Hal Jordan is the last living Green Lantern we know of, recently had to fight Parallax, and is currently being hunted by cops and criminals. Things aren’t looking up for GL as of late, plus the last issue ended with a cliffhanger that was new levels of bizarre for even Hal.
Will we get more information on this mystery, will Hal bugger off earth, and more importantly is it good?
Green Lantern #51 (DC Comics)
So what’s it about? Per DC Comics’ solicit:
Who—or what—are the Gray Agents? They’re deadly and determined—and they’ve captured Trapper, Virgo and Darlene the ship in order to track down Hal. And that’s just the start of their campaign to set themselves up as the new law in the universe! Pity anyone who gets in their way. The first of a two-part story that will usher in a new era for Hal Jordan.
Why does this book matter?
Robert Venditti certainly offered an action-packed issue #50 even if it was an issue that didn’t do much in regards to an alternate universe Hal Jordan. Yes that’s right, Hal fought himself — only he was in Parallax form with jagged teeth. Though Hal is stronger with his gauntlet power rings you can’t deny his new form is intriguing.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Venditti doesn’t disappoint if you wanted some answers in regards to Hal going in full construct mode on the last page of the last issue. More questions arise than answers, but it’s certainly creating a new mystery that’s exciting to read. We also get a nice reminder of who Hal’s dad was, why Hal’s ability to overcome fear allows him to be a Green Lantern, and a good send off onto his next story arc. This is new reader friendly and in a lot of ways this issue feels like a rebalancing of the series direction.
That’s the first half. The rest of the issue is all about what is described in the solicit above. We’re talking space ships, wild looking aliens, and space pirates! The majority of this section is action and a call to action for Hal as the perpetrator of the violence wants some kind of justice. It’s certainly a wild direction and throws a lot of new elements into the fray for Hal to overcome in the next issue.
Rafa Sandoval’s pencils continue to delight – especially the construct version of Hal – and a double page layout reminding us how Hal got here is fantastic. The later scenes in space are quite good as well, showcasing the different fighting styles of these alien characters. I also like the designs quite a bit with a frog alien sporting some kind of behind the head monitor that gives him a technologically advanced feel.
It can’t be perfect can it?
But does the space pirate stuff go on too long? On some level it reads like filler spending 13 or so pages focused on characters I barely know or care about. I’m a newer reader to this series so maybe I’m not emotionally invested enough yet to care, but new readers who jumped on with #50 will feel the same.
It does not help that the action – while exciting – slows down to 3 or 4 panels a page. Again, it’s as if the story needs a bit of decompression to allow for the following issues. It will certainly not hurt when read in a collected format, but as a single issue this issue feels light on content.
Is It Good?
A fantastic opening that reminds us why Hal is great while also introducing a new power that’s a real mystery. The action is fun too, but expect a slightly decompressed issue here.
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