Robert Venditti has had a long run on the Green Lantern franchise dating back to the middle of the New 52 era. Now after being on the Green Lantern franchise for several years Venditti’s run is coming to an end. To mark this ending Venditti is bringing together some many things he has developed over time as the Green Lantern Corps and their allies must fight the Darkstars. This is not just a normal fight as the Darkstars have continued to push the lethal force path on the Green Lantern Corps. Can the Green Lanterns end the threat of the Darkstars without being forced to kill Let’s find out with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Rafael Sandoval
Inker: Jordi Tarragona
Colorist: Tomey Morey
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: Tomar-Tu and Hal Jordan continue to fight inside the Darkstars Command Center.
At the same time John Stewart, Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner, Zod, Arkillo, Orion and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps fight the Darkstars in space.
Back inside Darkstars Command Center, Tomar-Tu tells Hal that the universe has lost faith in the Green Lantern Corps. Hal tells Tomar-Tu that the Darkstars way is not helping anyone and he is choosing a better path. Tomar-Tu attacks Hal with a powerful blast that severely damages Hal.
While Hal is recovering Tomar-Tu says that only killers can deal with other killers, something Hal still believes Tomar-Tu is wrong. Tomar-Tu starts choking Hal out while saying that Hal’s will power will just get him killed just like it did his father, Tomar-Re.
Back in space the Green Lantern Corps and their allies are having a tough time dealing with the Darkstars. Zod and the others say they should use lethal force to deal with this. John says his order that they will not use lethal force stands as they must show the universe that their can be justice without killing.
Back at the Darkstars Command Center, Hal is able to break Tomar-Tu’s choke hold by flying him into the wall. Hal then says he now understands why Tomar-Tu killed Goldface and Romat-Ru. He says it is because Tomar-Tu is still a scared child who never got passed his father’s murder.
This pisses Tomar-Tu off as he says he did not lose his father, his father was taken. After overpowering Hal, Tomar-Tu asks Hal if he doesn’t want to make someone pay. Hal counterattacks and says that he is who he is.
Hal goes on to say that his dad’s death made him who he is as he held on to how lucky he was to have his dad in his life for as long as he did. He goes on to say that is the difference between the two as Tomar-Tu held onto Tomar-Re’s absence and became a Green Lantern to fix what was broken after he crawled into a hole due to his sadness. Hal then continues his attack.
Back in space as the battle with the Darkstars continue Zod gets frustrated by how he feels handcuffed in this fight. Zod starts using his head vision to burn off one of the Darkstars helmet. John, Kyle and Guy surround Zod while telling him that they will arrest Zod if he kills one of the Darkstars. Zod believes it is time he assumed command.
Inside the Darkstars Command Center, with Tomar-Tu unable to get back up Hal tells Hector Hammond to loosen his control on the Controllers so they can have their telepathic link with the Darkstars again.
Hal then uses his ring on the device that is containing the Controllers. Hal then sends power from his ring into the device. Hal’s willpower ends up flowing through every Darkstar member and destroys each of their armor.
Before all the Darkstar members die due to lack of oxygen in space the Green Lantern Corps cover use their rings to create several large bubbles to keep them safe.
Back in the command center, Tomar-Tu breaks down as he turned away from everything his father stood for and killed in his name. Hal tells Tomar-Tu he must pay his debt by serving time and becoming a better person.
Zod suddenly busts in and says he is going to exact revenge by killing Tomar-Re’s last living heir. Hal gets in the middle of them, ready to defend Tomar-Tu against Zod. Not wanting to see Hal suffer in trying to defend him, Tomar-Tu kills himself using the Darkstar glove he was wearing. Satisfied by Tomar-Tu killing himself Zod leaves.
Before he dies Tomar-Tu tells Hal to not mourn for him as he got what he deserved as a killer. Tomar-Tu then requests for Hal to tell the others he was good in the end. Tomar-Tu then passes away.
Back up in space the Green Lantern Corps and their allies happily talk about how they won. Hal shows up carrying Tomar-Tu’s dead body. Hal tells everyone that Tomar-Tu died a better man.
Sometime later, on Mogo, Somar-Le wakes up and gets changed into her Green Lantern costume ready to start the day.
At the Guardians of the Universe chamber John tells the Guardians that the Darkstars have returned to stand trial in their respective worlds while the Controllers are still in a coma. He goes on to say that Zod is back in Jekuul, with the GLC, monitoring him and Orion and Arkillo went back home. He then mentions that Hector Hammond disappeared but they are looking for him.
Ganthet congratulates John on upholding the law and leading the Green Lantern Corps to defeating the Darkstars without using lethal force. Ganthet goes on to say John has proven himself in leading the Green Lantern Corps through everything, from the Sinestro’s Law to the Darkstars Rising event. He then says John now has the honor to leading the upcoming ceremony.
At the ceremony John is center stage with the rest of the Green Lantern Corps watching him. John states that while they are from different worlds they are all a family who has grown a stronger bond through all the battles they’ve fought together. John then says it is time for their family to get bigger. He then creates new Green Lantern rings and sends them out to recruit new members of the GLC.
As the rings leave to find the new ring bearers Guy asks Hal, John and Kyle if they want to get a drink before the mess hall gets packed by new recruits. Hal and Kyle pass so Guy says he can at least count on John.
While continuing to watch the rings leave Guy says he looks forward to meeting the new recruits. As Guy says this Hal mysteriously disappears
On Earth, Hal arrives at Coast City and knocks on a door. Carol Ferris answers the door. Hal and Carol aren’t sure where to start talking so they end up kissing. End of issue.
