In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #43

The Darkstars make their move and the Lanterns can't stop them.

The covers: Two different covers for this issue that show trouble and elicit cheers. The Regular cover is by Ethan Van Sciver and Jason Wright. This has Hal in orbit around Mogo, the living planet and headquarters of the corps, surrounded by several Darkstars, their fists raised to blast him. Orange flame comes out of a pair of the deadly vigilantes, while Hal looks as though he won’t be able to stop them. Good tease of what’s to be found in this issue. The Variant by Tyler Kirkham and Tomeu Morey is a heroic frontpiece featuring the four famous human lanterns. Front and center is Hal, holding his right fist, emerald energy streaming from his ring. Behind him, back to back, are Kyle and John, each with their fists raised. In the back, holding both fists up, looking at them in fury, is an upset Guy. This is a fun hero cover with the big four on it. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant B+

The story: Writer Robert Venditti doesn’t waste time in getting things going: in Sector 2682 members of Olio’s Wake were killed by some Darkstars, in Sector 1800 a group of criminals attempted to surrender to the Darkstars and were all killed, and in Sector 0042 a life-sentence penitentiary was entered by Darkstars who upgraded everyone to a death sentence. Reports are coming in from everywhere to Mogo, the headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps, that Darkstars are murdering criminals. Last issue the Guardians stated they were going to be more cautious about intervening in others’ affairs. Hal tells them that time is over with the Darkstars killing criminals. The Guardians agree and send Hal, Kyle, and Guy, along with ten other lanterns to “Bring the Controllers and the Darkstars to justice.” The heroes aren’t but two pages into their missing when something happens. It seems the Darkstars have a technological edge to the lanterns’ rings, and they use it liberally. Something is revealed on Pages 10 and 11 that turns the lanterns’ quest upside down. A former friend then appears before Hal and Venditti is absolutely awesome with this character’s dialogue. I love the reveal of a group on 14. The final words on 18 are wonderfully threatening, while the “Now what?” moment that follows is heartbreaking. The ending is a nice four part tease and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next. Overall grade: A

The art: This book looks great. One of the greatest joys I have for a GLC book are the terrific aliens that appear — I want to see as many aliens as possible. On the opening page artist Rafa Sandoval gives me exactly what I want: aliens and three very different alien environments. Pages 2 and 3 show a familiar setting and Sandoval makes it look sharp, with a great point of view in the final panel on the second page and the focus on a specific character at the top of 3. I also like the way he’s set up the final three panels: they comprise one illustration, but are broken into four panels so that the reader knows exactly where to look while reading the dialogue — it puts some great emphasis on specific characters. The double-paged splash of 4 and 5 is cheer worthy as this is exactly how fans want to see the lanterns as they’re tearing along in space. The third panel on 6 is fantastic: tons of characters, but all having the same reaction to something that’s occurred. On Page 7 the technological advantage is shown and this is the first time in months I’ve been happy with a computer effect: it is entirely appropriate for what happens. The reaction at the bottom of 9 is a great tease to the double-paged splash on 10 and 11. The entrance on 12 is awesome and I love the point of view that Sandoval shows this character, with the individual’s head slightly dipped, giving this character a sinister look, not unlike how Sinestro is drawn. The reveal on 14 to what’s happened to a group is awesome. The final page has four lanterns going to four very different locations, allowing Sandoval to end the book with alien environments. This is great work. Overall grade: A

The colors: Tomeu Morey is the book’s colorist and this, too, is a great element of the issue. I love the contrast of colors on the first page with the first and last panel being pale colors (that symbolically represent death), while the panel in the middle the dark, empty blues of space (again, representing death). Great way by Morey to dive into death using colors. The greens that are shown on the next two pages stand out nicely against the stainless steel that comprises the majority of this location. Greens really dominate on 4 and 5 and they’re awesome! Page 7 introduces a crimson effect into the book, which now becomes the calling card of the Darkstars. The colors used on 10 and 11 magnify the numbers of the group perfectly. I like how Morey is also willing to use white space to make panels stand out, such as on 12 – 15 and 17 – 20. When everyone powers up on 16 it looks great; I also like how yellows are used, showing the veteran readers that the emerald energy of the lanterns will not work against these foes. The colors look sharp on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: This book’s text by Dave Sharpe includes scene settings, dialogue, ring transmissions, the story’s title, the book’s credits, yells, and the tease for next issue. Sharpe’s scene settings are always an exciting visual in a bold, thin, slightly slanted font that just looks flat out thrilling. The story’s title is big and bold, like an explosion on the page, and the credits are even exciting looking. John’s doing a lot of yelling in this issue, since he is the leader of the corps, and he’s got some awesome yells when things begin to go bad. Overall grade: A

The final line: The Darkstars make their move and the Lanterns can’t stop them. This is a great story, with a great threat, and some terrific visuals. This is a comic book fan’s dream come true. 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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