Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #43 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Rafa Sandoval, Penciller; Jordi Tarragona, Inker; Tomeu Morey, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Robert Venditti’s final arc began in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42 with an opening scene that set up the most powerful threat to the Corps yet – the Darkstars, a ruthless band of space police serving as judge, jury, and executioner – with the support of disgraced former Green Lantern Tomar-Tu, who was sentenced to the ScienCells for killing his archnemesis and has now fully embraced the Darkstars’ more ruthless approach to justice. That approach is illustrated in graphic fashion in the opening page of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #43, as we see them brutally take out one criminal group after another – including a prison full of inmates serving life sentences. The Lanterns are able to convince the Guardians that they need to take action quickly against this new force, but when John’s squad of Lanterns approaches their home base, they find themselves sabotaged, sent back to Mogo – with one exception, Hal, who finds himself in the Darkstars’ home base.
The visual where the Darkstars, weapons at the ready, reveal themselves in their full numbers, is one of the best visuals of the issue and drives home the Darkstars’ MO as villains. They’re not into overt displays of power and cruelty, preferring to intimidate through silent strength that essentially neutralize their opponents. Tomar-Tu takes the lead, presenting the Darkstars’ case and showing that they’ve essentially turned the Controllers into their slaves. This doesn’t assuage Hal, who is even more horrified by what his friend has become. This leads into a final showdown on Mogo, where the Darkstars essentially have the Lanterns at their mercy and display just how easily they could wipe them out before pulling back. This leaves the Lanterns in a position where they can have their whole purpose stripped away, or go to war with an incredibly powerful enemy. We’ve got arguably the most compelling antagonist of the series as Venditti’s run moves into its final act.
Corrina: As I was flipping through the digital review copy, I grew frustrated because, once again, old-school reader that I am, I wanted to experience the splash page that reveals the full strength of the Darkstars in all it’s glory. Alas, I’ll have to hit the comic book shop for the print copy.
So far so good with the plot but I can’t help but wonder where it’s going. If the GL Corps win, saying that people deserve a second chance to be redeemed, which seems to be where this is going, that is an incomplete rendering of a complex real-life issue, the death penalty.
I don’t see the other part of this discussion yet: that not imposing the death penalty has nothing to do with whether the victims deserve it or not but, instead, that killing inevitably changes the executioner. A being who chooses to murder, especially more than once, is altered, perhaps lost. Tomar-Tu is an excellent example of that because he murdered, and it changed him, and he says those in the sciencecells deserve to die now. But since he’s a murderer, does that include his deserving to die as well? (Perhaps this is the way the Corps takes down the Darkstars. We’ll see.)
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.