In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #48

The climatic battle between the Darkstars and the Lanterns has begun!

The covers: Hal and Darkstar Tomar-Tu are about to start throwing punches as Hector Hammond, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Arkillo, Orion, and Zod look on. Swarming down from the upper right are gazillions of Darkstars. This is an outstanding Regular cover by Doug Mahnke and Wil Quintana. All the key characters are clearly shown, the colors are strong and bright, and the text, “Zod! Orion! Darkstars! Arkillo!” and “Battle Royale!” will rev the engine of any reader. This is just great. The Variant by Tyler Kirkham and Arif Prianto connects to the variant cover of Issue #49. This cover is framed by Arkillo, the right side of his face in the top right, his right shoulder and arm draping the top and falling along the left side. In the center are Guy and Hal showing that they’re ready for action against a sea of yellow energy. Neat, but I’m bummed it’s not a complete image and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the contents of this issue. Overall grades: Regular A+ and Variant B

The story: Tomar-Tu recounts the history of the Guardians and their Lanterns, as told to him by his father. A turn of the page and things have changed. Tomar-Tu is now a Darkstar and he and his comrades are flying at the Green Lantern Corps on Mogo, the sentient homeworld of the corps. In an adjacent sector John Stewart, Zod, Kyle Rayner, Orion, Hal Jordan, Hector Hammond, Guy Gardner, and Arkillo are meeting to discuss their game plan for engaging the enemy. I was happy that writer Robert Venditti inserts some humor into the proceedings with four panels on Page 5 making me laugh out loud. The response from the perpetrator of the humor at the end of the page continues to make me smile, even after reading the page several times. Hal makes a decision on Page 6 that made my heart sing — That’s the correct decision for a Green Lantern! The action then begins on two fronts: Kilowog and the corps fighting Tomar-Tu and the Darkstars on Mogo and Hal and the others engaging the Darkstars at another location. There’s a tip-off in the story that tells readers how the lanterns and their allies can take down the overwhelming numbers of the Darkstars and that’s where the story ends. The action in this issue is great, the dialogue — especially from Kilowog — is awesomeness incarnate, and I cannot wait to see what happens next! Overall grade: A

The art: Rafa Sandoval does the pencils and Jordi Tarragona the inks for this issue. The opening page is deceptive as the illustrations are simple, consisting of four panels that show space, the Guardians around a cosmic cauldron, a green power ring, and the power battery. The art is good, but fairly empty of a ton of details, save the second panel that shows the Guardians. This is not because the artists are slacking, they’re setting up to wow the reader for the double-paged splash of Pages 2 and 3 that have a bezillion Darkstars racing from the second page over to the third where the Green Lantern Corps are flying up to battle them. I really like that the Darkstars are not computer reprints of one another — they’re all drawn! Tomar-Tu is a standout among his peers due to the metal mohawk on his helmet. All the characters look excellent. Page 5 has a four panel sequence that is a terrific visual laugh; the differences between panels are outstanding. The close-ups of Hal and John on the following page make them powerful and their words absolute. The battle sequences on Mogo look great. Not only does the reader get to see Kilowog and Tomar-Tu smack each other around, but in the background other lanterns can be seen battling their foes. The final panel on Page 9 is tee-shirt worthy because it is glorious. The full-paged splash on 10 is okay, but the construct that Kyle has created just isn’t working for me. I do love what Arkillo has created, though. The Darkstars at the top of 11 make an incredible entrance. A terrible computer blur is at the top of 13 and used in the center panel on 14. There was no need to employ them; they looked fine on their own, now they look like a smear in the printing process. The final page is a full-paged splash that’s a good tease. Overall grade: A-

The colors: The opening panel of space is beautiful in violets. The greens used in the following two panels on the first page show the power that the Guardians have created. The page closes with the emeralds of the power battery, but notice how it’s backlit with orange from a rising sun, as if God gives his blessing on the battery’s existence. Colorist Tomeu Morey then gets to use colors to show the conflicting forces of the Darkstars versus the lanterns. It’s a visual explosion on the page from the artists and Morey and it looks great. Colors also assist with the visual gags on Page 5 that still make me smile. I really like that Morey doesn’t use black for space, instead using violet and blue, which makes the characters much more vibrant and gives the setting a sense of awe. The Darkstars have a blast of orange and red when they fire upon the heroes and it’s the perfect color for angry antagonists. Kilowog’s pink skin has him catching the reader’s eye every time he appears. Morey does strong work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Dave Sharpe is responsible for this issue’s narration and dialogue (the same font), scene settings and character identifiers (the same font), the story’s title, the book’s credits, yells, Hector Hammond’s thoughts, sounds, and the tease for next issue. I was disappointed that the opening narration is only differed from the dialogue by the shape and color of its box and that the scene settings and character identifiers were also similar. All four should look different as they do different things, but it is what it is. Sharpe’s sounds are as impressive as always, but the final two words that end the issue, the tease for the next chapter, are really cool looking. Overall grade: B 

The final line: The climatic battle between the Darkstars and the Lanterns has begun! The dialogue is fantastic as characters spar and the visuals are engaging. The issue leaves one wanting more and that’s exactly how one should feel after finishing a comic book. 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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