Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will trade paperback (DC Comics)

February 6, 2019

Robert Venditti's Rebirth Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps series began with the premise of the joined Green Lantern and Sinestro Corps trying to work together. That offered suspense for a while, some strong character moments and political stories, through to when the partnership imploded in Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 4: Fracture. But since that time, through the fifth volume and into Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will, it feels as though little is happening in this book, with minor developments only coming at the tail end of action-focused plots. I had hoped for more from the penultimate volume of Venditti's long Green Lantern run; one never wants to see a good run peter out, but this volume plus the one before make me think the time is right for the switchover to Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp's The Green Lantern.

[Review contains spoilers]

There are a couple of occurrences in Zod's Will that, in a differently structured book, might be notable. First, Hal Jordan manages to transfer his new self-compelled Lantern powers over to Kyle Rayner while imprisoned by Superman baddie General Zod, purportedly deepening the mystery of what Hal has become and what his new powers are. Kyle takes on a parody of Hal's personality, all bravado and jet-fighter puns, and that's played to good funny effect while also suggesting something more taking place. We also get a rare show of admiration for Hal from Guy Gardner and others as Hal saves the day in absentia.

Additionally, the book deals with the fallout of the joining of the "classic" and Templar Guardians of the Universe, taking now a renewed hand in leading the Green Lanterns. John Stewart's immediate (and ultimately temporary) resignation seems overwrought on Venditti's part, but it also reminds that there's a understated seriousness to the Guardians coming back -- it's not nothing, as the Guardians previously caused significant harm, though we've been so long with the Templar Guardians in an advisory role that perhaps it's hard to remember. It is an interesting development when the Guardians convince John to choose noninterference, unusual for the Guardians, in the case of Zod taking over a planet. Given more room, this struggle over the bailiwick of a galactic police force, with all metaphors implied, would be a worthy story to tell.

But Zod's Will never feels particularly about either of these things, or much of anything besides Zod and Hal Jordan fighting. No one seems to find Kyle taking on Hal's personality too surprising, and Hal later takes his powers back without a hitch. John argues his case to the Guardians for arresting Zod over many pages, but ultimately they change his mind behind the scenes, taking a lot of the drama out of that storyline. One doesn't mind big action sequences if there's a sense of something important at stake, but five full issues is a lot just to demonstrate a changed nuance in the Guardians' approach, and it seems especially small potatoes when Venditti has just one more volume to go.

There is assuredly some joy in seeing Hal Jordan face off against General Zod, Ursa, and son Lor. Among achievements of Rebirth -- really going back to the New 52 -- was to reestablish Zod as an "everyday" villain without need for pocket universes or resurrections, and his uses both in Suicide Squad and here have been inspired. Ditto, too, that we've got a "Reign of the Supermen"-styled Eradicator in the DC Universe again. Had I any expectation that Zod would become a major player in Green Lantern Corps; had Zod taken up residence in a planet next to Mogo, for instance; or had this story in any way suggested long-term developments in the Green Lantern Corps story, I might then be more enthused. The problem again is Zod is just a stand-in villain here that might equally have been Evil Star or Starbreaker, seemingly just something to throw the Green Lantern Corps at for some space battles rather than something that really tied in to the core of the story.

I'll be curious to see how this book's last page develops into Venditti's final volume, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 7: Darkstars Rising. After the Zod debacle, Hal goes to John to suggest taking care of some threats "permanently," an unusual suggestion of using lethal force from the usually non-lethal Hal. John's response -- "I've been there. It isn't police work. It's war" -- is dramatically vague; is he advising Hal against that path or declaring that the enemies they face constitute war? In all this is a surprising conversation between two of the more level-headed Green Lanterns. Good on Venditti if this is meant to be a cliffhanger; my suspicion is some influence by the Darkstars' Controllers may already be at play.

Regular series artist Rafa Sandoval does well here with clear, bold figures; Sandoval has been an important part of Venditti's Rebirth run, and I'm glad he'll be drawing some in the final volume, too. Brandon Peterson comes on for Zod's final issue, and his work is a good match for Sandoval's, also large and bold and with expressive, animated faces. I'm glad to see Peterson's doing some work also on DC's Green Lanterns, Superman, and Titans.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will

Again, Hal Jordan versus General Zod is pretty cool, and also Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner as Lantern partners is the kind of thing one might never have expected twenty-or-so years ago. But Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will is basically just an action story, certainly not badly written or drawn, just very standard for the penultimate volume of Robert Venditti's long Green Lantern run. Hopefully the nine-issue final book will go out with more of a bang.

[Includes original and variant covers, sketches and inked pages]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Vol. 6: Zod's Will
Author Rating
3.5 (scale of 1 to 5)

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