After spending time redeveloping the rivalry between the Green Lantern Corps and Sinestro Corps Robert Venditti has expanded on other forces in the DC Universe. That included the rise of the House of Zod, who have set up a new home planet. The conflict with Zod left a big threat for the Green Lanterns and Superman to deal with in the future. Though Zod may not be the biggest threat the Green Lanterns have to deal with. That role may be filled by the Controllers, the fallen Guardians, who are looking to create their own version of the Lantern Corps in the form of the Darkstars. But what exactly will the Darkstars be? Let’s find that out with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Jason Wright
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At a forge in the Controllers homeworld in Space Sector 0001 Kellic finish creating the Darkstars armor. Kellic tells his fellow Cotrollers that these new Darkstars will be able to surpass any Lantern Corps and will be under their control. He then tells the Controllers to prepare the Darkstars for deployment.
Over on Mogo Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner watch as John Stewart deploys the Green Lantern Corps members on various missions without the need of their help.
At the Sciencell Tomar-Tu asks Somar-Le why she keeps visiting him, a convicted killer. Somar-Le says that Tomar-Tu is a hero on their planet and wonders why he would become a killer. Tomar-Tu says he could not allow Romat-Ru continue to live murdering people and let those thoughts overcome him. Somar-Le reflects on how heroes should be better than that.
Hal arrives and asks why she isn’t in training. Before Somar-Le leaves Hal tells her that heroes aren’t perfect, they do make mistakes but they learn from them and become better. Somar-Le takes that to heart and goes to continue her training.
Now alone, Hal tells Tomar-Tu he is a stand-up guy for owning up to his crime. Tomar-Tu admits he feels guilt for who he let down but does not regret killing Romat-Ru since his death meant Xudarian children would be alive and he would do it again without hesitation. He goes on to say that during his time locked up he actually came wonder why the Green Lanterns allow all the criminals locked in the Sciencell to live.
Hal tells Tomar-Tu that murder isn’t justice. Tomar-Tu says that is the only justice as the Green Lanterns are actually doing nothing to guarantee that someone like him will kill again if he escapes.
Hal asks Tomar-Tu what Tomar-Re would think of him. Tomar-Tu says they’ll never know since he was killed by the Earth criminal Goldface that escape and committed more crimes. Tomar-Tu continues to say that the Green Lanterns aren’t as pure as they think given all they’ve seen.
Tomar-Tu then says when he dies he will see his father with a clear conscious. Tomar-Tu finishes his speech by saying that while Hal won’t see him that way, he is a killer just like those locked in the Sciencell.
Over on the Controllers homeworld, as the Darkstars are being prepared for deployment Kellic suddenly senses that something is wrong. When he goes to check on his Darkstars armor one of them is releasing a high amount of red energy. The Darkstar armor suddenly activates and turns on Kellic, saying the controllers listen to it.
The Darkstar armor then flies off to find a volunteer to wear its armor.
Back in the Sciencell Hal tries to reason with Tomar-Tu. The Darkstar armor suddenly appears in Tomar-Tu’s cell and says that Tomar-Tu is a suitable volunteer. The Darkstar armor asks Tomar-Tu if he is willing to enforce lethal justice. Tomar-Tu says he is and the Darkstar armor dismantles and reassembles around Tomar-Tu.
Now with the Darkstars power Tomar-Tu blasts Hal while saying he was right. While Hal is knocked out Tomar-Tu says people get to choose who they want to be and he chooses to be a Darkstar. Tomar-Tu then teleports away.
Hal wakes up and immediately contacts John to tell him that Tomar-Tu has escaped. John asks who helped Tomar-Tu escape. Hal says it was the Darkstars. End of issue.
The Good: After everything that the Green Lantern Corps went through in their war with the House of Zod things do not settle down for them at all. Even though there was a lack of action it did not mean things don’t get intense in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42. Robert Venditti spends a lot of time spotlighting the weight of being a Green Lantern is and what that means for defining what the Darkstars will be moving forward.
While the Darkstars are not new characters it was a great move to treat them as a brand new organization. Venditti slipped in enough information to show that this isn’t the first time the Darkstars have shown up in the DC Universe. But whatever their roles were before does not matter to this version of the Darkstars. Instead the focus was completely on who they are compared to the Green Lantern Corps.
Positioning them as another form of a space cop is great. This allows the reader to quickly understand the direction of the characters who will be chosen as the wearers of the Darkstar armor. The Darkstars direction of being a lethal policing army is a good way to position the organization as most of the Lantern Corps outside the GLC stick to their own corners of the universe. This pushes the Green Lantern Corps to further question how they should handle policing the universe now that the Darkstars will be looking to exert their own authority.
The way Venditti defines the Darkstars direction gave greater depth to how Tomar-Tu is now going to be positioned as the first member of the new organization. Tomar-Tu’s scenes with Somar-Le and Hal Jordan showed us that the character has clearly cracked. Seeing him admit that the pressures of protecting his people and continuing to maintain the moral compass that the Green Lantern Corps hold themselves to was the best character development Tomar-Tu has received. This showed that there is a heavy weight on the shoulders on each member of the Green Lantern Corps. And with all the wars they have been involved in with on various worlds and other Lantern Corps maintaining the heroic mindset of using non-lethal force can be hard.
The best part of Tomar-Tu’s rants was when he talked about the inefficiencies of prisons like the Sciencell to hold the universe worst criminals. This extends to all the prisons that villains are placed in as we see every bad guy escape at some point. Venditti having Tomar-Tu bring this up made his argument for why he killed Romat-Ru an understandable position to be in. All of that also made the decision for Tomar-Tu to be the first member of the Darkstars an even stronger choice as he clearly defines what it is to be one of them.
This issue was also a good one for continuing to reinforce Hal as the heart of the Green Lantern Corps. More than anyone Hal knows that there is coming back from committing a horrible crime. Hal using his past as Parallax, while not directly referencing it, to try to connect with Tomar-Tu showed how much he believes in those chosen to be Green Lantern Corps members. Hal is one of those guys that will be the last to give up on a friend as he tries to see the heroic part of them.
Hal trying to connect with Tomar-Tu made how Venditti continues to position John Stewart as the ultimate Green Lantern Corps leader even more noticeable. After all the events they’ve been through John has come out as the unquestioned leader. That is something that Venditti makes obvious with how Kyle and Guy just stand back while John directs all the Green Lantern Corps members in their assignments. With John being so focused in his leadership it’ll be very interesting to see how he reacts to the rise of the Darkstars as a lethal organization getting in the way of the GLC’s way of policing the universe.
While there wasn’t a big action sequence Ethan Van Sciver still delivered the high quality that we’ve come to expect from him in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42. From the beginning Sciver captured how the formation of the Darkstars was different from other Lantern Corps. There was a sense of a militant force being formed by the Controllers. That was furthered by how intense Sciver drew Tomar-Tu during his rants as we saw the passion he spoke with while the Darkstars were activated.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #42 does an excellent job presenting the Darkstars as one of the biggest threats the GLC are going to being going against. Robert Venditti’s spending time giving Tomar-Tu some quality character development went a long way in giving more weight to the direction the Darkstars will be going in. Having Ethan Van Sciver on art duties made Venditti’s story even stronger as the sense of importance in the Darkstars rise was elevated even more.