And now for something completely different.

Hal Jordan has been convicted of crimes under the influence of the yellow ring and sentenced to the penal colony on Harring to do back-breaking labor as atonement for his sins.  To make matters worse, the correctional officer in charge of him is Sinestro’s Green Lantern daughter Soranik. To make matters worse, Sinestro himself has also been sentenced to the penal colony of Harring.

To make matters better (?) Hal has Guy Gardner for company.

If you’ve been reading Injustice since the start, this ought to surprise you since Guy’s been dead since the original series killed him and hundreds of other Green Lanterns in the final showdown before Superman was finally brought to heel.

But this issue, entitled “Hate” demonstrates that something like death can’t stand in the way of Tom Taylor’s amazing ability to explore the hearts and souls of his superheros. In a bold and touching move, Taylor resurrects Gardner (at least in Hal’s mind), to provide some much-needed moral support for our disgraced and dejected former Justice Leaguer.

Hal’s gotta know better, but we cheer him on anyway, right?

 

On Harring, Hal is all alone: he’s a traitor to the Lanterns, forced into contact with fellow “enemies” like old-time nemesis Sinestro. And there will be no reconciliation between those two even having worked side-by-side in the past against Batman’s regime. Because Hal Jordan knows he made a mistake, and he’s ready to accept his just punishment.

Sinestro, on the other hand, is clearly just there to bide his time until he can escape and make everyone pay for his humiliation–starting with his own daughter.

Out there in the galaxy, however, something bigger than all of this is brewing. We finally see the return of the sole-survivor of Ras al Ghul’s practice attack that waylaid an entire town: a cat that appears infected with superhuman intelligence and powers fueled by pure Red Lantern rage. This is a creature of the rising new league of Atrocitus, and it’s deadlier than it looks.

We haven’t seen much full-scale war since the battle that took Gardner’s life (along with most of the lanterns, including Mogo), but we might just be revving up for just such an event. What are the chances that they’re going to need Hal and Sinestro to help fight the Red Lantern threat.

Tomar-Re vs. Atrocicat

Atrocitus is a relative newcomer to the DC world, created by Geoff Johns and Ethan Van Scriver for the Green Lantern series in 2007. It’s going to be great seeing what Taylor will do with him!

And how about that Soranik: she’s a pretty vicious and cold prospect for one of the good guys–but then I guess it’s hard to be a sunbeam of cheer when you’re father is literally one of the worst men in the galaxy.  We’ve been seeing a lot of family battles lately in Injustice; Bruce and Athanasia’s recent bout ended in somewhat of a shadow of tragedy; how might it play out between this mirrored father-daughter team?

Xermanico, with J. Nanjan on colors delivers the usual top-of-the-line quality, the highlight of which is definitely Guy Gardner; not just because Taylor writes him with such wonderful wit and pathos, but because Xermanico renders all of his expressions with such loving humanity. He’s wry, he’s snarky, he’s excitable, compassionate, and ultimately he’s devastated (what a powerful moment it is when we see him as Hal finally remembers him in his last moments). These characters all come to life in the hands of this expert team, but after reading this book, I honestly felt like I’d watched a live-action event: the movement is so fluid, the gestures so familiar and wonderful, and this world is so fully realized whether we’re in small town USA or on some fantasy planet for the punishment of wayward lanterns.

I might have shaved off a half point just because this one is going to feel a bit jarring for anyone who came in late to the party. While Taylor did a great job of confining the exposition to a single splash page that’s perfect adequate, I don’t know if this book will truly have the greatest emotional impact for readers who didn’t see how all of that went down and the way in which Hal and Guy parted ways.

Recommended If…

  • You’re a lantern fan; or heck, even if you’re not: Taylor makes this story so human and accessible, you’ll love it for itself.
  • You miss Guy Gardner: he’s top of his game here and a true delight!
  • There’s just never enough beating up on Sinestro for your tastes: have a sample!

Overall

There’s no stopping the powerhouse storytelling of Injustice 2. Tom Taylor continues to take the reader by the throat and squeeze until we’re gasping. Whether it’s the poignant reflection of everything that our heroes have lost throughout this seemingly never-ending war, the stab of ongoing hostilities between blood relations, mortal foes, and new threats, or the constant rise of yet new and horrific stakes in a world already razed by intergalactic and interdimensional chaos, Injustice just never gives us much of a breath. And yet the quiet times, such as those soul-searching moments for Hal in his physical and emotional isolation, are sometimes the most wrenching of all.

SCORE: 9.5/10