The war inches closer in another exciting issue that sees Hal start to atone for some of his mistakes and become a real leader.
The issue starts with a nice, emotional scene where Hal and Morro open up the new Corps Crypt. Given all of the Lanterns that have died in recent stories, this is more than necessary. Of course, the central death being commemorated here is Kyle Rayner’s, and it was good to see Hal show real emotion about it, even if it is weird knowing that Kyle isn’t actually dead at all. Hal remarks later that he needs to talk about this with Carol Ferris, but as we know, she’s out there with Kyle. I wonder what the reaction will be when the rest of the Corps finds out that Kyle is alive? At this point, they might be more pissed off than happy about it.
After this, Hal and his new Advisors (Kilowog, Salaak and Two-Six) get back to the business in hand, the war with the Durlans. Their destination is an interstellar port where a Khund Warship is docked. Salaak has a pre-existing relationship with the member of the Trading Company that runs the port, who’s a cute little dog man. This dog man stops the Lanterns and Khunds from killing each other right there, as he and his company pride themselves on staying neutral in all conflicts. The only way to resolve their argument aboard the port is through single combat. Sometimes I think Earth is the only culture in the universe that doesn’t solve everything through combat. Hal of course volunteers, and so a fight is set up between him and a Khund General. If Hal wins, they get to commandeer the Warship. If the Khundn wins, he can take all 4 Lanterns into custody, and you can bet that having the leader of the Corps in chains would be very advantageous to the Khund/Durlan alliance.
Venditti continues to write Hal brilliantly well, particularly in the short scene before the fight, where Hal, the other Lanterns and the Khunds are in the bar, getting ready. Hal and the Khund talk, and they realize that, in another life, they might have been friends. But they aren’t friends, and the fight between them is pretty brutal, especially as Hal can’t use his ring. But we see Hal finally start to think before just jumping in, and he is pretty damn sneaky here. He causes the Khund to get his 2-bladed dagger thing stuck in the wall, and then manages to maneuver him into slamming into his own weapon. Hal wins, but he still wants to save his opponent’s life. But the other Khunds aren’t having it, nope, he lost, so he dies, they kill him, and say that Hal saving him would have offended him. The Khund’s certainly are a different species. So now the Corps has a Khund warship? What are they gonna do with it? That’s going to be weird.
The issue ends with the Durlan spy being discovered by the other Lanterns, and killed by Mukmuk, the fish Lantern who found his supply of energy last time. It looks like Mukmuk is a Durlan also, and that the conspiracy goes a lot deeper than thought. I’m ready for this event to begin now, the build-up has been brilliant, and now all of those dominoes are going to topple in glorious fashion. Hal might think he got a win here, but he doesn’t know what’s coming.
Martin Coccolo steps up to draw the whole of the issue this time, and his work looked a lot better here than the few pages we got last time, reminding me almost of Francis Manapul, but that might just be because of the Detective Comics preview in the back!