, and colored by Tomeu Morey. The power coming out of his frontpiece is awesome! Sitting in the background atop some stones, Zod smiles and politely claps at his son Lor’s efforts, which means bending back Guy Gardner’s wrist to force him to his knees. The young Kryptonian says, “Kneel before Zods!” Great image by Tyler Kirkham, with the characters looking outstanding, and great colors from Morey, with the violets and oranges giving the illustration a delightfully alien feel. Overall grades: Both A

The story: This is it: the Green Lantern Corps versus the House of Zod! Before the fight begins, writer Robert Venditti deals with John Stewart being summoned before the Guardians and chastised for not stopping some members of the corps for heading to Jekuul to confront Zod, as they commanded. John says he was on his way to tell them, but “Unfortunately, it took me too long to get back to the command center.” A smile spreads across his face. “As much as I wish I could — really, I wish I could — there’s no unringing the bell. We just have to accept the situation.” A turn of the page has the reader in the middle of the situation at ground zero on Jekuul. Eight lanterns are battling Zod, his wife Ursa, and their son Lor. Powered up considerably because he’s wearing Hal’s ring, Kyle is able to slam Zod to the ground. The next seven pages have the lanterns beating the tar out of the Kryptonians, and then something changes the direction of the melee. The dialogue between the characters on Page 14 is outstanding: it’s got all the hallmarks of a good guy/bad guy slugfest, but combined with the visuals it takes on a shocking tone. The worst of all possible events occurs on 17, and it’s a moment that will have readers pause in reflection in what this means for the heroes. Venditti delightfully has the defeated characters in an utterly lost situation. Just as things seem to be over, the final page will have the reader screaming in joy at the visual and for what must happen in the next issue. This is the cosmic fight comic fans want to see the lanterns in! Overall grade: A

The art: This the go-to epic battle that comic book readers want. The book begins quietly with four panels of John before the Guardians. This is familiar territory for long-time Lantern fans and artist Rafa Sandoval and inker Jordi Tarragona make it look perfect: the Guardians look regal in their anger toward John, but the final panel on the page reveals to the reader how he truly feels about the situation. Pages 2 and 3 are a terrific double-paged splash showing the lanterns and villains hammering at each other. Constructs are being shattered, energy and eye beams are flying, punches are being thrown — this is exactly what I was hoping for in this issue! I love the construct that resembles a bust of Hal that surrounds Kyle as he fights. The throw in the final panel on Page 4 is wonderful. The punch in the second panel on 5 slick (though I do wish it had not been computer blurred to make it look extra fast. Sandoval and Tarragona are sensational enough on their own, their work doesn’t need to be edited. Why, DC? Why?). The fleeting views of Hal, locked away are also great, with him being partially in darkness, making him look pitiful and sinister. The battle that really got my attention was Guy versus little Lor — WOW! The child was an absolute monster as he beat down Gardner. The full-paged splash on 11 is epic for the hero’s emotion and stance and the villain’s ominous calm. The reaction to the punch thrown on 12 is staggering. The second panel on 15 is fantastic; a fight happening this quickly would look like this if one were able to watch it. The double-paged large panel on 16 and 17 beautifully conveys the tremendous energy being exerted by one character, which leads to a frightening second panel on 18. I love the focus on the object that’s falling to the ground in the panels that follow this. The last page is a full-paged splash that would be the moment when music would swell at this unveiling. The position of the upper character has me dying to see the follow through of the action he’s begun. This book is awesome! Overall grade: A

The colors: The energy being flung about in this issue is killer due to the colors by Tomeu Morey. Before the action begins, Morey gets to show his skills in putting some superior tone work into characters’ flesh on the opening page with the Guardians and John. The final panel on the page is great for having John standing before an entirely green background. Turning the page, with the battle engaged, colors explode! Reds from heat vision, greens from the lanterns’ uniforms and constructs, and black for Zod’s togs. The flecks of shattered construct in the bottom right stand out superbly against the yellow sky. The ground, that’s right I’m talking about dirt, looks terrific in several different shades of brown, giving this setting depth as well. Page 7 colors sounds outrageously well, with some incredible outlining. The variety of greens on this page are also amazing, as many are part of constructs which are translucent. The greens and whites on 16 and 17 are awesome. And take a look at the oranges on 18 — killer! The colors on this book are insanely well done. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe remains as the Lantern letterer, creating scene settings, dialogue, yells, the story’s title, the book’s credits, sounds, one lantern’s unique speech, ring speech, weakened speech, and the tease for next issue. Time must be spent on the story’s title and book’s credits as Sharpe always makes them unique and visually stunning. It’s like looking at the text on a spectacular movie poster. It’s just so darned visually pleasing. The yells come in many fonts to show the strength of the characters’ exclamations. The sounds are spectacular for matching the action that’s causing them to occur. Sharpe is always a sensational letterer. Overall grade: A+

The final line: What more could you want than Green Lanterns versus evil Kryptonians? This excels in every possible way, giving readers plenty to cheer and boo. The story is great, filled with several surprises and excellent dialogue. The visuals are awesome, with so much action it’s amazing it fit in just one book. This is a comic lover’s comic book. Action, heroics, and villainy at its finest. 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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