Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ethan Van Sciver
Colorist: Jason Wright
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Starting in the New 52 era, writer Robert Venditti has taken the Green Lantern Corp through the some of the most trying times in the faction’s history. However, Venditti has reinvented the mythos of Hal Jordan and the entire Green Lantern universe, and sets the stage for a battle of ethics and might in this issue.
The issue begins with a view of an assembly line, with each panel of the first three pages showing the creation of Darkstar exo-suits for a group of beings called the Controllers. These Controllers discuss their perceived failures of the Green Lantern Corp and its inability to protect the Universe and maintain order amongst the different space sectors. They believe that they can enforce their will throughout the universe with an army of Darkstar warriors. Similar to how a Green Lantern’s ring chooses its host, each Darkstar suit is designed to choose its host as well. Of course, one suit becomes self aware and claims that it does not recognize the authority of the Controllers and kills them, just before it escapes into space to find a suitable host.
It is at this point in the story that the focus shifts towards the Living Planet Mogo and the home base of the Green Lantern Corp. After a brief cameo by Corp Members John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Raynor, the setting transitions to The Sciencells, which Venditti describes as an “Ultra-Maximum Security Prison for the Universe’s Worst Criminals.” It is within the Sciencells that the majority of this issue takes place. We are introduced to the former Green Lantern member and now convicted criminal Tomar-Tu as he discusses with the nature of his crime with a younger member of the Corp.
When the main character Hal Jordan enters the story and speaks with Tomar-Tu about why he committed the murder that sent him to the Sciencells prison, the reader is presented with an ethical debate about what constitutes justice and whether simply killing criminals is more effective than imprisoning them. This is where Venditti’s talent shines as he guides Tomar-Tu and Hal through a moral minefield with each arguing their viewpoint how the other’s viewpoint is wrong. What could have turned into a clichéd exchange becomes one of the best examples of dialogue and how it builds a character as Tomar-Tu discusses his lack of remorse for his deeds and how his point of view is necessary to ensure justice is delivered. Surprisingly, Tomar-Tu mirrors the mentality of Marvel’s Frank Castle in their belief that true justice requires lethal force in order to prevent the crime from reoccurring.
Of course, this eloquent exchange could not be achieved without the stellar work of artists Ethan Van Sciver and Jason Wright. Van Sciver has a long and storied history with the Green Lantern universe, and he continues to give life to the immense GL universe. Van Sciver's work truly shines when he illustrating all the varied alien races and locations, making each character unique and genuine. Readers are also treated to Jason Wright's outstanding color work. In a title such as this one where colors are an integral component of the characters and mythology, Wright balances subtlety and vivid hues in such a masterful way that few other titles published today can match.
Verdict: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corp #42 is the first act in what will most likely become an entertaining and significant story arc for the characters and its respective universe, and I highly encourage long time fans and new readers to add this to their must read list.