GREEN LANTERN #21
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Billy Tan and Richard Friend
Release Date: June 5, 2013
It’s a new beginning for Hal Jordan in more ways than one. Not only is the Emerald Warrior being handed over to a new writer for the first time since his resurrection nine years ago (has it really only been 9 years?), but he’s also faced with a brand new challenge — leadership of the Green Lantern Corps. Not field leadership, mind you, but straight-up Guardian of the Universe duty. And those first decisions are the most important…
Robert Venditti takes the helm of the core Green Lantern title amid a lot of positive fanfare over his predecessor’s final issue — so much so that I’m not sure anything he could have put on the page would have been able to compete with the full-on consummation of almost a decade worth of stories. Choosing to treat this first issue as a transition piece, then, was not the worst decision, giving avid readers a chance to take a breath and realign their expectations. The mix of new status quo with some reversion to pre-Johnsian status is a bit odd, as readers are presented with a Jordan who is seemingly responsible enough in the eyes of his mentors to lead the universe’s premier police force, but no longer acceptable to the woman he was renewing a romance with only months ago. I’m having a hard time in particular putting my finger on Carol Ferris’ motivations as they seem to me to ignore or subvert a great deal of her development this past decade. I never would have predicted she’d choose the violet ring over her life on earth and Hal, but at the end of the day, I suppose this isn’t her book. At least we’re not seeing her headlining a Villain’s Month special. That would be a bridge too far.
That aside, Venditti’s dialogue and characterization of Hal himself is perfectly clever — reflecting that blend of bravado and actual prowess to back it up that makes Jordan THE Green Lantern for so many readers. There’s no question he gets Jordan’s personality, not to mention that of Kilowog as well. Introducing a set of recruits for them to manage is already paying dividends on their Odd Couple-style relationship, and it’s great to see Hal amidst his Corps brethren after so much time parading around almost exclusively with Sinestro for the past two years.
Meanwhile, Billy Tan delivers an absolute top-notch issue full of everything I could have asked for. From strong facial expressions to the ability to introduce multiple body types to the book, Tan shows he has absolutely all it takes to master a title with such a large supporting cast — especially one that spends a great deal of its time in weightless conditions. I imagine it’s not super easy to have to illustrate such non-stop motion, even in the quietest corners of the issue, but Tan pulls it off flawlessly. Even the very minor details — like how Carol’s hair takes three panels to fully settle back down after activating her Sapphire ring — shine through to make this one of the best artistic efforts I’ve seen in a single comic book in months.
In the end, we are treated to a single page portraying the near future of Green Lantern, and while that image ironically doesn’t tell us a whole lot, I am confident we’re at the beginning of a very enjoyable run of new adventures. Skeptics, lay down your arms and give this one a shot. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the effort.
The Verdict: 8.5/10