Robert Venditti charges on with the core tale of the Green Lanterns picking up the pieces of after the Third Army and the First Lantern shook the universe to its very foundations, but last issue showed that, perhaps, they're a little too desperate for fresh blood as none of the new recruits managed to hold their own in their first encounter. Hal Jordan wound up pulling them from the proverbial fire, even despite the rings randomly shutting off, but his disgust with their poor performance is rebuked by Kilowog, who lays the blame squarely on Jordan's doorstep for his poor training and even poorer leadership. Jordan can't seem to hear Kilowog's advice, however, as he sets out to find an escapee of the sciencells, who killed a Lantern in the process of her escape. When Jordan finally does track her down, who she is and what she's become is surprising enough, but that's nothing compared to what visions she shows him taking place across the universe. Venditti had the unenviable job of picking up an extraordinarily well-established character after an extraordinary run but, as previously established, he continues to do a fantastic job with staying faithful to everything that came before, as well as striking his own path. It's an interesting thing, seeing something that makes even the unflappable Hal Jordan sweat: actual, real responsibility for not only the lives, but the training and futures, of an entire Corps. Jordan may have led troops into multiple battles, but he's never had to be the one who has to look after them on the home front as well. He also does a great job juggling, and defining, the new Corps members, any one of whom I'd love to see get their own spin-off book.
Billy Tan handles pencils with Rob Hunter on inks and, as always, they do a stellar job of ensuring every character, and action, look crisp, clean and well-defined. In a book that features such a dazzling array of strange and unique characters, it's great to see artists like these work their trade so effectively as both slower, more plodding moments are given equal detail and weight to zipping through space and ploughing into battle. The fantastic, unique character designs don't hurt either, from the new Corps to old favorites and even new and emergent villains, everything looks like it belongs in the vast, strange universe it inhabits. That can also be chalked up to amazing coloring from Alex Sinclair, who works as well with Tan as he does with frequent collaborator Jim Lee and brings just as much vibrancy and life to this as he does to his other, perhaps more classic, stories.
There's truly not much to complain about in this issue. Hal Jordan is a bit impulsive and headstrong, even by his own, generous, standards and there are a lot more questions asked than answered about what, exactly, has been going on in the title, but it's only been a few issues, so answers aren't exactly overdue yet. That said, not a great deal truly happens in this issue to either provoke intrigue nor tease future events. This definitely feels like a middle issue in an arc. A very solid, well-produced middle issue, but still a bit more filler than not.
Filler or not, the issue entertains and that can't be understated. It's nice to see a hero that's usually such an unwavering paragon falter, even if it is only slightly, as it makes that character a bit more grounded and relatable. I definitely like where Venditti is going with both the character and the supporting cast. Rather than resting on the laurels of what came before, he's establishing plenty of his own creations, particularly in the rogue's gallery, and I'm onboard for whatever happens next.