Picking up some time after the events of the previous issue, Green Lantern #41 takes its time to welcome in new readers jumping on after Convergence. Both writer Robert Vendetti and artist Billy Tan both return to the title in the hopes of ushering in a new era for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern mythos.
The issue starts off in the Gaming Dens of Y’Gaal, an extraterrestrial gladiator arena. A young Viceroy is pushed into the arena to face a monstrosity known as the Kreeak, a large vicious beast fitting for entertaining thousands. The Viceroy seems completely defenseless against the monster when, suddenly, a green burst of light emerges from his fist and turns into a sword upon which the Kreeak impales itself. The Viceroy is just as surprised by the outcome as the audience, and is quickly escorted back to his prison cell.
There, he is visited by none other than Hal Jordan, who is using a bizarre gauntlet to emulate a Power Ring. The Viceroy recognizes that Hal must be the one who saved him in the games and thanks Hal by questioning who hired the former Green Lantern to rescue him. Hal and the Viceroy escape the prison, capturing the lead guard as a hostage. The guard smiles at the idea and whispers a secret to Hal on the way to the ship. Whatever it is, Hal quickly and emphatically calls the guard’s bluff.
The trio depart in Hal’s ship, piloted by an A.I. named Darlene. And there, the guard tries to manipulate Viceroy Virgo into betraying Hal, pointing out that Jordan is no longer a true Green Lantern. But the feud will have to wait as Hal arrives at their destination…
Robert Vendetti seems to really understand how this issue can service the title as a whole. Green Lantern #41 is a great starting point for new readers, as the issue operates through the perspective of the Viceroy. New readers might not understand the true significance of Hal’s actions, but they get a great feel for his cocksure attitude and good instincts.
For his part, Billy Tan really knocks the art out of the park. Every beat in the book is perfectly rendered, and Vendetti’s script really allows Tan to demonstrate some inventive uses for Hal’s gauntlet. What better way to scare a bunch of gladiator pit prison guards than with a monster from Earth they’ve never seen? The issue is full of nice visual treats and Tan really gives a sense of both utility and ingenuity to Hal’s abilities.
Green Lantern #41 relies heavily on tropes of space opera to tell its story, and while that allows for readers new to the Green Lantern mythos to dive right in, it also makes the issue predictable in a lot of ways. The twists on both Hal Jordan’s character as well as the reveal at the end aren’t shocking because they’re unexpected for the genre, but because they’re happening to these characters. This isn’t to say that these elements aren’t engaging, but it does make the story seem a little routine. As an example, extraterrestrial gladiator pits are so commonplace, one can’t help but wonder if they aren’t the football fields of outer space. It’s a small thing to knock, but it’s what keeps the comic from being great.
Green Lantern #41 is a solid and entertaining book. Robert Vendetti and Billy Tan have done an excellent job crafting an issue that both continues the story woven beforehand while inviting new or lapsed readers into the engaging narrative. While some elements are perhaps overly familiar to fans of space opera, it’s nice to have the base established before the story pushes onward. Tan’s artwork is gorgeous and fun, providing dynamic and inventive visuals without becoming overly detailed.