The Good: As Ganthet tells John Stewart during the meeting with the Guardians, the Green Lantern Corps have been through a lot of crises during Robert Venditti’s run. From facing off against Sinestro ruling the universe to this conflict with the Darkstars, we’ve seen Venditti continuously test who the Green Lantern Corps are under John’s leadership. All that culminated to make Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 a rewarding way for Venditti to end his run on the franchise.
Even before this Darkstars story arc we have seen Venditti challenged the moral standing of the Green Lantern Corps. We saw this throughout the Yellow Lantern Corps Saga as the Green Lantern Corps teamed up with the former Sinestro Corps only to have a fallout due to the secrets that were being kept. Throughout this time Venditti tested who the Green Lantern Corps are under John Stewart’s leadership.
That challenge has made this era of the Green Lanterns stand out as they marched ahead with John at the forefront. And like any good team the Green Lantern Corps are only as strong as their leader. John showed that strength throughout this Darkstar saga as he never wavered in his belief that the Green Lantern Corps should not use lethal force.
John’s strength as a leader was best shown with how he handled the final battle with the Darkstars. Even as things intensified and Kyle, Guy, Zod and Arkillo were pushing to be allowed to use lethal force John never wavered. He continued to instill the belief that they must be an example to the universe of how problems can be solved without resorting to killing.
This strong belief lead to one of the best scenes in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 as John quickly lead Guy and Kyle to stop Zod from killing one of the Darkstars. Even against someone who can fight evenly against Superman, John never looked like he was going to back down in bringing in Zod if he killed the Darkstar member with his heat vision. The fact that it was in the middle of such a huge battle helped further establish how John wanted this battle to be an example of how the universe should not resort to using lethal force to bring justice and order.
All of this made how Venditti closed Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 even more satisfying. After how well developed John’s position as the Green Lantern Corps leader was it just felt right that he led the ceremony to announce the Corps expansion. Having the Ganthet and Guardians be the ones to go over John’s credibility as the Green Lantern Corps made this entire scene even better.
While John ended up being the standout star of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 Hal was not to be forgotten. Unlike John, we have seen Hal’s resolve waver during this conflict with the Darkstars. Much like Guy, we’ve seen how Hal has actually questioned if the use of lethal force is the right direction for the Green Lantern Corps to go on.
That previous internal conflict made Hal’s analysis of why Tomar-Tu joined the Darkstars and ended up believing in using lethal force even more effective. Because Hal questioned his own methods we got to see him realize what makes him get up from bed to do what he does as a Green Lantern. While he’s been faced with the trauma of his father’s death countless times, Hal has always used his time with his father as a motivating factor for his strong willpower as a hero.
Putting Hal in this position made how he got into the core of why Tomar-Tu became a Darkstar cut deeper. There was a lot of truth in what Hal was stating that Tomar-Tu did not want to believe was a weakness. This made Hal defeating Tomar-Tu and using a large portion of his power to destroy the Darkstars armor an even stronger character moment.
Having that type of heroic moment helped make the ending with Hal visiting Carol even stronger. At the end of the day Carol Ferris has been Hal’s lightning rod. She is the person that is always on Hal’s mind. Even though we haven’t seen Carol a lot in Venditti’s run having her bookend his Hal Jordan story was still effect because of all this.
With how Hal’s character arc went Tomar-Tu’s own story was made stronger. Before this recent Darkstar story Tomar-Tu has largely been a background character amongst the Green Lantern Corps. But with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 we got to see what really drove Tomar-Tu to takeover his father’s post. That development, while done for the wrong reasons, was able to peel back who Tomar-Tu is. And even in his “heroic” sacrifice to save Hal he was able to maintain the belief he gained as a Darkstar. This only makes Tomar-Tu’s ending even more memorable because of how tragic his arc ended up turning out.
General Zod’s role in all of this as a secondary antagonist even while being one of the Green Lantern Corps allies was effectively done. Venditti did a very good job showing Zod will never stop being an aggressive asshole. From constantly challenging the no lethal force rule during the final battle to his attack on Tomar-Tu and Hal, Zod was not lost in the shuffle. With how he got what he wanted in ending Tomar-Re’s family line Venditti puts Zod in an interesting spot for future writers to follow-up on.
While they didn’t play large roles in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 Venditti did a good job at least giving Kyle Rayner, Guy Gardner and Arkillo supporting roles in his final issue. The three helped push the main conflict between the Green Lantern Corps and Darkstars forward with how morality of lethal force was explored. And though its a smaller moment, it was good to see Guy ask the others for a drink to delay meeting his dad. Since that is something we still haven’t seen it leaves the door open for even more development for Guy personally.
Rafael Sandoval once again delivered a stellar looking issue with his work on Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50. Throughout this issue Sandoval made every blow struck have a strong impact. The action was further strengthened by how well drawn all the emotion on different characters’ faces were. It added to the raw emotion shown in various scenes that was highlighted by the hopeful look on all the Green Lantern Corps members as John sent out new rings to grow their ranks.
The Bad: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50 was nearly a perfect ending for Venditti’s run. The only knock against this issue and the Darkstars story was the fact that Orion played made almost no difference in how things ended. With how much time was put into recruiting Orion and the New Gods it would’ve added to the story if he was at least given one standout moment. Without that Orion was nothing more than a background character. His spot would’ve been better used for someone like Soranik or Saint Walker, who have also been important parts in Venditti’s run.
Overall: Robert Venditti ended his run on a high note with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #50. With the spotlight on Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Tomar-Tu, Venditti was able to deliver an ending that felt extremely rewarding. Adding in the standout artwork from Rafael Sandoval elevated how Venditti was able to end his run on the Green Lantern franchise with a fantastic final issue.