Robert Venditti continues to do an excellent job at showing us just how much the game has changed for Hal and the rest of the Green Lanterns in this post-Lights Out universe.
Hal and Kilowog are surrounded by Prixiam Nol-Anj and her entire Clann, and those are not good odds. Not only is this hundreds of guns aimed a their heads, it’s also a Star Sapphire that’s stronger than most, because she’s powered by the love of all of those gunners. Every time that the two Lanterns try and concentrate on one of these threats, the other hits them from the side. I really liked one moment in this fight, when Hal admitted that his constructs were basic (like the serving tray he uses to save Kilowog) because, well, he doesn’t put much thought into them. We all know how ridiculous it is that Hal’s imagination seems to only stretch as far as ‘boxing glove’, so it was cool to see Venditti have Hal acknowledge that, and, as I’ve said before, Venditti seems much more aware of Hal’s flaws, and that makes him a better character in my book.
Another cool wrinkle in the fight is that both Hal and Kilowog are worried about draining the emotional reservoir in the fight, which adds an even bigger sense of urgency, not just here, but in every GL fight going forward. As a last-ditch gambit, Hal sends out a distress call to every other Green Lantern out there to come save him, and they do, including freaking Mogo, which is great. Venditti continues to address the small sect of Lanterns who are now refusing to use their rings, and how that’s causing tension amongst the Corps, but once they get planetside, we see that these Lanterns are well and truly capable of kicking some ass even without their rings.
In another continuing subplot that really has changed the GL world, we see that, to the Clann, the Lanterns are villains, as small children and old ladies throw garbage at them. Is Hal doing the right thing here? As he admits later, it took the entire Corps to help him disarm one single Star Sapphire. Venditti and the other GL writers have really turned things around, and now both the characters and the audience are made to question the very purpose and methods of the Corps. I’m loving these added layers of complexity, especially because it’s without the ridiculously over-the-top evil that the Guardians were towards the end.
Hal is able to make Prixiam and the Clann surrender by having Mogo come too close to the planet and causes gravitational problems, which is fucking awesome, and I love that the Corps is now truly mobile, these backwater planets are now able to be policed as well. So, the Clann surrenders, with Prixiam allowed to go free, as long as she hands over her Violet ring, but there’s a twist, as she now knows the secret about how wielding rings destroys the Universe, and will spread that around the surrounding planets, further fucking with the Corps’ reputation. At first, this doesn’t seem like a big deal, as I said, it’s a backwater planet, but the last page reveals something very cool indeed, and it’s that one of the little kids who threw rocks at Hal… is actually a Durlan! Those evil shape-shifters have been a part of the Green Lantern Corps series recently, and I’m excited to see that plot become even more important, making it’s way to the main book. The Durlans know the big secret, and I’m guessing it’s a part of their ‘next phase’.
The Green Lantern books are really good right now, the plots are interesting, the writers are really changing things up, and the art, in this case from Billy Tan, is uniformly great. If you left when Johns did, think again, the new teams are a breath of fresh air.