I’ll freely admit that I drifted away from “Green Lantern” a couple of years ago; there are only so many comics one can read, and the series hadn’t been holding my attention. With “Convergence” providing a new status quo for “Green Lantern,” though, it felt as good a time as any to see what Robert Venditti, Billy Tan, Mark Irwin and Scott Hanna were up to on the title. Having now read “Green Lantern” #42 (as well as last month’s #41), it’s not bad at all, but it’s also much less of a re-launch than one might initially think.
“Green Lantern” #42 still stars Hal Jordan, but now he’s a long-haired renegade, using a gauntlet instead of a ring, and entirely removed from the Green Lantern Corps. He’s still doing good, though, as this issue follows up on last month’s rescue of alien royalty Virgo from a despicable fellow named Trapper. Of course, nothing goes easily, and Hal and company have to fend off Trapper’s gang (with Trapper locked up inside Hal’s new spaceship) while simultaneously trying to deal with an unexpected tragedy on Virgo’s home planet Ketleth Prime.
Reading “Green Lantern” #42, it’s hard to shake the feeling that almost nothing in this issue actually requires the new status quo. Hal could have just as easily gone on this mission as a part of the Green Lantern Corps, aside from perhaps the lack of a spaceship to provide long-term transport for Virgo and Trapper. Sure, there’s a sequence where we learn that Hal’s control over the gauntlet doesn’t yet possess the fine-tuned control he had over his ring but, otherwise, this is a very standard “Green Lantern” story. Venditti’s story is reasonable, but it also doesn’t stand out. It seems very on the nose — everything from the fellow who kidnaps people and sells them being named Trapper to the predictable fate of Virgo and Trapper — but it’s also somewhat pleasant.
In many ways, Tan’s pencils (as well as Mark Irwin and Scott Hanna’s inks) in “Green Lantern” #42 mirror Venditti’s script. It doesn’t stand out, but it doesn’t fall down on the job either. I’m unconvinced on the Hal Jordan visual revamp, which feels very early ’90s with his longer hair and occasionally burning eye sockets; if the Image founders had all been asked to redesign Green Lantern, I suspect one of the finished options would have looked very close to this. Where Tan’s imagination is at its best is when we see the spaceships of Trapper’s crew. Each one looks different than the others, and some are standard sleek models while others are spiky and non-homogenous. It comes across as a real hodge-podge effect, which feels right for how Trapper’s cronies are presented.
“Green Lantern” #42 is, ultimately, still an average series. At least for now, the new direction is little more than window dressing rather than really working with a new setup. Being no longer a member of the Green Lantern Corps might have had more of a punch to it if the Green Lantern Corps hadn’t also been wiped out (at least for now). Add in that we have a much stronger space-faring comic with renegades on the run published the same week at DC Comics (“The Omega Men”) and this really doesn’t stand out. Fans of recent “Green Lantern” will probably stick around but, for now, there’s nothing offered up that feels like a strong jumping-on point. The potential for something truly different is here but, for the moment, it’s business as usual.