The notion of Hal Jordan on the run may seem like a retread idea, but writer Robert Venditti and artist Billy Tan immerse Jordan and the readers in the underbelly of space, where sentient beings are trafficked for sport and entertainment. “Green Lantern” #41 is less about the Lantern Corps and more about the legend of Hal Jordan.
That legend follows Jordan on a quest to Y’Gaal, where Venditti introduces the reader to Hal’s new status quo. The writer’s choice for a non-descript foe to start Jordan’s new life is smart, in that Jordan doesn’t get overshadowed in his own title. Venditti puts enough threat and menace into the adventure to make it exciting but makes it quite clear that Jordan has it all under control. He’s got more than sixteen percent of a plan to work with and he’s executing it to the fullest.
Jordan is only recognizable by name, having forsaken the trademark mask and uniform of the Green Lantern Corps for a bedraggled, shaggy mop of hair, an overcoat and a white and green outfit. Wielding a gauntlet and piloting a starship named Darlene, Jordan claims to be learning the ropes of his new weaponry and life. Tan has fun with the new gauntlet-triggered constructs, giving Jordan more creativity than the former space cop is known for exhibiting.
The rest of this brave new world drawn into “Green Lantern” #41 is less visually impressive. Tan fills the panels with gruesome and rough-edged beings that are plain in comparison to the alien species introduced in “Omega Men” #1 or even the alliance of “Invasion” from decades ago. More mutated than alien, the collection of critters is fun but not intimidating. Tan’s art really shines through in Jordan’s activities. When Jordan fires up the stolen Lantern gauntlet for the first time, Tan’s work leaps forward and the colors from Alex Sinclair and Tony AviÃ±a wash over the page. Dave Sharpe’s lettering showcases a wide variety of styles and applications, from growling snarls of aliens to bellowed exclamations during a prison break. Sharpe keeps Tan’s work clean and accents the visuals nicely throughout, helping transmit the story alongside Tan’s drawings.
The “Green Lantern” franchise has ebbed and flowed for the past couple years, so it seems as though it was only a matter of time until we had a “Green Lantern on the run” storyline. Luckily, Venditti, Tan and crew add to the mystery in space theme of the post-“Convergence” DC Universe by not revealing everything right away in “Green Lantern” #41. Hal Jordan has a new purpose and new trappings but, at the heart of this first issue, he is still a man with an amazingly powerful weapon trying to do the right thing, at least as he understands it. Venditti has taken Jordan out of the Corps; now, it’s up to his collaboration with Tan to make it exciting.