We are now into the third of month for the duo of Robert Venditti and Billy Tan and it seems they are finding their footing, as drama continues with the battle against Larfleeze, the death of Green Lantern under Hal’s leadership, and the escape of a newly christened Star Sapphire. Needless to say, Robert Venditti is taking Green Lantern book in a positive direction for the book, but maybe not for Hal Jordan. It’s clear that three months now, this particular series is on a slower burn approach then the rest of the corps books which isn’t inherently a wrong way to tell a story, but in fact distinguishes it from the three other books. The question that should be ask, can Venditti and Tan keep going at this pace while satisfying new and old readers alike? Well let’s open page one and find out shall we?
We begin our issue with aftermath of attack on Oa, and here we get our actual first glimpse at Hal in a leadership in a non combat situation. Here is where Venditti shows that he understands who Hal is as a person and how he would react given the recent circumstances. Venditti does a excelling job of showing the new weight that Hal carries, but true to form Hal tries to circumvent this burden with his sarcasm. Although Hal does deflect with his wit when it comes to death it becomes no laughing matter for Hal. While the plot didn’t move in these few pages, and nothing ground breaking took place this was an example of a doing establishing a tone for the title character moving forward but pages are not wasted, more writers should learn from this. Billy Tan’s and Rob Hunters’ pages seem to vary in this opening salvo, the non humanoid lanterns are well drawn, but Hal’s body is very inconsistent from the first few pages. What Tan and Hunter do however a great job of showing Hal’s newly gained position, whether it’s Hal rubbing his eyes or Hal’s brow down during a quiet scene.
While many people will come out of the wood work to proclaim the hate for Geoff Johns, the one thing he did that he steered away from towards the latter half of his run was the concept of Green Lanterns as space cops. We are treated to a procedural between Hal and Kilowog over our recently escaped Star Sapphire, and the scene does a nice job of it feeling familiar to anyone who has seen a cop show, but Venditti still understands that this is still Green Lantern and the reader won’t become lost during the lingo. Mixing in with procedural, is a exchange between Kilowog not liking Hal still trying to do everything himself, Kilowog himself even calls Hal out for attempting to show off. With this world balloon, it has allowed the reader to potentially questions Hals motivations which is a question that should be ask. Maybe it’s Hal’s subconscious that’s making him want to go it alone, maybe it’s him being separated from Carol, or the most logical one it’s because he doesn’t want anybody to die needlessly.
Our next few pages deal with our exposition for our escaped prisoner and a little bit of what her world is like. While these pages can be seen as filler, they should be read as nice universe building and that their are other planets with varying ecosystems and different ways of living. Something that has been missing in recent years where earth became the center of attention.
The last few action pages sums up why this issue is a nice read. The reader is treated to nice but quick action sequence between Hal and some guards from the previous pages. the true crux for the climax is a battle between Prixaim and Hal. In a messed up assault, and it is made clear that while Hal didn’t seem that upset when Carol broke up with him, he of course still loves her and thinks about her and in true forboding fashion we see Kyle, Carol, Saint Walker, over Odyum and Relic’s ship is “sucking” out the Blue Power Battery. This is a wonderful way of combining one series with another in elegant fashion. The reader is teased just enough to find out more and this double page spread serves to build up lights out even more so. Now Hal is off to help Carol and it seems that dreaded Hal/Carol/Kyle love triangle is coming, now while Hal most likely won’t see Kyle as a “threat” to take away Carol, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out in New Guardians.
Overall this issue of Green Lantern was a entertaining read, bringing back good concepts while mixing in new characters and places while pushing towards the much anticipated Lights Out crossover. Billy Tan and Rob Hunter continue to do a nice job and they seem to be getting better with each issue.
Green Lantern #23 receives a 3.5/5
Review by Ben Castruita