If you haven’t read Green Lantern #22 yet, don’t read this review. I’ll be referencing events that occur in Green Lantern #22 and back. You have been warned.
The Green Lantern Corps is still in disarray. Larfleeze’s attack on Oa is still fresh in everyone’s mind as Green Lanterns new and old wearily attempt to rebuild. Prior to Green Lantern #23, Hal Jordan was made leader of the corps by the New Guardians just before they left to explore the universe with the only White Lantern, Kyle Rayner. During that time, the one and only Orange Lantern, Larfleeze, attacked the Green Lantern home world of Oa, killing many and stealing even more. In desperation, Hal sent rings out for new recruits only to see those rookies slaughter the moment their feet touched Oa’s surface. The cherry on the top of this horrifying sundae is the prisoner breakout that left another Lantern dead.
That is where Green Lantern #23 begins, in the wake of Larfleeze. Hal Jordan, leader of the corps, is still fuming over the battle and how poorly the new recruits handled themselves in the face of terrible danger. Even Kilowog believes Jordan is lacking the appropriate understanding and compassion for these rookies. Regardless, Jordan has other things on his mind, the prisoner escapee. At this point he still doesn’t know that Praxiam Nol-Anj is actually a Star Sapphire. Meanwhile, no one has solved the mystery of the failing power rings. How much more tension could be added here? Robert Venditti has put together a truly compelling story in the aftermath of “Wrath of the First Lantern”. Left with a brand new universe, Venditti has taken it upon himself to bring Green Lantern to a more harsh, disturbing and dark level. Previously, Green Lantern had been a bright spot in the DC universe (if you don’t count the whole first time a superhero’s girlfriend was killed thing from the 90′s), balancing out the likes of Batman but since the “Blackest Night” story arc, Green Lantern has thrived best when Oa is at its worst and the corps is on the verge of total annihilation. Venditti and his creative team have not forgotten this.
It is very reassuring that in the post-Geoff Johns era of GL, the series is continuing to grow and each issue under the new creative team is stronger than the last. Venditti has me interested, curious and at times, on the edge of my seat. He has Hal Jordan’s personality down pat and the newer characters are bringing a nice presence to the series now that the primary Earth Lanterns all have their own series to focus on (I’ve listed those at the end of this article).
Billy Tan and Rob Hunter are also doing a truly stand out job with this issue. The visuals are striking and intense. The dark cloud hanging over Oa is perfectly represented by the harsh shadowing and seriousness seen on the character’s faces. I’m feeling a lot more emotion in the characters just by looking at them. I also feel that the illustrations are solidifying, becoming more consistent. Hal Jordan, for example, looks awesome. The detail in his suit and facial features is really quite impressing. Also, the addition of so many new characters must be hard on the illustration team since there isn’t a whole lot of reference material to go off of.
Overall, Green Lantern #23 is a really solid issue. It continues to push the plot forward while keeping the overarching feeling dark and depressed. This is not a happy time to be a Green Lantern and there is no question that harder times are ahead. In fact, this issues references the next issue which is numbered #23.1. This story arc will cover the Relic which is a serious threat discovered in last month’s Green Lantern: New Guardians issue. Green Lantern #23 is a must read for any Green Lantern fan and it’s also a good starting point for those wishing to jump on the bandwagon. Enough of the back story is explained that not much will be missed for a new comer.
For other Green Lantern stories:
- John Stewart - Green Lantern Corps
- Kyle Rayner - Green Lantern: New Guardians
- Guy Gardner - Red Lanterns
- Simon Baz – (JLA) Justice League of America
- Alan Scott – Earth 2
In brightest day, in darkest night, no evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!