In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42

Old foes return to wreck havoc for the Green Lantern Corps.

The covers: A very different pair to pick up, power ring not required to find them. The Regular cover is by Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona, and Tomeu Morey. This is an outstanding cover that shows a gigantic Darkstar blasting several Green Lanterns, including John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner, and Kilowog. Behind the villain is a metropolitan city that’s been leveled. The art is epic and the colors are fantastic, with the oranges sweet. This is a great cover. Not so great is the Variant cover by Tyler Kirkham and Morey. This is a cover celebrating Superman’s 80th anniversary. Much could have been done with this, but it looks hurried, with Hal in the foreground using his ring to construct Superman’s iconic S while the Man of Steel smiles behind him. This was the best that could be done? Really average. Plus the coloring comes across as bland with the background color a green-gray. Very disappointing. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant D+

The story: Picking up from a past plot thread, the Controllers have created several Darkstar mantles that they will use to take over. There are only seven Controllers still alive, so they are going to do all they can to reclaim power. Meanwhile Guy and Kyle rib each other while John deploys lanterns to trouble spots throughout the galaxy. It’s in the Green Lantern sciencells where something major is occurring. One of the prisoners is speaking with a lantern over what makes a hero. Hal arrives and speaks with the inmate, their conversation continuing on what makes a hero and what constitutes justice. The frightening thing about this conversation from writer Robert Venditti is that the antagonist has some really good points, and he seems to understand Hal more than he knows himself. I haven’t seen an inmate speak this strongly and so convincingly to Hal since Sinestro was held captive. The story momentarily returns to the Controllers, who have something odd occur that creates a threat that they cannot control. The book ends with a transformation and the lanterns aware of the Darkstar threat. Where this is headed I don’t know, but I do know I want to read it. Overall grade: A 

The art: There’s not a lot of action in this issue for artist Ethan Van Sciver to create, but he still makes every panel interesting to look at. The first page opens with the Controllers’ factory creating the Darkstar suits and it looks great. The double-paged splash of Pages 2 and 3 shows the completed suits in partial silhouette and they are ominous looking. The first appearance of a Controller is in the reflection of one of the suits and it’s a grotesque visage. The story moves to Mogo on Page 5 and the details of the city, the control room, and the three lanterns that end the page is incredible. There’s no action, just visual introductions to the lanterns and their headquarters. The sciencells have a terrific design that’s extremely clever. The characters speaking on 6 look great, with the eyes of the lantern being exceptional. Hal’s entrance has him looking absolutely like a hero. The conversation between Hal and the inmate is awesome; Van Sciver moves the point of view around to make the conversation visually stimulating, and look at how the energy flares in Hal when he’s surprised — a cool visual tag. The utter conviction in the inmate in the second panel on 10 is staggering. That’s the best panel in the book because the character’s resolution is absolutely solidified by this illustration. The reveal on 12 is beautiful and the horror of the moment is reinforced by the character’s reactions. The transformation on 16 and 17 is great, showing that Tony Stark doesn’t own this visual. The full-paged splash on 18 is not great: it’s hard to see the attacker and the victim is in a very odd pose. 19 is a little better, though it’s just a repeated image with a character leaving in an unprecedented way. The last page at least ends well, with the heroes realizing the danger they’re now having to face. Overall grade: A-

The colors: Excellent work throughout this book by Jason Wright. I love the oranges that open this book to show the heat involved. The orange lightens to become the visors of the Darkstars; a good transition using colors. The greens used for the Green Lanterns are staggering: they’re wearing green, their backgrounds are green, and their auras are green. These colors should, by all rights, be overwhelming the reader, but they do not because Wright is smart enough to use every possible shade of emerald to make the visuals differentiated. Page 5 shows this superbly. The colors the inmate wears has him stand apart from his cell and his captors. Notice how well Wright creates the impression that the inmate is behind a clear window by dulling the colors slightly when the point of view switches to Hal’s. The awakening on 12 is bold in orange, red, and metallic gray. Wright is outstanding on this book. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe, the go-to Lantern letterer, creates the text for this book which includes scene settings, the story’s title, the book’s credits, dialogue, yells, the unique speech of the villains, a scream, transmissions, and the tease for next issue. I’m a fan of Sharpe’s work, with its outstanding scene settings and easily identifiable yells and screams. The font used for the new villain’s speech is great, looking wholly alien. Sharpe always does an outstanding job. Overall grade: A+

The final line: Old foes return to wreck havoc for the Green Lantern Corps. The dialogue is amazing in this issue as an argument is made to what constitutes a hero and justice. It’s a great conversation and it’s one that leaves Hal questioning himself. The visuals are incredible, with heroes looking amazing and villains fierce. This is a terrific comic, let alone an excellent issue of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. This is a comic that everyone should pick up. 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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