Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Sinestro’s Law brings the Rebirth ethos to one of DC’s franchises most in need of it.

At the outset, Hal Jordan believes himself to be the last Green Lantern. Experiencing significant physical changes, Hal crafts a new ring for himself to carry on the fight. Sinestro has manipulated his daughter, former Green Lantern Soranik Natu, into selling the universe on accepting the Sinestro Corps as the new galactic police force. Sinestro betrays his daughter and uses his group’s new authority to create the Fear Engine, a machine to increase their grip on universal power and order. As Hal begins to clash with various Yellow Lanterns, the surviving Green Lanterns, battered and diminished, make their way back to their home dimension. They converge on War World, just as Hal and Sinestro engage in an explosive showdown.

The Green Lantern franchise had become extremely complicated in recent years. The story snaked through a variety of titles, took some esoteric turns and built up an armor of plot that actively repelled new or lapsed readers. At the outset of Sinestro’s Law, writer Robert Venditti engages in some much needed streamlining. He doesn’t jettison the prior stories and indeed uses them as the jumping off point for Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. But neither does Venditti get bogged down in what’s gone before. With a few panels, he sets out the broadstrokes, distilling the information down to what a new reader would need in order to jump aboard. It’s a smart approach and it pays off. Sinestro’s Law is a straight forward space action saga that plays to the concept’s core strengths.

Hal and Sinestro get a lot of the spotlight. Venditti peels back the unnecessary complexity that had been draped on Hal and brings him back to the interstellar swashbuckler that fans like best. Putting him at odds with his greatest enemy and placing Sinestro in a position of superior strength make for a compelling tale. The title of the book isn’t misplaced, however. Although they don’t actually cross paths with Hal directly in the first arc, Venditti repositions the Green Lantern Corps, with favorites like John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kilowog and Arisia front and center. He plays with those personalities quite effectively, giving Guy a particularly good workout, that by arc’s end has the group poised to resume its position in the DC Universe. Ultimately, Sinestro’s Law is a crucial step toward bringing the franchise back to a logical status quo that’s relatable to fans. And in so doing, Venditti crafts a bold, bright story that entertains and packs a few solid surprises.

Two very different art teams are on display in this arc. Penciler Rafa Sandoval, inker Jordi Tarragona and colorist Tomeu Morey work a style that could almost be labeled “neo-Silver Age.” There’s a very classic sensibility in the team’s approach, with clean line work and a “go big” approach to action storytelling. They can deploy creative layouts and panel designs, but there’s a strong, appealing traditionalist bent at play that captures a lot of the classic feeling of old school Green Lantern. It’s warm and inviting. That contrasts to the hyper-modernist style of fan favorite artist Ethan Van Sciver (working with colorist Jason Wright). Van Sciver’s usual heavily detailed work is rendered to the full and he brings a darker, almost horror-tinged edge to the proceedings that emphasizes some of the story’s darker elements. The two approaches don’t have a ton in common, to be honest, but both are examples of “classic Green Lantern” that a lot of lapsed fans will find appealing. Ultimately, the disparate styles manage to hold together pretty well. Morey and Wright get a lot of credit for that. A book like this requires some detailed, precise color work, with a broad palette and a lot of specialized effects. Both color artists nail their assignments and help forge a consistent visual identity for the series.

Sinestro’s Law is possibly the best jumping on point the franchise has offered in years. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps is a fun, fast-paced series that sets a course for success.