HAPPY 75TH GREEN LANTERN!!! While yes we should technically be celebrating Alan Scott by himself, I won’t be a grump this time around but instead we will celebrate the concept of what being a Green Lantern is. It’s hard to believe the original concept of Green Lantern created by Bill Finger and Martin Nodell has lasted seventy five years, while also morphing into various incarnations. Proving that comic characters are malleable and while most fans who will read this know that change isn’t forever it bears repeating sometimes. So instead of complaining about the current state of Hal Jordan’s hair let’s enjoy this off road romp.
Even though Green Lantern as a concept is primarily a cosmic adventure setting, that setting has let writers in the past pull in from other genres. Venditti himself has done this early in his initial run with Hal and Kilowog visiting a western esque planet. In this issue Venditti combines the trope of visiting a town hiding a secret, with Hal playing the role of the gungslinger looking for help. This is surely the weakest aspect of the issue particularly due to Venditti introducing this mysterious shadowy figure, yet by the time the issue is over there really isn’t a resolution to this mysterious entity.
It’s not upsetting in the least but the lack of any mention or hint of a possible return made this one shot issue feel less resolute. I’m hoping that Venditti has plans for this mysterious character down the road. In comparison to the previous issue, Venditti brings the tempo down a bit and uses that slowed down pace to build a relationship between Hal and Trapper. While Trapper has been in the book since the start this is the first issue where genuine character development between Hal and Trapper has been made. Their relationship seems to provide the spice for this book. Although given that Venditti has laid the foundation for Trapper as a criminal I wouldn’t be surprised to see this relationship burn in the end.
Another aspect that Venditti continues to play with is Hal and his control of his new power source, which I find fascinating. Using the premise that Geoff Johns started in Rebirth and applying that to the use of the Krona’s glove is pure genius. Seeing the wear and tear on Hal begin to show adds even more weight to this series.
Billy Tan returns (along with Martin Coccolo) on penciling duties and once again Tan’s art continues to serve the story. Story telling remains consistent but the art change from Tan to Coccolo was not as seamless as previous changes were. Coccolo has a smoother line whereas Tan is rougher around the edges. That being said both whichever artist had the pleasure of designing the look for the Thanagarians for this issue.
Some might see this issue as filler, but when you examine the issue closer one can see that Venditti is slowly building the cast around Hal while simultaneously laying the foundation for Hal’s inner struggle with the overwhelming power of Krona’s gauntlet. Also Darlene’s quips continue to remain one of the highlights of the series so far.
Green Lantern #44 earns a 3/5
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