Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps was able to recover after small stumble in the issue that preceded the last. Bringing the Blue Lanterns back into the fold as the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps are in the beginning stages of their alliance has created several interesting stories to follow. As he showed with his first two arcs in this series Robert Venditti showed he was more than up to the task of balancing multiple storylines with his main characters spread out across the galaxy. The position that Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner found Saint Walker, the last Blue Lantern, did create a lot of questions to be answered. Let’s see if some of those questions will be answered with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15.
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Jason Wright
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: On Planet Mogo John Stewart and Soranik create ten teams of one Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps member. They give each team the information Cabbie gave them to hunt down the rogue Sinestro Corps members.
John and Soranik explain they picked the ten teams to make the best use of everyone’s strength and personalities. John then assigns Kilowog’s team to go after Setag Retss and Tomar-Tu’s team to go after Romat-Ru. As John is giving Guy’s team his assignment he notices that Guy is not around and his ring can’t detect his location.
On Planet Heep Guy, who used Cabbie’s cab to travel to the planet and is in his normal clothes, trying to get answers from a resident of the planet. Guy explains all he has done to get to Heep. Guy then tells the person he is interrogating to tell the one he is after that the more scare the person he is after the worse he’ll look in front of everyone.
Over on a dying planet in Space Sector 3172 Hal Jordan is trying to communicate with Kyle Rayner but is unable to. Kyle in the meantime is struggling against a mysterious alien. As the mysterious alien captures Kyle, Hal spots a blue light coming from the top of a mountain.
On the mountain Saint Walker tells the creature, who he calls Elemental, to release Kyle and he will stay until one of them wins. Elemental says he will not bargain with Saint Walker.
At that moment Hal flies in and attacks Elemental to try to free Kyle from his grasp. As he continues his attack on Elemental, Hal is surprised to see Saint Walker. Hal says that Ganthet and Sayd want to meet with him but before they leave they need to get Kyle. Hal tries to cut Kyle loose but ends up being captured by Elemental as well.
On Mogo, Soranik meets John in the command center after all the teams have left. John beats himself up over allowing Hal, Kyle and Guy going out on their own and how that means he won’t have the full respect of the rest of the Lantern Corps as a leader. Soranik says that Hal and Guy can’t be controlled by anyone and Kyle enjoys chasing his “big brothers.” John says he can’t have them act that way anymore and that now he is trying to think like Guy in order to get them to do their jobs.
Cabbie comes in and says that Guy came to him asking about one particular rogue Sinestro Corps member and now Guy took his cab. John asks Cabbie about the Sinestro Corps member Guy was asking for. Cabbie tells John to not shoot the messenger.
Back on the dying planet Hal and Kyle are stuck in a dark space that makes their rings act weird while captured by Elemental. As Saint Walker tries to set them free Elemental is using all of Hal and Kyle’s hopes and dreams of the future and turning them into their greatest fears as he sucks the life out of them.
Saint Walker tells Elemental that all he has done is show Hal and Kyle how they won’t let their lives end. Hal and Kyle proceed to power up and use their combine ring powers to destroy Elemental.
Saint Walker compliments Hal and Kyle on being able to defeat Elemental, who he struggled to defeat. Hal explains how he saw his future family and how it was taken from him without finding a way to get it back until he felt something else. Kyle says he went through similar events and they ended up finding a way past the wall together.
Saint Walker says that with Elemental destroyed he will not return for a long time as long as Hope is not abandoned from the world they are on. Hal and Kyle feel that the earthquakes and volcanic eruptions have stopped. Saint Walker shows the two that life is returning to the planet as a single plant begins to grow from the ground.
Hal tells Saint Walker that it is time for them to leave to meet with Ganthet and Sayd. Saint Walker happily joins Hal and Kyle to meet his old friends.
Kilowog suddenly is able to contact Hal and Kyle and informs them that Guy has gone AWOL and John is in a crack-down mood. Hal says he is heading back to Mogo, which he does with Saint Walker and Kyle taking off with him.
On Heep Guy is sitting on a chair waiting for his target to come. Some aliens start freaking out when Guy’s target gets closer. Guy stands up and sees Arkillo standing right in front of him ready to eat him.
Guy mentions how long it took Arkillo to find him and then says that the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps have joined forces. He goes on to say that the rogue Sinestro Corps members have been given the choice to join the alliance or go to jail, which is why Guy came for Arkillo personally.
Arkillo wonders if Guy brought his ring. Guy says he did not bring his ring since he figured Arkillo us loyal and will take all the hits he can if it means his boss is in the clear. Arkillo states that Sinestro gave him a purpose to instill fear in the universe, and with that he will slaughter or be slaughtered.
