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Subj: Hal and the Green Lantern Corps #27 - Mass Destruction.
Posted: Sun Aug 27, 2017 at 09:48:51 am EDT (Viewed 299 times)
Making no apologies for its commitment to grand spectacle and delivering mass destruction on a truly cosmic scale Robert Venditti's 'Fall of the Gods' takes the Green lantern Corps into the sort of territory it historically should have always occupied, yet somehow never quite did. With colossal 100+ foot godlike beings descending on the universe from beyond there are elements to this story that echo early 1990s Green Lantern/Darkstars/LEGION crossover Trinity, a story that saw three apparent giant Gods from the days of ancient Maltus return to existence to judge the planets worthiness to continue existing, and by proxy challenge the hitherto strict orthodoxy of the Guardians of the Universe.
That story was a rare thing for Green Lantern, a book that was traditionally more comfortable in travelling lower horizons with Hal Jordan's main issues being the likes of Doctor Polaris, Hector Hammond, and Star Sapphire. Modern thinking however, courtesy of chief architect Geoff Johns, has thankfully rethought the whole concept of Green Lantern and left the problems of inadequate challenges for the series behind. Today the series occupies a more fitting landscape for a cosmic protector, and yet the downside to the new standing has seen a corresponding recession in what we once knew as the normality that Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner could escape to outside of their Green Lantern duties. For a series that was meant to see a Green lantern based in every space sector the question as to why it is that four earthmen are content to stay at the center of the universe and in self-exile from their homeworld has never been one that has been adequately addessed...
Nevertheless, filled with grand set-pieces and a threat from beyond the universe 'Hal and the Green Lantern Corps #27' is a rather pleasant and uncomplicated entry into the monthly schedules. It offers no apologies for its visiting mass destruction on the homeworld of Corps mainstay Sallak as obviously alien worlds and their innocent inhabitants in comics-land don't count and exist as nothing more than collateral. As Hal Jordan attempts to both battle and survive the giant God-hunter that has set its sights on eliminating New God Orion it does have to be asked why it is Jordan does not take the immediate and obvious course in moving the taarget and its hunter off Slyggia and off into space, thus avoiding the possible mass casualties and the very real possibility that the planet itself might be destroyed if the God-hunter's full power is exercised. Indeed as the struggle progresses what does it say that in the end it isn't Hal of Kyle who show such consideration, but rather the Fourth World's God of War himself?
Out of all of the characters who were revamped in the 2011 restarting of the DC Universe it is Orion who in many ways stands proud as one of the (few) beneficiaries of the rethinking. A seemingly younger and more swaggering figure than the Orion of old, yet even so he seems much more in line with the more considered and intelligent character of which Walt Simonson spent memorable time with in the 1990s. Whether Robert Venditti is familiar with Simonson's work on the character is doubtful based on previous comments coming from the writer, but from the memorable and striking first page visual from Rafa Sandoval of a descending celestial foot about to smash down Robert Venditti's capturing of Orion's post-2011 voice is not just consistent with what has gone before, but insightful. It tells us something about Orion's capacity for respect and willingness to engage with the 'lowly' humanity of a lesser universe that he can talk to Hal Jordan on a first name basis. Perhaps it is an expression of his relative youth, an aspect of his semi-rebellious nature that he is willing to visit and cooperate with the Universe that has become most connected with the New Gods, but more than that as the collossal, faceless, God-hunter proves unyielding it isn't the two Green Lanterns present who are seen to be considering the effects of the battle on the world around them. And in the end it isn't the Lanterns who take dramatically selfless and life threatening steps to end the carnage. It is Orion, the legendary Dog of War and premier warrior of the Fourth World. Taking the extraordinary lengths to not only end his life, but offer up his own heart to end the assault of the God killer. A move that is as practical as it is symbolic, in that in the end it acts as a demonstration of this New God's deeply held compassion.
By design or coincidence it is a treatment that is evocative of Orion's high point in the last two to three decades - under the pen and guidance of Walt Simonson. Applying a more humanising direction for a character who all too often is rendered completely one-dimensional, reeking of mindless barbaric aggression, and with little or no apparent consideration for anything or anyone but himself and his fellow new gods. All of which is a treatment belongs to another age. If it is Mister Miracle who has acted as traditional entry point and identification figure for reader entry into Jack kirby's Fourth World then in 2017 it seems quite a step forward that in rethinking and reversing the decades of poor work with the character and reverting him back towards the original treatments pioneered by his creator back in the 1970s Orion might well be one character who benefited the most from the flaws and turmoil of the New-52 mandate. An irony indeed considering the inbuilt predilection for negative tones and destructive characterisation that resulted from that relaunching...
Great spectacle then for Robert Venditti's latest cosmic themed storyline. But also in the end some fine character moments as Orion is transported to mogo for protection and John Stewart finds himself confronted by past tragedies and self-doubts. The scenes here are well judged, relighting the history between the all-powerful new Gods for 'above' and what their effect has all too often been on the Universe their struggles and actions so often spill over into. John for his part has the guidance and leadership of the Corps and their duties to balance, but in spite of his long journey to accepting his role in the destruction of Xanshi years ago his own sense of responsibility and regret will never allow him to fully resolve the questions of his own weakness that day. The fact that he was complicit in the errors leading up to the destruction of a populated planet can never leave him, especially not now when he has found himself in the position of being responsible for potentially billions of worlds. It's surprising in a sense that a story that appeared three decades ago and in principle compromised by several rebootings and revisions of the DC Universe the moment is still accepted as entirely appropriate and relevant to the John Stewart of 2017....
But all said and done this was a fun and entertaining read. Green Lantern isn't a series built for depth or subtlety, but for what it is it it can perform wonders for those of us looking for moments of genuine escapism and grand scale cosmic adventure. A tip of the hat to Robert Venditti and the fine imaginative work of Rafa Sandoval.
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