The premise of Robert Venditti, Billy Tan and Martin Coccolo’s “Green Lantern” #44 puts Hal, Trapper and Virgo on the planet Gallun for some medical attention. This riles up the locals, not unlike an Old West film where a stranger comes into town and scares the locals because strangers always bring trouble. In this case, Venditti serves up the trouble in the form of Olio’s Wake, seven Thanagarian marauders whose wings are a mechanical hodgepodge that vary by individual. Like a goofy scene in a western, Trapper learns the outcome of shooting the wings off a speeding flyer, adding to the achingly familiar feel of the plot.
The art shifts when the winged antagonists attack. The seven flyers are mostly ciphers; they serve the purpose of giving Hal Jordan some asses to kick. It’s nice to see some more Thanagarians added to the DC Universe, even if Manhawks would have been a smarter, more threatening choice for this situation, as none of these attackers are particularly memorable beyond their bastardized speaking patterns.
Dave Sharpe is at the top of his game, crafting new styles and pushing the limits of word balloons, especially through the shouting bits from the marauders. The tails are a bit elongated on a lot of his balloons, but not in a distracting way as he applies the lettering consistently through both artists’ work.
Tam’s art is sound and has structured, solid storytelling that refuses to release its grasp on the real world. This is deep space and a world readers may never see again, but Tan keeps things familiar and real, which just seems like an opportunity for fantastic imagery nearly missed. Coccolo unleashes a bit and his characters are more exaggerated and expressive while remaining detailed. His drawings seem Travis Charest-like, reminiscent of “Darkstars” and almost as ’90s. Deeper in his interpretation of the journey, Coccolo more intricately attaches the light constructs to Hal.
“Green Lantern” #44 isn’t the worst of the issues in this run where Hal is underground and working by his own code, but it also isn’t going to be the most memorable. It feels like an inventory tale, buying time and measuring out pacing for something else. I don’t know what that “something else” is, but hopefully Venditti and crew find it soon and revitalize this title once more.