[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Brandon Peterson
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
On Jekuul, in full view of Zod’s worshipers, Hal Jordan goes directly at the General with the intent of capturing him and putting him in a sciencell. This is not your average “battle issue” as the ideas thrown about take this narrative to a higher level. It’s not easy for Hal as he and Zod go back and forth with Hal hitting him with ring construct after ring construct until Zod finally falls. Hal chains him up, prepared to deposit him in that sciencell.
It is then that John Stewart arrives with the Guardians of the Universe and puts a stop to it. To Hal’s surprise, the Guardians chastise him for interfering and John backs them up. Hal can’t figure it out, but trusts John enough to follow orders. Zod “allows” the Guardians and the GLC to leave with the rings he had previously captured.
Hal is still incredulous as John explains that the Guardians seem to be doing things differently this time around and have chosen not to intervene in Zod’s business. This leads to a brief discussion between Hal and John on the merits of these actions and whether they are in the business of war or police work.
Back on Jekuul, Zod explains to his family that even though the Guardians left with their Corps and rings, he was able to extract all the population statistics of all inhabited worlds plus weapons specifications and force assessments for every military in the universe plus a map of said universe!
The opening narration by Hal is quite effective as it embraces the notion of point-of-view and perspective in terms of the different ways that Zod is perceived by Hal and the Corps as compared to the natives of Jekuul. Zod’s own view of himself and Krypton is that of victims of the Corps’ failure. It is elements like this that make what could’ve been a simple battle issue something more. The beliefs and values that Hal mentions in the opening pave the way for the Zod’s own perspective in his dialogue. This type of story not only reveals Hal’s character, but turns the villainous Zod into a more fully developed person.
Even the fisticuffs in the book are top-notch as Hal’s capture of Zod builds emotionally with a satisfying payoff and Hal’s airplane ring constructs are particularly enjoyable and emblematic. The pacing is just right and there’s the sense throughout that Hal just may not get Zod. Zod’s Kryptonian powers are formidable and it would be very easy to imagine him being just too much for Hal.
The actions of the Guardians of the Universe just seem wrong in this situation. John makes the argument to Hal that they are trying not to impose their will, yet Zod is a known criminal and the Corps should be able to capture him without any moral quandary.
This arc is probably the best use of Zod as a character. Despite making him a villain to hate, Venditti provides plausible and at times sympathetic elements to the General. Hopefully, Zod will make another appearance here and not be relegated to the Superman books. Zod has made just as serious an enemy of the GLC as he has with the Man of Steel. Plus, Hal deserves one more shot at him without the interference of the Guardians of the Universe.