Green Lantern #26 Review
on December 5, 2013
Robert Venditti delivers a fun and thought provoking issue of Green Lantern, as Hal Jordan and Kilowog continue trying to take down and capture the crime lord (or lady) Star Sapphire Nol-Anj on the planet Dekann.
Venditti continues to explore the precarious situation the Corps is in and I admit that I’m intrigued with where things are going. The Corps is weakened from its battles with the Third Army and the First Lantern, they’ve lost their reputation as respected peace keepers across the universe, and ever since the “Lights Out” event, they’ve learned they are contributing to the death of the universe each time they use their power rings. To top things off, they currently have formidable enemies in the Durlans, the Khund, and the Clann. What’s more, is there are Corps members who choose not to use their rings anymore, given their supposed hazardous properties.
Billy Tan continues great visual depictions of new Star Sapphire, Nol-Anj.
That’s a lot to deal with! Venditti has presented captivating ways to test the Green Lantern Corps that don’t involve the tired color wars or ever rising universal threats (which progressively get sillier) of previous writer Geoff Johns, and he deserves commendation for that.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of all this, though, is that Venditti poses the tough questions of what is right and what is wrong. There are a lot of gray areas within the current story arc, and it’s interesting seeing how the characters deal with them. They don’t deal with all of them in the same way, which presents juicy character conflict. This will likely come to a head in Green Lantern Corps #26, which will feature a clash between Green Lanterns Hal Jordan and John Stewart.
The story of this issue picks up directly from Green Lantern #25. Hal Jordan and Kilowog are outnumbered by Nol-Anj’s Clann. The two GL’s attempt to take down the Star Sapphire, but every time they get her on the ropes, her goons jump in and blast them. She’s amped up more than your usual Star Sapphire, due to feeding off the love her sizable Clann has for her.
The battle scene is pretty great. There are lots of clever constructs and maneuvers and a good sense of motion and frenzy going on. Artist Billy Tan steps up to the plate with the strongest effort he’s yet shown on the title.
The fighting goes back and forth, but the Lanterns eventually admit they’re in over their heads. Hal opens up a channel to all Green Lanterns and summons them to Dekann for support.
We’re then brought to an interesting scene on Mogo where Vath Sarn calls out Graf, Hannu, and Tomar for not wanting to use their rings anymore. Vath sees it as their responsibility to answer Hal Jordan’s call, and believes the trio is only weakening the Corps, since the other Lanterns are depending on them.
However, Graf and the other like-minded Lanterns plan on fulfilling their duties without having to rely on their rings. I have to wonder how these three plan on being cosmic enforcers in the same capacity as they were without their power rings. They’d need something to give them an edge over all the criminals, disasters, and such they’d encounter in the universe. There are other alternatives, such as the Darkstars’ suits, but as they are now, they’re just regular people… as far as aliens go.
This issue showcases a high energy battle filled with great sights.
Vath seals the three in a bubble and takes them against their will. The Green Lantern Corps, including Mogo and John Stewart, set off for Dekann.
As the battle between the Clann Braidmen and Hal and Kilowog continues, Hal manages to get a hold of Granack, the lead Braidman, and begins roughing him up. Suddenly, a small child throws a can at Hal’s head, and claims to be Granack’s son. He declares that the Green Lanterns are the bad ones. Shortly after that, the rest of the citizens join in and begin trying to pelt the Lanterns with various pieces of debris. Nol-Anj brings out how the people of the planet are devoted to her, and all she is doing is ensuring their livelihoods stay intact. Hal won’t hear any of that, since the way she is ensuring their livelihoods is based on crime.
The rest of the Corps eventually arrives and joins in the rumble. Graf proves he can fight without his ring when he saves Vath from a Braidman who is approaching from behind him. Vath is satisfied with Graf’s abilitiy to fight without using his ring.
Green Lanterns have disagreements on whether using power rings that drain the vital emotional reservoir is a prudent thing to do.
No matter how many times the Lanterns knock down the citizens of Dekann, they get up and keep fighting. Hal realizes that the populace of Dekann needs to be shown that they’re fighting a battle they can’t hope to win. He calls on Mogo, and the sentient planet gets within close proximity to Dekann and causes a devastating quake on Dekann, knocking down the buildings and rattling its people.
Hal Jordan tells Nol-Anj that she can’t win, and she needs to give up before people start dying. Nol-Anj, while tending to her wounded followers, then tells of her grievances with the Corps, saying that the Corps neglected them to fight in color wars while their worlds fell into chaos, and now the Corps expects them to submit to Green Lantern rule. Nol-Anj discovered a way to look after her people without the aid of the Corps, and now the GL’s are seeking to unravel it.
Hal Jordan admits that what happened in the past wasn’t right, but the Corps is the law and the Clann are criminals, and that’s all there is to it.
Granack offers a truce. All the Braidmen surrender, but Nol-Anj goes free. Hal doesn’t see the Braidmen as being in a position to make some kind of deal, seeing as the Corps has way more power behind it than them. Granack admits they can’t beat the Lanterns, but if the Lanterns don’t agree, they will have to kill them, as the Braidmen will fight to the last.
The Green Lantern Corps finds itself battling the populace of Dekann. The conflict is settled by using Mogo to cause an earthquake, destroying the buildings of the people, on Hal Jordan’s order.
Kilowog convinces Hal to take the deal, seeing as if they don’t, there won’t be any winners, and they can get Nol-Anj later. Hal demands Nol-Anj surrender her ring. The Star Sapphire decides to do so, if there is no other way.
Nol-Anj says she’s going to spread the word that whenever Lanterns use their rings, they destroy the universe. Hal doesn’t know how she knows about that.
