After years of building up the Green Lantern franchise through the sins of the Guardians of the Universe, Robert Venditti brings readers some less intense, but still enjoyable Green Lantern fun.
Geoff Johns contributed an immense amount to the Green Lantern mythos. And it true Johns style, he played the long game that concluded earlier this year with “Wrath of the First Lantern”, a disappointing event to many readers who found it anticlimactic, hurried, and drawn out, all at the same time. And while Venditti did indeed begin his run (starting with Green Lantern #21) by gearing up for the Lantern book crossover “Lights Out”, it never felt as forced or overbearing as Johns’ stories did near the end of his time with the franchise.
Green Lantern #26 feels like the spiritual start of a new era for the GL family of titles. The Green Lantern Corps still sees themselves as the law-enforcing entity they’ve always been, but the rest of the universe isn’t quite as convinced. Readers understand that the turmoil between the various Lantern Corps and the evils of the Guardians of the Universe were indeed important and needed to be addressed, but in this comic book universe, the people who depend on the Green Lanterns only experienced an era of chaos as the cops dealt with their own internal affairs.
The disconnect between the Green Lantern Corps and the universe they are supposed to protect is what Venditti focuses on in this issue. Star Sapphire Nol-Anj—recent escapee from the GL Sciencell prison—makes it quite clear to the clandestine Green Lanterns that the universe no longer trusts them. Hal Jordan must wrestle with the fact that the Corps’ reputation has been badly tarnished. Now, he has to figure out a way to make things right.
Green Lantern #26 is the first issue of the series in a long, long time that doesn’t feel like a waiting game for something bigger. From the final pages, it’s obvious there’s a bigger adversary that will soon be at the Green Lanterns’ doorstep, but for now, it’s refreshing to read an issue about the Lanterns that doesn’t have an looming sense of universe-shattering consequences.
It seems that no matter what happens, Hal Jordan continues to be a stubborn oaf who cannot see that his green uniform and sense of duty doesn’t mean he can do whatever he wants. What’s frustrating about this fact is that Venditti’s “Lights Out” should have been a slap across the face to Hal’s ego, and—apparently—it’s not.
Yes, Hal is a confident character that defies authority whenever he feels he’s doing the right thing, but the revelation that the use of the light spectrum causes reality to deteriorate means that Hal’s insistence on the continued use of said energy simply makes him a fool, and that’s not the best way to attract readers to a book focused on Hal being the “hero”.
Robert Venditti is moving Green Lantern in the right direction, but is keeping Hal Jordan stuck in a frame of mind that is frankly unbecoming.