Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

May 7, 2018

 ·  5 comments

The Rebirth Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture is another step upward for Robert Venditti's series. Though far from perfect, this one has enough twists, turns, and weird surprises to keep me guessing throughout. For my tastes, Green Lantern Corps stories are at their best at their most political and Venditti delivers in the beginning, followed by a rock 'em, sock 'em sci-fi tale that delights for the end. This structure of successive four-part stories has been working well for Venditti and were probably fun to read in biweekly two-month bites in the single issues.

[Review contains spoilers]

I thought it unfortunate that Venditti dissolves the Green Lantern/Sinestro Corps partnership in this volume. Arguably at this point it's been about twenty-five issues, but just ten or so if we count from when the two corps started working together only really in the last volume. Also the departure of Sinestro Corps leader Soranik Natu is fairly ridiculous in that none of her colleagues question her totally out-of-character behavior given they've known her for over ten years real-time.

Obviously Soranik is possessed by Parallax, as almost all of her main compatriots have been, but there's a sense they simply believe she's acting out of emotion, including anger over the fact that Kyle Rayner didn't tell her (for probably just a day or so) about the death of her evil son-from-the-future that she barely knew -- whom neither she nor Kyle should be mourning as vehemently as Venditti has them doing. Soranik's leaving robs the book of its only real female voice -- Venditti having given Arisia, for instance, only a handful of lines -- and the general impression that the male Lanterns shrug and chalk it up to Soranik being overwrought is problematic.

That said, the first couple chapters of the "Fracture" storyline leading up to this are fantastic. Evergreen villain Bolphunga blackmails the Lanterns that he'll release evidence of a Green Lantern murdering a Sinestro Corpsman unless he's set free, prompting both a murder investigation and some deep thinking on Corps leader John Stewart's part. Venditti delves into police procedural here, which has long been my favorite flavor of Green Lantern story, as well as when and if the Lanterns should ever use lethal force, as first raised by Geoff Johns in regards to the Sinestro Corps. I have felt Venditti hasn't done enough to explore the new partnership between the Lanterns and the Sinestros, but the value of what is being treated as peace in the galaxy is keenly felt in John Stewart weighing having to torpedo it. Venditti's "green impurity" line, too, is gold.

Fractured's second story, "Fall of the Gods," offers a follow-up to Venditti's Godhead crossover. Thankfully this is much more compact, and is not a sequel so much as the Lanterns just encountering the New Gods again; it's pleasant, at least for the moment, to see the New Gods used in normative fashion and as supporting cast for the Green Lanterns rather than to always require a big to-do. This story, thrilling in a "big monsters" kind of way, also has understated ties to the Dark Nights: Metal event. In keeping with the uncertain continuity in this book, Venditti shows that John remembers the New Gods and the events of Cosmic Odyssey, something that hadn't previously been the case. I continue to like artist Rafa Sandoval's work, and here his rounded figures for New God Orion, especially, remind of Cliff Chiang's Orion work in the New 52 Wonder Woman

What truly sells "Fall of the Gods" for me, however, is Venditti's third-part deviation, in which he spends almost the entire issue with Hal Jordan flying at breakneck speeds after the New God Lightray, with the ghost of his father in his Lantern-created cockpit. Not unlike Venditti's Guy Gardner spotlight in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 3: Quest for Hope, the in medias res change of focus is wonderfully startling, as is the devotion of the issue to one high-speed chase. It as not as though Martin Jordan has never appeared before, but this is unexpected, and Venditti manages some strong insights by having the pair in a plane together. Among my interests as Venditti begins the end of his Hal Jordan run is whether this was just a one-off story or whether Hal's visions here and of deceased Lanterns inside his ring are meant to suggest something greater going on.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture

Robert Venditti's Rebirth Green Lantern book has been a curious collection of fits and starts -- long stories where not much happens, short stories that change the status quo, stories with a lot of consequence followed by stories without much. In crowding out the Sinestro Corps, but then everyone being basically OK with it, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fractured is a good example of that push and pull. Again, we're about to be getting down to the time where Venditti will be making his last arguments and solidifying his themes, and I'll be curious to see how some of the book's outlying aspects eventually tie in.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture
Author Rating
3.5 (scale of 1 to 5)

Comments ( 5 )

  1. Wish ROB kept the alliance between the greens and yellows. So much potential squandered.

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully Vendetti can bring it to some resolution before his tenure ends, maybe redeem Soranik.

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  2. AnonymousMay 08, 2018

    Maybe I should give this a re-read, because it really didn't dawn on me that Soranik's behavior at the end was caused by Parallax's influence. That was the one thing that bothered me about this storyline, and I've been enjoying everything else about this series.

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    Replies
    1. That is conjecture on my part, but the alternative is Soranik just goes nuts or really has that much loyalty to the Sinestro Corps, neither of which I think is in character. And there are some pages of her going off where I thought I saw the Parallax halo above her. To me it seems the only passsble explanation.

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  3. This is slightly off topic but I was wondering if you are going to be reviewing the newly released Kyle Rayner Green Lantern trades? I would love to read your take on those stories.

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