The Green Lantern Corps is turning to some unlikely allies to prepare for their inevitable showdown with the Darkstars. They’re up against a far superior force both in numbers and in firepower so they need to call in every favor they’ve got to bolster their ranks. Fortunately, they have a pretty good negotiating chip. Since the Darkstars are targeting criminals and putting them down, the Green Lanterns are reaching out to the bad guys with an offer. Fight alongside them and they’ll live to see another day. Not a bad deal, right?
This has John Stewart talking with General Zod, Guy Gardner chatting it up with his buddy, Yellow Lantern Arkillo, and Hal Jordan picking up Hector Hammond. Kyle is also reaching out to Orion and the New Gods, but he’s not shown in this issue, despite appearing on the cover. These outreaches are pretty great, especially if you’ve been reading Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps from the beginning. Writer Robert Venditti touches upon every arc of the series to date as we head into the final stretch of not only his run on the title, but the title itself. That’s a pretty great way to wrap things up.
While the focus is on this unorthodox recruitment drive, the Darkstars’ presence is most definitely felt. We see this in the opening pages as a Green Lantern is transporting a criminal back to Mogo for sentencing when he’s interrupted by some Darkstars. They make it very clear that his prisoner is now their prisoner and he’d better stand down if he knows what’s good for him. You can probably guess where this is going.
We see the attack and the immediate aftermath. The Darkstars barely leave a corpse behind. All that’s left of the criminal is a skeleton. The Lantern fared a little better, with huge chunks of his body carved out. The most chilling part of this carved up, lifeless corpse floating through the darkness of space is the large hole where his face once was. In case you had any doubt of the sheer power of the Darkstars, look no further than this frightening image.
It also helps that with the exception of Tomar-Tu (who doesn’t appear in this issue), the Darkstars look like soulless stormtroopers. You can’t see their faces behind their helmets and sometimes there’s not even anyone operating the suit. They’re like a creepier and far more powerful version of the Manhunters.
One aspect that always stands out in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps is the pulsing energy that surrounds the Lanterns, as well as the Darkstars. Obviously, Hal’s light is green and Arkillo’s is yellow. The Darkstars send out this violent red lightning that gives them an even more sinister presence. Colorist Jason Wright makes them really stand out.
Getting back to the road show, I’m sure that Hector Hammond is a terrifying villain, but he looks really silly. Even when the best artists out there draw him – and Ethan Van Sciver’s work is certainly nothing to sneeze at – he’s a normal sized person with a freakishly gigantic head. He looks like he’s always about to fall over, like an infant that’s just pushed himself up for the first time. I know this is some cruel joke that one of the most powerful telepaths in the universe can’t even move, but it doesn’t change the fact that he looks like the least intimidating force out there. In any case, I’m sure this is a move that Hal will come to regret. Unleashing such an incredible power out into the world, let alone the galaxy, may prove fatal.
Meanwhile, John shows how he’s every bit the tactician in his war of words with General Zod. I hadn’t had much exposure to John prior to this comic outside of maybe the Justice League Animated Series. I’ve really grown to appreciate him as a character, particularly in his role as the leader of the Corps. He’s a military man and it shows in how he handles himself in the field. John knew what he was up against with Zod and played the one card that he knew the General wouldn’t be able to resist. He held onto it until every other avenue was exhausted and then basically dropped the mic.
Guy’s outreach presents the most intriguing possibilities as the Sinestro Corps has been off the board since they broke their truce with the Green Lanterns. There’s a major turning point here that made my jaw drop while reading it. I didn’t see this move coming and my mind is racing with what might happen next.
As cool as all this is, I was honestly thinking that this would have been wrapped up with the previous issue so we can get into the battle itself. Except for Guy’s scene, most of this is a foregone conclusion. It wouldn’t make any sense for the Lanterns to go out to these places if Zod, Hector Hammond, Arkillo (and possibly the Sinestro Corps), and the New Gods weren’t going to join in the fight in some shape or fashion.
That being said, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45 does deliver some fantastic scenes and solid looks at some of Hal, John, and Guy as they prepare for the biggest battle of their careers as ring-slingers. You really get the sense of how huge the scope of this is if these are the lengths they’re willing to go to prepare. They have to stand up for what’s right to maintain order in the galaxy so if that means partnering with enemies, well, you know the saying. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. That is most definitely true here.