Review: HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #26 (SPOILERS)
By RUSSELL BERGER
Issue twenty-six of HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS was the start of the title’s new arc “Fall of the Gods,” which if you follow Robert Venditti (writer) on Twitter he’s teased this arc a little here and there. I’ll raise my hand and say that I’ve been a bit wishy-washy on this title since around issue six or seven, and I dropped it for a while before picking it back up and then dropping it again, BUT as Randy Quaid’s character – Russell Casse – said in Independence Day, “Hello, boys! I’m BAAAAAACK!”
This arc REALLY had my attention since its solicitation:
“FALL OF THE GODS” part one! Ancient hunters awaken across the cosmos to end Highfather and the New Gods! Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps draw the line between gods, but that won’t stop the body count as the most powerful deities in the universe go to war.
Whenever we’re talking characters on such a power level that the “Most Powerful Weapon in the Universe” – a Green Lantern Power Ring – seems like a squirt gun to them, we’re talking something massive. And massive in an already massive book equals something I’m going to check out, and man did this issue not disappoint. Right off the bat we’re introduced to these “ancient hunters,” and they have a very unique and cool eye appealing design that goes to the amazing talent of Rafa Sandoval (artist.)
They’re slick, and definitely not a design I can remember seeing before. They appear powerful just from that first shot, and that’s something that an antagonist needs. They need to be put on the “oh damn” scale right out of the gate, and the thought of placing them in space with this appearance where most of their body is “translucent” adds to this the “oh damn” scale a bunch. Rafa’s art over this entire run thus far has been a consistent wonder. He has a unique style that captures the characters in a very clean and crisp way, and it pairs fantastically with Venditti’s writing. They are truly one of the better teams (including the legendary Ethan Van Sciver who is the co-artist on the run) out of DC REBIRTH.
Something I’ve always loved about Venditti’s work on the Lantern portion of the universe and its mythos, whether it’s this title or when he was writing GREEN LANTERN back during the NEW52, is that he has an amazing way of wrapping up one arc and seamlessly transitioning into the next. We saw that in this issue as he took points from last issue, which saw the collapse of the GLC and Sinestro Corps truce and the ascension of Soranik into her father’s footsteps, as he – Venditti – touched on some fundamental relationships like John Stewart and Guy Gardner, as well as Hal and Kyle Rayner.
If you’re a Lantern fan, you’re aware that Stewart and Guy are best friends and Venditti, in my opinion, did a wonderful job at touching on that while tying up Stewart’s and Guy’s previous story arcs in nice bows all in this one page. He always has a solid grasp on the characters at their core, and the loyalty he shows the two have for one another is everything I feel it needed to successfully do what he was going for.
Hal and Kyle’s little exchange, before the issue picked up ten levels, was another solid show of understanding the characters. Hal will always be the VETERAN to them all (and GREATEST.) His style may not be the best course of action, but he gets the job done no matter what – and almost always saves the universe in the process – and we got to see Kyle riff on him a little for it, as well as Hal on Kyle for his “flaws.” Those particularly being how he’s handling what had happened between him and Soranik by making a stereotypical comment about artists and how they can’t shut up about their feelings. Of course, there were plenty of roots set down for future story arcs out of last, and that is definitely one – Kyle and Soranik – that I’m betting will return quite quickly.
No sooner the last arc is wrapped up, Venditti shoots us straight into this BLOCK BUSTER of an arc. We’re quickly introduced to a familiar face – Orion – who played a pivotal role in the “GODHEAD” arc from Venditti and Billy Tan’s (artist) run on GREEN LANTERN when the NEW GODS went to war with the Lanterns. This claps back to my point from earlier about how the Power Rings are nothing but squirt guns to these beings, and how it elevates the story to a new level, because as we find Orion it’s clear he’s fleeing from something unknown – an “ancient hunter” – to Hal and Kyle, and before we know it he’s hit with what Hal instantly refers to as, “OMEGA BEAMS!”
Omega beams were, until now, a very “exclusive” power to that of the Dark God, Darkseid, himself. The fact that these “ancient hunters” possess such capabilities, and that they nearly killed Orion with them, is a testament to my assumption that this was going to be a massive arc. It also builds these new characters as threats to not only the GLC, but also the universe, and far too often we see characters billed in such a way but they never live up to the hype. So going forward with the next issue (and so on) I hope to see the “ancient hunters” mean something instead of being another one-and-done. *COUGH* Krona’s Gauntlet brought to life. *COUGH*
Something I noticed when reading the issue was Salaak’s hesitation to give Stewart somewhere Hal, Kyle and Orion could go with Orion being severely injured. It’s something small, and could be nothing, but I’m curious to see if it turns into a something going forward if Salaak’s home planet were to be destroyed as a result of the three going there for aid. I think that could be an interesting story point, and could add a layer to Salaak’s character. Especially since the “ancient hunter” who was hot on Orion’s trail has tracked him straight there.
This issue was a great solid start to “Fall of the Gods,” and laid out plenty of potential for it to be an amazing arc at the least, which is a good sign since it’ll be going on side by side with DC METAL. And as possibly one of the biggest Hal Jordan fans there is, I hope to see him shine in this as well as some “B-level” characters getting some development and shine themselves. I give this issue a well-earned 4 out of 5 stars.
HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #26 is currently available, and HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #27 will be hitting shelves of local comic shops nearest you on Wednesday, August 23.