The time has finally come for the Torchbearer of the Green Lantern franchise to return. That’s right, Robert Venditti is bringing Kyle Rayner back into the fold. Kyle’s return couldn’t come at a better time for the universe as Hal Jordan is currently MIA and both the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps are prisoners of Braniac. Will Kyle be able to provide the powerful light needed to save his former teammates to save the day? Or will the current White Lantern fade away like everyone else? Let’s find out with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ed Benes
Colorist: Jason Wright
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: The story opens with the reconstructed ship of Braniac 2.0 flies through Space Sector 2821.
Inside the ship Braniac is scanning the latest addition to his collection, the planet of Xudar. Braniac scans all the alien species on Xudar that include the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps.
As Brainiac does this John, Guy and Soranik continue to analyze the barrier around Xundar. John says that Braniac planned on trapping the Green Lantern Corps and Soranik could’ve avoided getting captured if she and Yellow Lantern Corps didn’t get involved. Soranik reminds John that the Yellow Lantern Corps have been the ones watching over the universe while the Green Lantern Corps was on “vacation.”
An ground quake suddenly occurs and buildings are crumbling. John and Soranik stop arguing and they along with Guy do their best to shore up buildings.
Meanwhile, Brainiac watches the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps actions, stating that the Grand Collector will enjoy what they are doing.
Over on planet Nok Kyle Rayner meets with Ganthet and Sayd about Hal Jordan’s ring. Ganthet and Sayd reveal that the ring is holds the remnants of Hal Jordan’s remaining life force even though the rest of him has joined the Emotional Spectrum. Ganthet says that Kyle can use his powers as a White Lantern to bring Hal back.
Kyle isn’t sure what Ganthet and Sayd are telling him is true. He suddenly hears Hal’s voice coming from the ring and agrees to help Ganthet and Sayd save Hal.
In the Emerald Space Abin Sur explains to a confused Hal that they are in the place where all former Green Lantern Corps members can be found. As they walk along Hal wonders what Abin meant when he said Hal didn’t belong in the Emerald Space. Abin just continues to walk forward without answering Hal’s question.
As Hal catches up to Abin he tells his predecessor that Abin was a tough act to follow as he was considered the best Green Lantern and Hal did his best to honor that legacy. Hal then reveals that he defeated Sinestro at the cost of his own life.
Abin turns around and tells Hal that he more than lived up to his legacy by undoing it. He goes on to say that Sinestro’s actions were a cruel reflection on him as a mentor and that the others are in the Emerald Space because of it.
Hal wonders who the “others” Abin is talking about. Abin shines his light and reveals Katma Tui, Tomar-Re and other deceased Green Lanterns are with them.
Back on Nok, Kyle is pushing his powers to the limit in order to find the life essence of Hal, with Ganthet and Sayd coaching him. Kyle says he only sense Hal’s acceptance for his fate and that he can’t get him back. Ganthet convinces Kyle to continue to try in his efforts to revive Hal.
In the Emerald Space Hal tells Katma that John misses her very much and Tomar-Re that his son followed his father’s footsteps as Green Lantern of Sector 2813. Hal then reveals that John, Tomar-Tu and the other Green Lantern Corps members have disappeared which is how Sinestro took over.
Abin reveals that the missing Green Lantern Corps members are not dead since they aren’t in the Emerald Space. Abin goes on to say that there is an imbalance in the universe as Hope is fading, which Hal must rekindle.
As they talk Kyle pushes his powers to its limit on Nok.
Hal asks Abin why he chose him to be his successor. Abin says that Hal happen to be in the location where he crashed and was dying. Hal suddenly feels light headed. He looks up and see a white light coming from Kyle.
Meanwhile, Kyle uses the remaining part of his White Lantern power to revive Hal.
As Hal is leaving the Emerald Space Abin tells his successor to find the Green Lantern Corps and hope or else all will be lost.
On Nok, Kyle is completely drained and curses himself for failing. Ganthet tells Kyle he already succeeded. Hal suddenly appears back at his full Green Lantern power.
Over in Space Secttor 2828 Brainiac meets with the collector that asked for. The collector reaches out, sensing the Green and Yellow Lanterns inside the case holding Xundar. Larfleeze shows himself to be the collector and tightly hugs the case holding Xundar as he says “And They’re Mine!” End of issue.
The Good: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10 succeeds in continuing the path to redemption that Hal Jordan has put himself on. In the process Robert Venditti is able to bring Kyle Rayner back into the fold even though the character has long separated himself from the Green Lantern Corps. It’s in this success that Venditti also highlights the weakest part of “Bottled Light” storyline is the problem currently facing the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps.