The Braidmen are captured and the battle ends, but Hal and Kilowog are left unsatisfied, due to the embarrassing fact that they had to call in all the Lanterns on Mogo and Mogo itself just to get the ring from one Star Sapphire. Hal wanted to give the Corps a strong victory, but it turned into a fiasco, and the criminal Star Sapphire walked away free, albeit without a ring. Once again, Hal Jordan appears as a dunderhead.
Kilowog assures Hal Jordan that things will work out, and nobody will hear about what happened, or that Lanterns destroy the universe.
Watching in the shadows, the boy who declared himself to be Granack’s son is talking to a waitress. They’re both satisfied with the ridiculous performance of the Corps, and Hal Jordan’s iron clad policies. They then morph into Durlans. They’ve received word that Salaak is en route to Mogo with the Citadel, and that it’s time for them to begin their next phase.
This story is quite interesting.
Venditti continues to portray Hal Jordan as a questionable character. Granted, the situation he’s put in here is a difficult one, but Hal continues to lead the Corps in a manner that isn’t going to do it any good. Destroying the homes and establishments of Dekann with a massive quake probably isn’t the best way to go about solving the situation, and it’s reminiscent of Lt. Tasker’s ‘they chose their side now let them suffer‘ mindset from Green Lantern Corps #25. It can even be argued that part of the impetus for the Green Lanterns going after Nol-Anj (policing the emotional spectrum) is wrong.
I still have a hard time sympathizing with Hal Jordan or his actions. He makes up rules on the fly that affect the entire universe without even consulting anyone else, he does not clearly define those rules, he doesn’t show much respect for the people he’s supposed to be protecting, he brushes suggestions made by other Corps members (like John Stewart) aside, and he’s basically all around bumbling. We have to wonder where all of this is going.
Since the writing is so heavy handed, and obviously intentionally meant to besmirch Hal Jordan, I can’t help but wonder if it is editorially mandated. To step away from focusing just on this comic for a bit, many of us know that the Green Lantern movie, cartoon, and merchandise related to those things -all of which revolved around Hal Jordan- wound up being an extreme utter bust for Warner Bros. Could the big parent company have told their comic book publishers and editors to cool off on Hal Jordan to make room for another Green Lantern? Specifically John Stewart, who they’ve been portraying very competently recently, and putting a lot of effort into his comic series?
The Durlans, enemies featured in Green Lantern Corps, show up in this issue of Green Lantern.
Sure, that sounds like the wishful thinking of a raging John Stewart fan, but it has to be admitted that with every issue of Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps that comes out, it’s looking more and more like that is the agenda, and we’re just watching it play out.
Some have brought out arguments that DC intentionally cooled off on the Wally West version of The Flash so that audiences would be more welcoming to the Barry Allen version, who DC planned to bring back and have take over The Flash comic book. I’ve argued that DC intentionally blackballed John Stewart while they were promoting Hal Jordan. So, yes, I think they do these things!
Getting back to the issue, as mentioned, Billy Tan’s art is a bit more solid than usual. It’s still shaky in parts, such as Hal Jordan and John Stewart’s uniforms not being drawn quite right, and the same sketchy look throughout, but it’s pretty pleasing to the eye, for the most part. Not spectacular, but better than it has been. Nol-Anj has a great design. And the constructs! They’re a lot of fun!
Venditti’s run on Green Lantern seems to be a series of hits and misses. Actually, “hits” might be giving the successes too much credit, and “misses” might be casting too much criticism. It’s been a series of mostly mediocre issues with a few pretty decent ones poking through. This issue is one of the better ones, and for the time being, I’m interested in seeing what will happen next. However, there have been several times when Green Lantern has left me wondering why I’m even reading the title.
Some people have taken issue with Robert Venditti because of his portrayal of Hal Jordan. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but my problems with Venditti weren’t/aren’t due to that. I actually think his take on the character is interesting, even if the character is off-putting to me (but the character has been off-putting to me ever since Johns revived him). I was more concerned with Venditti just writing a dull book.
I am also concerned that Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps are a bit too interconnected. It’s interesting seeing the Durlan story and the Clann story converge here, but I would like it better if Green Lantern Corps contained its own adventures, which it kinda‘ does, but at the same time, it kinda‘ doesn’t. Hal Jordan’s enemies become John Stewart’s enemies and vice versa. It’s not necessarily a fault in the writing or storytelling, but I’d like to see the characters of John Stewart and Hal Jordan separated more.
One criticism people sometimes lob at John Stewart is that he doesn’t have much of a rogues gallery to himself. Well… build him one! Or take pre-existing enemies, like Kanjar-Ro or Evil Star, and give them a closer connection to John Stewart. He’s got his own book, what better time to do it than now? I thought the Durlans would be a threat that he in particular would face (with the help of his supporting cast, of course), but to bring Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern title into it is a bit disappointing to me. I don’t want to see the two Green Lanterns dealing with the same problems all the time. We know Hal Jordan will be in Green Lantern Corps #26, and likely the Annual coming up, but I hope these titles go their own ways more as things go on.
The interconnectedness is done very well, and is quite charming, as Robert Venditti and Van Jensen (writer of Green Lantern Corps) are close friends and live within such close proximity to each other (and even write GLC together), but I want to see these characters grow on their own, not together. It is a vast, vast, VAST universe, after all.
Venditti is definitely going somewhere with all of this. It will be interesting to find out where. Wherever it’s going, I’m sure that it will greatly affect Hal Jordan. Yet… by the looks of things, I’m not so sure it will affect him in a positive way. Let’s see what happens next in Green Lantern Corps.
3.5 out of 5 stars.