Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Wright
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: September 14, 2016

Hal Jordan and his former mentor Sinestro come ever closer to their final conflict!

Sinestro finally gets a Green Lantern in his grasp, but it isn’t the one he was hoping for, as Hal has been intercepted en route. He makes do, however, with Guy Gardner, in the process revealing more of his plans for the future of the Sinestro Corps and the galaxy.

This issue features a welcome shift in focus away from Hal and toward Sinestro and Guy Gardner, who has heretofore been confined to one-or-two page cameo appearances. Guy steals the show in this issue, throwing Sinestro off multiple times with a mixture of bravado and sheer cussedness. John Stewart even gets a nice moment at the end. If you’ve been reading this comic and wishing it had a little more Green Lantern Corps and a little less Hal Jordan, this issue pushes the balance back in a way you’ll enjoy.

Sinestro also gets a lot of panel space in this issue, and we get a little more insight into his big-picture scheme. He’s kidnapping beings from throughout the galaxy to torture in his Fear Engine, with their psychic energies harnessed to power the Sinestro Corps.

Sinestro is written in a fascinatingly contradictory way, one that gets to the core of his character. Sinestro has always been a teleological character in a universe with deontological values. Sinestro has noble goals that he pursues ruthlessly; if he has to torture a few beings in order to power a corps that serves the galaxy, that’s a sacrifice he’s happy to make (or force others to make). Yet he still sees himself as the hero of his story; he refuses to put children in the Fear Engine, though for the end-state reason that they’re more likely to be broken by it rather than the first-principle that it’s wrong to torture children. There’s a conflict brewing between Sinestro and his daughter, Soranik Natu, that promises to bring this value struggle to the fore, and it should be interesting to see.

This issue also pushes hard on the difficult-to-ignore homoerotic subtext between Sinestro and Hal Jordan. Sinestro’s relationship with Hal goes beyond standard hero/villain dynamics, veering into obsession, and imagery of bondage, dominance, and submission are omnipresent in their encounters with one another. Here we have Sinestro the jilted lover, driven to a tantrum when presented with Guy instead of Hal. He then spends a good portion of the issue complaining to Guy that he isn’t Hal, perseverating on how delicious it will be to finally possess and overcome Jordan.

The art, provided by Ethan Van Sciver, greatly enhances this subtext. Van Sciver, of course, is the quintessential Green Lantern artist. He draws great constructs, alien landscapes, and hideous creatures. What’s noteworthy in this issue, though, is the care and exquisite detail given to the male form. Hal spends his limited appearances in the issue clad only in green boxer-briefs, while Guy spends half of his copious panel time completely naked. Careful attention is paid both to Guy’s beefy musculature and Hal’s somewhat more lithe physique. It’s a rare treat to see male bodies treated in a playfully sexual manner in a mainstream superhero comic.

Jason Wright’s color work is up to his usual high standards. Constructs have an ethereal glow while the careful gradations of color add layers to Van Sciver’s already detailed art. Wright uses a yellow-tinged pallette for the War World scenes (which take up most of the issue), and, even without a caption, we instantly know the scene has shifted when we move to the blues and greens of Mogo in the last few pages. It’s a subtle technique that does a great deal to set the mood for the comic.

Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps #4 builds tension as it barrels toward the conclusion of the first arc and it gives some great character moments for both Sinestro and Guy Gardner. This book really feels like it’s finding its rhythm.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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