Through the early part of his run on Hal Jordan and Green Lantern Corps, Venditti has clearly established that the universe state of power is currently broken. And much of that has to do with the current state of the emotional spectrum as the Yellow Lantern Corps rise to power was because of the weaken state of the other Lantern Corps, especially the GLC. With that in mind, it is only appropriate for Hal, with all the events that he has led the various Lantern Corps in, to be given the task with bringing hope back to the universe, and the Blue Lantern Corps back in the process.
Tying all this in with Abin Sur was a great move. By having Abin Sur present Hal with this mission it instantly carries more weight. And Venditti did a great job in having Abin Sur show Hal that he can accomplish this mission of bringing hope back to the universe as he did by helping save his legacy.
Hearing how Abin Sur corrected Hal’s statement of being the biggest failure due to the actions of Sinestro, his former protégé, was powerful. It’s a new slant to a character that has been widely regarded as one of the greatest Green Lanterns by everyone in the GLC, including Hal. So to hear that sort of honesty about a tarnished legacy added even more depth to who Abin Sur is.
The statement by Abin Sur was made even more powerful by the fact that the former Green Lanterns in the Emerald Space, at least the ones we saw, were all killed by Sinestro. This gave Veditti the opportunity to remind us how much damage Sinestro caused the Green Lantern Corps. It also gave long time Green Lantern fans a chance to see Hal interact with classic characters like Katma Tui and Tomar-Re. Even though the reunion was brief it was a good reminder of everyone Hal has lost in his fight against Sinestro.
While Hal’s journey in the Emerald Space nicely set-up what is to come Venditti also set the stage for Ganthet and Sayd to return to the series. With how the last few years have gone without the Guardians around it’s clear that it is time for at least Ganthet and Sayd to return to their former seat in power. Venditti showed this by how they were able to motivate Kyle to continue to push his White Lantern powers to its limit. It’s that type of motivation that has been missing from the Lantern Corps and has led to a fractured universe.
Kyle’s presence in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10 was also well done. Seeing how he is the only one Ganthet and Sayd are still in contact with since their exile is a good reminder of his Torchbearer role. Even though he is not a Green Lantern anymore, to Ganthet and Sayd, Kyle still has an important role within its lore. Hopefully with now the two teaming up it leads to Kyle taking on a bigger role in the series alongside Hal.
Ed Benes does a solid job giving additional depth to this talking heads heavy issue. Benes gets over where Hal is emotionally during his time in the Emerald Space. He is also able to give Abin Sur a sense of greatness with how he has him stand next to Hal. At the same time, he is able to give us a good idea of how much of a struggle it was for Kyle to exert so much of his White Lantern powers to bring Hal back to the realm of the living.
The Bad: As well done as Hal Jordan’s journey back to the realm of the living was “Bottled Light” continues to suffer when it comes to telling the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps conflict with Brainiac. While discovering that Larfleeze was behind Brainiac’s plot to capture the Green Lantern Corp it did not help make it this part of the story arc more interesting.
A big reason for the lack of interest is that a lot of what we saw from this side of “Bottled Light” story is that it felt repetitive. There was nothing that was added to what we already know when the issue opens with the Green and Yellow Lantern Corps struggling to escape. It would’ve honestly been more effective if we didn’t see anything about this side of the story until Brainiac handed the container with the two Lantern Corps to Larfleeze. At least then we could’ve seen how this rescue mission for Hal and Kyle plays into what Abin Sur was saying about bringing hope back to the universe.
What made this part of the story even weaker is how badly John Stewart continues to come off with each passing issue. Venditti’s portrayal of John has just been off-putting as there is very little reason for him to continue to act like a jerk to Soranik, a person he has long known as an ally. We’ve even seen how Soranik and the Yellow Lantern Corps presence have actually helped the Green Lantern Corps out against Starro. So for John to continue to act like he is superior makes him look like a secondary antagonist rather than one of the heroes we should be cheering for.
Overall: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #10 delivered a strong return to action for the title character following his brief death. Robert Venditti was able to deliver some fun fan-service while also establishing the future mission Hal Jordan and company need to accomplish. At the same time, Venditti brought back Ganthet, Sayd and Kyle Rayner back into the fold in ways that hopefully mean that they will take on bigger roles in this series in the near future. With this return out of the way maybe Hal and Kyle can now go on to help make the other part of “Bottled Light” a more interesting tale.