Man I have to tell you that sometimes the mythical fifth week can be a real buzzkill for issues, you are looking forward to the following month. It’s been two months since Hal’s rogue status quo and while it’s impossible to judge a new direction so soon, but usually the third issue begins to cement the foreseeable future of a run. Hal Jordan being a “renegade” can be seen as good entry point but as Robert Venditti knows that you need to be able to hook readers for however long your story is. Also in shocking news to Ethan Van Sciver returns!
Despite that we were given a tease of Black Hand and his current “problems” is what Venditti centers the issue around. While others will cry foul that Venditti is simply reusing a character made popular by Geoff Johns. On the surface I agree, but this Black Hand is completely different from how he appeared in Blackest Night. The former pawn of the Black Lantern corps always had a tinge of creepiness, but Venditti has managed to make him creepier, by making him pine for life. It helps that Ethan Van Sciver (who is partially responsible for the current visual style of Black Hand) emphasizes the rotting skin with pulsing veins, it’s quite disgusting to look at.
As I read this issue it’s clear that Venditti is becoming more comfortable with this new dynamic surrounding Hal, which provides as I’ve stated before a fresh conversations that haven’t been seen before. The key example of this being the dialog exchanges between Hal and his personal ship Darlene, which is humorous in all the right ways. The feeling of camaraderie between the three shipmates and the ship itself is certainly a welcome change from the police office edict that was the Green Lantern Corps.
The introduction of Relic did leave me a bit puzzled though. With his only role being a form of exposition to explain Black Hand’s future, which fits with Relic’s past characterization and while he was able to deliver said exposition fine enough it wasn’t the most interesting aspect of this issue. Which is completely fine given that once again it was Relic relaying said information.
What else more could be said about legendary Green Lantern artist Ethan Van Sciver. His impeccable detail is spot on as usual, but what really wowed me was his vertical introduction of Relic. I’ve praised other artist for their sense of scale with Relic, but Van Sciver depiction might be the best one yet. Even outside of the initial vertical introduction, Van Sciver keeps the sense of scale in check. Add on top of his rendition of Hal and crew’s dynamic escape from Relic, it’s easy to say that seeing Van Sciver on interiors was a pleasant surprise.
Even though Green Lantern #43 was more of an exposition dump from Relic, the combination of the amazing art by Ethan Van Sciver and Robert Venditti becoming more comfortable with Hal’s new supporting cast made this issue an enjoyable read.
Green Lantern #43 earns a 4/5
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