In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45

This is Lantern gold!

The covers: Two killer covers for completists to track down. The Regular cover by Doug Mahnke, Jaime Mendoza, and Wil Quintana is awesome. A lantern ring in the middle of the cover is splitting apart from the emerald energy within it. The four bolts of green power emerging from the ring cut the cover into four different quadrants, each showing a different lantern in peril. Going clockwise, starting from the top, Zod has John Stewart by the throat, Orion has Kyle Rayner manacled by some New Gods’ technology, Guy Gardner and Arkillo are about to throw fists at one another, and Hal Jordan has fallen victim to the abilities of Hector Hammond. The illustrations are great and the colors are awesome. There’s a lot going on in this frontpiece and it makes me excited to start reading! Hal Jordan is on a (farily) textless Variant cover by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto. The small text at the bottom of the illustration allows the art to get the reader’s full focus. Hal is shown from the knees up using his ring to transform from blue jeans, black tee, and leather flight jacket into his lantern fatigues. His hair blows to his left side following the ripple of energy that’s changing his clothes. The energy coming off his ring is intense and the colors are strong, though a bright or lighter background would have had him stand out a little more. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant A-

The story: In Space Sector 3518 Green Lantern Weggett has arrested Star Pharaoh and is bringing him to lantern headquarters. The villain wants his legal advisor consulted because he believes he’ll be quickly released. Weggett tells him to keep quiet, when suddenly the antagonist screams at him, “Fly, curse you! Fly! It’s them!” Six Darkstars have appeared to take Star Pharaoh into custody and give him their lethal justice. Weggett tells him they can’t and they kill the criminal and the lantern. “The Green Lantern Corps was warned not to interfere.” The lantern’s ring goes in search of a new hero to wear it. This dramatic opening by Robert Venditti then moves to Earth where Hal is being accosted by the energy of Atomic Skull who’s interfering with his taking and awakening of Hector Hammond. Hal’s barely able to fight back, only overpowering the officer when someone assists him. There’s so much to love in this issue. Three lanterns doing whatever they can to stop the onslaught of the Darkstars’ brutal justice by getting unlikely allies. Hal and Hector is quite the pairing, with the oversized head of that villain making his dialogue unquestionably sickly. John is trying to recruit Zod to help them: this was the high point of the book. Venditti is an absolute master of understanding what drives a villain. The back and forth between these characters is amazing, with Page 11 being outstanding. Guy and Arkillo’s conversation is halted with the arrival of two unexpected characters, leading to a major surprise on 16. The only protagonist who doesn’t get any time is Kyle. This is disappointing given that the Regular cover spoils whom he has troubles with. This is fantastic story for all the delightfully disgusting and devious villains that the heroes have to have help from. Fantastic. Overall grade: A+

The art: Ethan Van Sciver’s visuals are always amazing and he creates some very cool illustrations for this issue. The opening page establishing Weggett and Star Pharaoh is terrific, with the hero coming right at the reader in the first panel. The number of Darkstars surrounding the pair on the second page is startling, as is the amount of energy that the fatal force emits. Weggett’s corpse is a startling sight as it drifts in the void of space. Pages 4 and 5 is a double-paged splash that shows Hal practically on his knees as an overwhelming amount of energy spews out of the Atomic Skull, while in the background the body of Hector Hammond lays dormant. The Skull looks incredible at the top of 6 as the reader is treated to Hal’s point of view of his foe. Page 8 is a full-paged splash and it’s wonderful, grotesque, and unquestionably ominous. Hammond is a character that from a verbal description would come off as goofy and humorous, but Sciver makes the menace a true nightmare come to life. The next page is also a full-paged splash as John Stewart flies above Zod and his family. It’s a visual that instantly establishes to the reader the characters, their strengths, and their positions. Pages 10 and 11 focus on John and Zod speaking, but Sciver keeps things interesting by moving the point of view around and really making Zod look incredibly powerful with just a close-up of his face or a slight turn toward the lantern. Another full-paged splash on 16 is exploding with energy out of a character that will increase the confusion of the reader as he or she tries to make sense of what is being shown. The book ends with Hal and Hector and I can’t stress enough how gross it is to look upon Hammond’s eyes making him absolutely sick. The final panel of the book is both cool and disturbing. This book looks amazing. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Increasing the power of the artwork are the colors by Jason Wright. The colors on Weggett and SP are primarily grays and greens, with the darkness of space making them stand out. The arrival of the Darkstars is incredibly dramatic due to the intense oranges they use to teleport. These oranges make these characters incredibly fierce and they really stand out against the opening two characters. The final image of Weggett nicely has the colors behind the dead character darken as the reader moves from the left to the right to see his face. The violets from the Atomic Skull are staggering. Having his dialogue colored a sickly green only increases his intensity. The oranges and crimsons on 8 are, no pun intended, mind blowing — they amplify the moment amazingly. The yellows and reds on 16 are equally strong. And I cannot say enough how the orange-yellows of Hammond’s eyes disturb me. Overall grade: A+

The letters: This issue features text by Dave Sharpe includes scene settings, dialogue, transmissions and ring speech, yells, sounds, the story’s title, the book’s credits, Darkstars’ mantle speech, and the tease for next issue. Sharpe’s scene settings are terrific markers for the reader showcasing where the story occurs, the yells are many and varied, the story’s title and book’s credits are handsome, and the Darkstars’ mantle speech is an inhuman version of the lanterns’ rings, and the tease for next issue is bold. Sharpe is an outstanding letterer. Overall grade: A+ 

The final line: This is the lead in to the lanterns confronting the Darkstars and it’s delicious! Each lantern has an angle in getting assistance from some of their most powerful adversaries and it’s incredible reading. There’s more dialogue than action, but this is a must-read for Lantern fans. Assisting this strong story are incredible visuals. This is Lantern gold! 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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