Guy tells Arkillo that he feels the same way about being a member of the Green Lantern Corps which is why there is only room in the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps alliance for one of them.
Guy then challenges Arkillo to take off his ring so they can fight over which one of them will be the Lantern that will reign supreme. End of issue.
The Good: Robert Venditti once again shows his understanding of how to pace a comic book well to continue the momentum of one story and transferring it to the next. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps shows this as we are able to see Hal and Kyle’s search for Saint Walker wrap-up and now transition our main focus to Guy Gardner. This seamless transition makes all the enriching character moments much more enjoyable to see play out.
With how much attention Hal has gotten since the series started it was refreshing to see that Venditti did not stretch out his main story during this new arc. By wrapping up the Saint Walker story up quickly, at least for now, we are able to focus on the several plotlines around the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps alliance. This also made the fact that Hal, Kyle and Saint Walker’s story that dominated this issue moved with a greater sense of purpose since we were able to get a satisfying conclusion.
As quickly as Hal, Kyle and Saint Walker wraps up Venditti does a very good making sure that the three were able to get enough character work to make this closure of the story satisfying. It was particularly interesting how Venditti integrated the future that Johns showed Hal and Kyle had in his final issue of the series. That gave further weight to how they were able to overcome Elemental’s attack on them and keep to the hope theme of their current story. Saint Walker’s reaction to all of this also brought up some questions as to what direction Venditti will go with him once this current arc is over.
On the other side of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, it was good to see that Venditti is not wasting any time in furthering the alliance between the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps. Creating 10 teams made up of characters with different skill and personalities helps to make each other better. This especially works to get around the training period as the veteran Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps members can act as mentors to rookie members, drawing greater parallels with the Jedi from Star Wars.
This set up for the alliance between the two Lantern Corps also shows how John and Soranik are tackling the issues their respective Corps may have with each other. It at least shows that they are being active about leading this alliance rather than just passively letting everyone try to get along. The confidence they showed during the meeting with all their Lantern Corps members was nicely balanced out with their private scene of showing how annoying it is that Hal, Kyle and Guy are acting on their own accord.
Speaking of Guy, Venditti was able to give us a good reason as to why he struck out on his own to go after Arkillo. Even if newer readers aren’t familiar with their rivalry Venditti gave us enough of a background as why the problems between Guy and Arkillo is personal. Grounding the rivalry in the fact that they are exactly the same type of tough guy character for their respective Lantern Corps makes the fight between them a must-see event, especially since they aren’t using their rings.
Having Ethan Van Sciver on board to draw all of the action and character moments made the best things about Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15 stand out even more. Sciver’s artwork especially shines with everything involving Hal, Kyle and Saint Walker overcoming Elemental. Seeing Hal and Kyle flash forward to the future and quickly shift to their greatest fears had a great transition framed around their crippling body as Elemental was sucking the life out of this. This all made the moment when Hal and Kyle were able to combine their powers to overcome Elemental have a greater impact. Sciver was able to carrier on that spectacle to the ending by creating a big fight feel to Guy and Arkillo’s fight with his close up shot of Guy excited about what is to come.
The Bad: One long term problem that Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15 brought up for the series as a whole is the complete focus on the Earth Green Lanterns and Soranik. Though characters like Kilowog and Tomar-Tu have gotten some attention it hasn’t been substantial. This issue teased us with being able to get a chance to see other characters get some development but they are instantly pushed aside for the long-standing Earth Green Lanterns. That’s were one-shot issues, like what issue #13 should’ve, been can come into play to add further depth to this series.
It would have actually helped Guy’s story if John and Soranik actually sent out one of the teams to go after Guy. Because as it stands, it just looks like John and Soranik have such tunnel vision about Hal, Kyle and Guy going off on their own they didn’t think about how they can use their new teams to help figure out what Guy is doing. It would have at least given Guy and Arkillo’s fight a greater sense of urgency as we’ve would have known that there is a Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps team that could arrive at any moment in the fight.
Overall: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #15 did an excellent job progressing several stories at once. The quick conclusion to Hal and Kyle’s search for Saint Walker was satisfying, allowing the stories involving the Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps alliance to take over the spotlight moving forward. This is particularly good for Guy Gardner’s solo mission to confront Arkillo, as that story alone added a new wrinkle to the young alliance. How Robert Venditti concludes that story along with the hunt for the other rogue Sinestro Corps members will be fun to see play out in future issues.