Hal Jordan is in pursuit of Lightray of the New Gods in the hopes of saving he and Highfather from the Nth Metal Golems that are trying to wipe out their kind. Unfortunately, Lightray is the God of Speed and among the fastest beings in the universe. He can’t slow down, lest the pursuing Omega Beams kill Highfather. Can Hal find the will within himself to catch up with someone who can move at the speed of light?
This is something of a scenario comic. That means it’s light on story, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. You have the setup: Lightray, Omega Beams, Hal Jordan. You have the goal: Hal needs to catch Lightray. And you have the stakes: the death of Highfather. The comic spends its entire runtime showing you how its protagonist will solve the puzzle.
Sometimes the solution is creativity or wit. This time, it’s a personal conflict. Hal needs to find the will and fearlessness required to push his power hard enough to catch Lightray.
How does he do it? Does he do it at all? Well (spoilers), something unexpected happens. Somehow, his father manifests in the backseat due to some mixture of the Green Lantern Light, Lightray’s powers, and the Omega Effect of the Nth Metal Golems. Don’t think about the how’s too much; it will probably never make that much sense.
Instead, you should pay attention to the execution. What we are given is a very touching moment between Hal “Highball” Jordan and his father. The two discuss their love of flying, why each of them does it, and what Hal needs to do to save Lightray and Highfather. It was an unexpected meeting, and it gives this comic the emotional weight to make me OK with it only advancing the story very little.
In that way, it’s very much like the most recent issue of Justice League. Both did little to advance their story, but each gave me solid enough character moments to make me OK with that.
Thanks to that, it makes it that more meaningful when Hal Jordan (spoilers again) does push himself and the Green Ring hard enough to catch up with Lightray and Highfather.
It’s a simple thing, but it’s not done often enough. Establishing and re-establishing what a victory means for a character makes the win that much sweeter or the loss that much more bitter. Robert Venditti really does something special here.
I cannot praise Rafa Sandoval’s artistic talent enough. I’ve said it before: he is one of the best artists currently working in comics. His work is incredible here, and I hope to see him on other titles, too.
Tomeu Morey provides phenomenal color work to complement Sandoval’s talent, allowing for each page to explode with color and dazzle. It’s fantastic.
This issue continues the Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps tradition of finding new ways to surprise me with how well it works. This is among DC’s best offerings right now, and you should be reading it. Pick it up.
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