Green Lantern #43 begins as the Black Lantern stumbles into a funeral. He is distraught by the fact that the dead no longer seem to rise when he calls for them, and remarks that he must go home. It’s an eerie beginning that sets the stage for the mystery that ensues in the rest of the issue.
Hal Jordan and his crew continue their journey through the void of space in search of answers as to what has happened to Virgo’s planet. Virgo and Hal share a moment in view of the cosmos as both wayward souls try to pause and admire the beauty of space. Hal remarks that it’s a place he’s always traveled through without really stopping to appreciate the view. Even in this serene moment, however, duty calls, and Hal seeks out Relic in the hopes of discovering answers as to what happened to Virgo’s planet, perhaps even a clue to the whereabouts of the Green Lantern Corps.
To do this, Hal engineers a device to mask his identity, and leaves his Gauntlet aboard Darlene in the hopes that Relic will not detect the energy signature it holds. However, with the prisoner, Trapper, on board, things do not go as intended.
Taking over art duties this issue is Ethan Van Sciver, whose experience in the world of Green Lantern aids in bringing to life, not just Hal’s constructs, but the entire cosmic realm. Van Sciver’s detailed lines have a way of bringing to life the impossible, and his ability to convey the massive scale of a being like Relic helps to sell the vastness of space. Aiding in this is colorist Alex Sinclair, who brings a vibrant palette worthy of the entire spectrum of Lanterns. The images of space are moving in their depiction of cosmic clouds of stardust. These images are contrasted nicely with the shadowed interiors that bring a grit to this science-fiction story.
Robert Vendetti shows a great grasp of Hal’s voice, especially in his interaction with the distraught Virgo. There’s a wisdom in Hal’s words that conveys the experience he’s accrued throughout his numerous adventures and at the same time, some of the hot-shot pilot attitude appears when interacting with the increasingly sarcastic A.I., Darlene. It’s easy to say that characters with decades of stories are three-dimensional, but to actually show that dimensionality is another thing altogether, and Vendetti shows his skill in his use of Hal in Green Lantern #43’s quieter moments.
Green Lantern #43’s main issue is that there just isn’t much in this plot that stands out. The artwork and the inventive use of Hal’s powers are the main positive, but beyond that, this stakes here aren’t exciting enough for the issue to gain momentum. Hal is looking for the lost members of the Green Lantern Corps, a plot that seems redundant and lacking in immediacy when compared to Green Lantern: The Lost Army which features the missing Corps members as its protagonists. While it’s nice to see that Hal Jordan is concerned for his friends and allies, it’s hard not to wonder if this series wouldn’t be better served more actively pursuing a different objective for its story.
While featuring some good character moments and great art, Green Lantern #43 struggles in finding a story to tell. Robert Vendetti still displays a firm grip of Hal Jordan’s voice and the book is at its strongest when Hal interacts with Virgo, but outside of these quieter moments the book – like Hal – seems to be searching for a purpose. Die-hard Green Lantern fans may be satisfied by the events occurring here, but many readers will find that once they look past the art by Ethan Van Sciver and Alex Sinclair, there’s not much unique in this story about a lone space-cop.