Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #44 – Robert Venditti, Writer; Brandon Peterson, Artist; Ivan Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Those double-sized panels are gorgeous.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: After the last issue showed us the power of the Darkstars, things are going from bad to worse in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #44, as the Green Lantern Corps is quickly being forced into obsolescence by the ruthless new law enforcement game in town. That leads to some unusual alliances being formed. The issue starts with a tense segment as Tomar-Tu returns to Earth, paying a visit to his father’s accidental killer Goldface (Tomar-Re was killed due to a misunderstanding during the Crisis). That doesn’t matter to him, though, and as soon as he finds out Goldface is back in prison for minor crimes, the new Darkstar carries out an execution. This brings together Hal and Barry to investigate the case, and Hal confesses his occasional sympathies for the Darkstars. However, the Flash is the least surprising guest-star this issue, as the Green Lanterns start looking up some unsavory elements to partner with in the second half of the issue.
It makes sense in this case – who would have more to fear from the Darkstars than the criminals of the galaxy? Guy Gardener heads to the planet Heep, where he meets up with his frenemy Arkillo ever since they parted ways when the Lanterns and Sinestro Corps violently divorced. That reunion goes off smoothly – they’ll probably brawl, drink, and then team up. Kyle, meanwhile, hitches a ride from Space Cabbie and heads to the far reaches of space, seeking an audience with Orion, whose life he saved a while back. Instead, he’s greeted with armed soldiers – maybe a tie-in to Orion’s questionable mental state in Mister Miracle? John Stewart takes on the most dangerous mission, attempting a parley with General Zod – armed with the only thing that could make the mad dictator listen. And Hal, staying on Earth, attempts to restore the mind of the catatonic Hector Hammond only to be met with an unconventional jail guard. Venditti’s been writing Green Lantern for over five years now, and this is his final act. Right now, it definitely looks like one to remember, as everything’s on the table.
Corrina: I, um, I love the philosophical debate here on crime and punishment and the difference in tactics by the GL Corps and the Darkstars. I’m just not sure their actions make sense in the context of that debate.
In order to stop the Darkstars, who are criminals, the Green Lanterns are going to team up with people who are criminals as well? Arkillo makes some sense, given his connection to Guy, but Zod? Isn’t that giving Zod entirely too much power in this? And doesn’t that sully the Lantern ideals, in any case? I know, the team-ups will no doubt appeal to many readers but I would love to have seen the unexpected, like the GL Corps teaming up with law enforcement officers who do not believe in criminal punishment or beings who work to reform those who’ve done wrong, or even the religious who hold all life sacred.
The message from this search for criminals to help them seems to be that compassion is weak and therefore to defeat uber-powerful Darkstars, you don’t need compassion, you need muscle and darkness.
Can compassionate or deeply moral beings also fight and be useful? I guess not.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.