The Darkstars are encroaching on the Green Lanterns’ territory, and they aren’t restricting their lethal methods to just the criminals.  Will John Stewart’s leadership save or sink the Corps?  Your Major Spoilers review of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45 awaits!

HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #45 CoverHAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #45

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 23, 2018

Previously in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps:  Former Green Lantern Tomar-Tu has relaunched The Darkstars as a competing force for the GLC, but with one new twist: Every penalty is death.  With Tomar’s soldiers dealing with galactic menaces, Green Lantern Corps leader John Stewart has to make unexpected allies, while Guy Gardner and Hal Jordan seek out some old friends for help…

WE START WITH WHOLESALE MURDER

As our story opens, a Lantern named Weggett has captured the villainous Star Pharaoh, whom we have never seen before, but who is clearly a terrible threat to the galaxy.  Before he can bring the villain to justice, though, they are ambushed by Darkstars, who take the Pharaoh and dismember Weggett for no discernable reason.  That shocking sequence leads right into another, as Hal Jordan has tracked down Hector Hammond for psychic assistance, only to find him imprisoned under the care of The Atomic Skull.  There is some REALLY bad tough-guy macho dialogue between Lantern and Skull, and their battle is kind of pointless, making it a mercy when Hammond shuts it down.  As for Guy Gardner, he and Arkillo of the Sinestro Corps have met in a seedy bar to discuss joining forces against Darkstar attacks, only to have one occur during their conversation!  And Corps leader John Stewart is on New Krypton, trying to forge an alliance with General Zod himself, reminding the Kryptonian that the leader of the Darkstars is the son of the man Zod blames for the destruction of Krypton so many years ago.

HE CALLED ATOMIC SKULL A “BONEHEAD”?

John’s transparent attempts at manipulating Zod feel particularly pointless, but they’re not as bad as the dialogue seen in the Atomic Skull/Hal fight sequence.  And a shocking decision made by Guy Gardner in the pages of Hal and the Green Lantern Corps #45 is one of the only parts of the issue that feels properly motivated by the story to me.  There’s no real explanation in these pages for why the Darkstars are suddenly everywhere, how they get away with their murderous ways or what their endgame is.  Worse still, they’re wearing identical featureless stormtrooper helmets, which should be frightening, but really isn’t because of the stiffness of the art.  Every panel is filled with cross-hatching and energy effects, as well, which leads to an issue that feels busy and overdone, with the same blank tough-guy sneer on every face.  Well, not EVERY face…  Hector Hammond (who has of late been rendered with ridiculously arched brows and eyes that don’t point the same direction) is even more wall-eyed than usual, which differentiates itself at least a little bit, though not in a good way.  As the issue ends, Hal and Hector are off to save the day, but the full-page splash is still stiff and strangely awkward.

BOTTOM LINE: THIS IS AN UNPLEASANT COMIC

The fact that the title character refers to a skull-headed villain as a “bonehead” really tells you all you need to know about this comic book, consisting of equal parts tough-guy dialogue and empty rhetoric.  It’s kind of a shame, too, as Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #45 has the first new twist on the “endless armies of flying guys fighting in space” formula that has come to define this book in a while, only to miss the mark thanks to awkward dialogue and even more awkward art, earning 2 out of 5 stars overall.  It’s really disappointing how off-putting this issue ends up being…

HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #45

Writing
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Awkward dialogue and overwrought situations make for a less-than-successful issue and the stiff, awkward art doesn't help.

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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