Before you continue to read this review, think about the concept of death. It’s a force that constantly shrouds on our day to day lives, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. Over the past decade under the care of various writers Black Hand has morphed from joke character to current cosmic threat. It’s interesting to have a character be enamored with the idea of death, when death in the world of superheroes is just a joke at this point. Regardless it’s clear that Robert Venditti has an endgame for William Hand, now it appears time for the endgame to begin.
Despite the fact that Black Hand has been responsible for these planets turning into stone, here Venditti treats him as he should be. A cosmic hurricane ready to destroy anything in it’s path. The scene of Hal describing Black Hand’s trajectory and ultimate destination feels ripped straight from a disaster movie. Granted we’ve seen what Black Hand is capable of in the first issue of this new arc, the scale becomes immense. Some might point out that he had a bigger role in Blackest Night but that’s not accurate since he was simply a puppet to a larger entity.
Continuing on the William Hand train, Geoff John’s reinvented him to become more obsessed with Death, here Venditti stays the course but adds a childish element to it. Instead of coming off as this imposing villain with a diabolic plan, William Hand is a disturbed kid who wants nothing more than to go home, which honestly makes him creepier. There’s something inherently terrifying about children who are in a horror setting or they just come off as plain creepy.
To many comic fans, Ivan Reis and Ethan Van Sciver are the definitive artists for Black Hand, Billy Tan brings his own spin onto the character. It’s still the same Black Hand of recent memory, but Tan’s facial expressions and body language give Black Hand’s an added dimension. Tan’s art unites all the various elements from Venditti’s scripts to make the amagalmized monster that is the current incarnation of Black Hand. Not to mention that Tan’s did an excellent job with the fight between Hal and Black Hand, as he switches from lost and disturbed child to pure psycho, complete with maniacal smile.
I know I haven’t been speaking about the star of this book, but honestly nothing interesting happens him until he encounters William Hand. This isn’t a terrible idea, since by now most readers have the dynamic down between Hal and his motley crew. Although the more dialog for Darlene the better simply because of her witty answers to anything Hal says. Given the nature of storytelling though it’s clear to anybody with a right mind that Hal’s crew will be involved in the next issue in some fashion.
This issue of Green Lantern is prime example that you bring something new to a character without altering something just to fit a particular narrative. So while fans of Hal Jordan may not be happy but I think the new disaster that is Black Hand balances makes up for it. Overall an entertaining issue with a dash of creepiness, fitting for this the season.
Green Lantern #45 earns a 4/5