Green Lantern #48
Written by Robert Venditti
Art by Martin Coccolo & Billy Tan
Colors by Tony Avina
Batman makes an appearance in this month’s issue of Green Lantern, so naturally, we’re covering it! I haven’t been following this book lately, so I had to do a little catching up on this arc before getting to my review. I’ll start by saying its been an enjoyable read so far. For those of you that haven’t been tuning in to Green Lantern each month, but considered getting this issue because of Robo-Bats, then let me catch you up a little.
Hal is currently viewed as an outlaw, and is on the run – mostly hiding, but popping up on border planets here and there. As far as the universe is concerned, Hal turned on the Green Lanterns, and abandoned them – a reputation that Hal wanted to create to help redeem the Lantern Corp’s reputation after a major defeat. Unfortunately, things aren’t going as planned.
Hal was supposed to sacrifice his name, and then get “captured” by the Lantern Corp so they could redeem their reputation. But just as the plan was being put into motion, the other Green Lanterns disappeared. Hal has been cut-off ever sense, and has been forced to walk a fine line of trying to maintain the outlaw reputation he created for himself, yet stay true to his beliefs and calling.
In last month’s issue, Hal secretly made his way back to earth to reconnect with his brother and family. Another Lantern had been watching over his brother, but disappeared around the same time as the other Lanterns. Knowing that his time will be limited before he has to continue his search for the Corps, Hal partakes in a day of fun and family at the local pier, until tragedy strikes. Something was bound to happen right? We can’t let our heroes have a moment of peace and joy. Anyway, a bomb explodes at the pier injuring dozens of people, including Hal’s nephew. Hal then shifts his priority to the immediate threat on his home planet, and looks to take out the people behind the attack.
Shortly after the bombing, a radical group from Modora – a city that was overrun during the Destruction of the Berlin Wall – claimed responsibility for the attack, and promised more. Unable to trace any leads of this group on his own, Hal turns to an old friend that he knows will be able to help… Batman. Unfortunately, a lot has happened since Hal made himself an outlaw, and the Batman he comes into contact with isn’t the one he was hoping for.
Thankfully, Robo-Bats it represented quite well here, and we’re spared from experiencing the cliché fight between two heroes. I wouldn’t call this a must-read Batman moment – mainly because this isn’t Batman, but it does approach Gordon from a more realistic approach than many of the other books have approached him. Where so many other books have tried to turn Gordo-Bats into a legitimate superhero, this brief encounter paints a picture that is much more believable – a damn good cop with the best equipment that can be found in the U.S. And utilizing fundamental characteristics that make Gordon such a great character in his own respect, Hal is sent to continue his search for the Modora bombers. Is the book perfect? No, but it’s a decent read that has some nice moments, and is led by Hal Jordan’s heart.
The Art: I really enjoyed Coccolo’s art! There was something about the textures of his pencils in his shading and shadows that brought a fair amount of depth to this book. I wouldn’t consider it “gritty,” just textured. More importantly though, I felt like he knew how to draw art that plays to emotions. There were a number of instances in this issue where I saw a panel or page, and connected with it. It was the equivalent to watching a comic book film, and seeing nods or easter eggs throughout the movie that serves as a nod to fans.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Hal’s heart. I’ve never fully grasped onto Hal Joran as a character in a way that’s made me say, “I NEED to read this book!” Perhaps its my lack of knowledge of the character, or just the fact that everything I do read of him is from team-up books where he really isn’t able to shine through… But the two issues of Green Lantern I’ve covered for Batman-News is starting to make me a believer. There’s so much yearning in everything he does, and he takes these actions at a sacrifice to himself. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know what is.
Robo-Bats is actually good! Let me be completely honest… nothing about Gordon’s presence is worth running to your local comic shop to pick up this issue. Instead, it’s a nice representation of Gordon, and how I expected him act as “Batman.” So many other titles have turned Gordon into a person that doesn’t resemble the man we know. He’s doing flips, jumping off buildings, fighting like he’s mastered numerous combat skills… You’d half expect him to keep going as Robo-Bats once the real Batman comes back… Instead, this interpretation was pretty square, by the book, and played to his strengths. It was also one of the few times I’ve seen Robo-Bats and thought, “Yeah… that’s kind of cool.”
When in Gotham… I loved that Hal imitated Batman’s Bat signal by lighting up Gotham’s skyline with the Green Lantern signal. The moment I saw it, I smiled and thought, “Well… when in Gotham…” Then I turned the page to see Hal respond “When in Gotham…” after his approach is questioned.
Modora’s soldiers. You want a scary antagonist? Get a bunch of people that are willing to kill themselves for their cause. That is called belief. Belief can be one of the most powerful attributes someone has, and these guys have it… and it’s a little terrifying. Watching all of the Modora soldiers kill themselves after Hal tries to detain them was something I didn’t expect. You see it coming. You know its coming. But something in the back of your head says, “They wouldn’t do this…” Next panel: heads are popping all over the place.
The Bad: The melodrama. This book is a little melodramatic, and it does take away from the story a little. Hal is on a mission of vengeance to stop these radicals from Modora, so when they commit suicide in front of him, I expected him to be shocked. I didn’t expect him to then fall to his knees, crying, then look to the heavens and say, “Howard (Hal’s nephew)…Please don’t die…” as if their suicides put his nephew’s life at greater risk… It doesn’t. The kid was caught in an explosion. If he dies, it won’t be due to these yahoos blowing their heads off.
Cliché. There are quite a few cliché moments as well. The opening with the elderly lady was a prime example of this. It was the whole, “My roots are in this place. It’s my home. It’s your home too. Don’t let these bad guys get you down. Go stop them! Go do it for my injured husband, and your family!” bit. We’ve seen this a million times. What it comes down to, is a writer trying to force a moving moment, and it just fell flat.
Filler issue. If you’ve been reading the arc, then this entire issue feels like a filler issue. It’s completely off point from the main plot, but there are enough enjoyable moments that it’s not a waste of time.
- You’re a fan of Hal Jordan.
- Hal and Robo-Bats sounds like a good time.
- You want to see the Green Lantern symbol shining in Gotham!
Overall: While this is a perfectly fine issue with a few enjoyable moments, it’s not life changing. If you haven’t been reading the run, then I wouldn’t pick it up. It’s a nice read, and I enjoy Gordon’s representation, but in the end, Robo-Bats doesn’t do enough to warrant Batman fans to pick up this issue.