It’s all built up to this. On one side you have the unstoppable force of the Darkstars, serving as judge, jury, and executioner for criminals across the galaxy. On the other there’s the battered and bruised Green Lantern Corps, joined by an odd assortment of villains and others they’ve helped out recently. This is going to be a huge battle and John Stewart is playing an integral role. His strategy will decide the fate of the Corps and if it will survive to see another day.
Where the last few issues of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps served to get this ragtag group together, now we get to see them in action. This issue opens as they finalize their plans. There is something so very awesome about seeing Hal, John, Guy, and Kyle hanging out with General Zod, Orion, Arkillo, and Hector Hammond. There is no other situation in the universe that would have led to this strange meeting. That’s the kind of work the Corps does though.
Artist Rafa Sandoval keeps this strategy session moving at a fast clip. It helps that while everyone is talking, Hammond is messing with their minds, changing the locale from outer space to a birthday party, a ballgame, and the beach. The characters’ reaction to this is awesome and adds a small dose of humor to start things off before getting deadly serious. I particularly like Zod’s reaction, which is a solemn “I don’t approve of you, Hammond.”
We don’t know John’s plan upfront. Instead, we see it play out in real time. This makes for some tense moments on the battlefield as this group does not join the fray at first. Why is he holding back some of their biggest guns? Patience pays off as we learn the details of the plan and there’s a lot to enjoy here.
First off, you have the rest of the Green Lantern Corps fighting a huge faction of the Darkstar forces on Mogo. They’re led by Kilowog in an incredible battle. These Lanterns are giving it their all. Sandoval draws his heart out in these sequences, featuring a wide array of ring-slingers duking it out with the faceless Darkstars.
Colorist Tomeu Morey makes this pop with the iridescent green light that surrounds each Lantern. The Darkstars teleport around their enemies in an inhuman red glow. This is mechanical to them. They’re going through the motions. It just so happens that doing so means the elimination of the Green Lantern Corps.
Each powerful blow is felt with an intense, blistering sound effect. Letterer Dave Sharpe fills these pages with a variety of sounds. You’d think all energy blasts would have one tone, but you’d be wrong. Zod’s eye beams are different than those from Orion’s Astro-Harness and they’re different from the Darkstars’ blasts. It all adds up for a fast-moving, exciting battle.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #48 kicks into high gear when the first part of John’s plan goes into effect. This has Kyle, Guy, Arkillo, Orion, and Zod taking the fight to the Darkstar base in Space Sector 001. Sandoval delivers some of the best art of the book, mostly from the impressive constructs on display. Kyle’s made a huge anime-esque samurai robot. Arkillo is powering a massive yellow dragon creature. Guy…well, Guy is driving a monster truck. It even has flames on the sides.
This is one of the most tense and exciting portions of the entire issue as this strong resistance is met with a practically unstoppable force. The Darkstars are legion, swarming over their foes like locusts. They move like a wave of terror looking to overwhelm this group with numbers if nothing else. I love how inker Jordi Tarragona gives these battle scenes a gritty feel. The details are still very much on display, but there’s a gruff quality to them, like they’re feeling the fight.
I have no idea how this battle will go. Writer Robert Venditti has crafted a tense and unpredictable plot that is packed with adventure and tension. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps represents some of the most exciting stories to ever feature the Corps. The Lanterns are at their best when their backs are against the wall. They thrive in challenging experiences like this, but this is unlike anything they’ve faced to date.