After Geoff Johns’ nine year epic, I really didn’t think that the books’s new author, Robert Venditti, would be able to do anything new with the Hal Jordan. Now that we’re three issues in, I know that I was wrong about that. In issue #21, they made him the leader of the Green Lantern corps, and, finally, two issues later, we get to see how he deals with it. And really, he’s way too emotional to be leading anything. Or maybe it’s because of that that he makes such a good leader. I don’t know what exactly it is, but he’s the opposite of the old, dead Guardians.
He actually kind of loses it when he finds out about a dead recruit that he never met. It’s cool to see him as leader, both when he’s meeting the new recruits (in a scene that’s actually kind of funny), and when he’s mourning the dead lanterns. Sadly, this doesn’t last. Unsurprisingly, he goes after Nol-Anj (the new Star Sapphire that escaped last issue) and, unsurprisingly, he goes after her alone. The fight scene is pretty cool, and Billy Tan does a great job drawing it, but it all feels kind of pointless. Nol-Anj doesn’t really feel like a threat, and, at least to me, her only purpose was to show Hal what’s going on with Carol.
Seeing that is fine (especially since I don’t read New Guardians), but I would have liked more from the character. We may get more, yes, but it’s looking like she’s just going to be dwarfed by the first big threat facing Hal and the GL’s since Johns left; Relic. This issue is bogged down by needless exposition that is most likely being used to cede future events in the book, and it all comes off as feeling more like a place holder than anything else.
I mean, it’s not like the book is bad or anything, in fact, up until Hal Jordan left Oa, I had no complaints with it at all. Venditti’s a great writer, but that doesn’t seem to translate to villains. As a well established villain, it was easy to use Larfleeze, but now that he’s using one he created, he’s left the reader to fill in the gaps. We know Nol-Anj’s motivation, yes, but her character feels under developed and used incorrectly.
Other than that rather large complaint, I actually enjoyed this issue. It’s certainly not a high for the book, but it’s not bad either. In fact, I am kind of conflicted with this issue. I love the scenes on Oa, Venditti writes a great Hal Jordan, the art is stellar, and Nol-Anj seemed like a great villain. It’s just that her underdevelopment really bugs me.
Score: 7.9, Enjoyable
Despite an underdeveloped antagonist, Robert Venditti manages to craft a near great issue of Green Lantern. He had huge shoes to fill with Geoff Johns’ departure, and he’s slowly growing into them. He does a great job with the Green Lanterns, and writes a great Hal Jordan. All of this is backed by Billy Tan’s excellent, vibrant artwork. This books is good, it’s just not as great as it used to be.