Sunday, August 2, 2015

Green Lantern #38


Writer: Robert Venditti
Penciller: Aduira Wijaya
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Cover: Billy Tan and Alex Sinclair
Associate Editor: Darren Shan
Group Editor: Matt Idelson

The cover gives us a simple, yet nice image of Hal Jordan walking away from his former girlfriend, Carol Ferris. I haven't read enough Green Lantern to fully appreciate the emotion of this image, but it looks nice enough. Something sort of like this happens inside, which is a plus; but the cover was not drawn by the inside artist, which is a minus.

Our story begins with Hal Jordan being granted a leave from his Green Lantern duties, having just saved the universe from the whole Godhead fiasco, albeit in a controversial way. So Hal returns to Earth, where he runs into Guy Gardner at Pancho's bar. They yell at each other for a bit, drink some beer and play some pool before Barry Allen suddenly arrives. Barry says he couldn't resist making the short trip a couple of states away to catch up with an old friend he hasn't seen in years. But this confuses Hal, who points out he hasn't been away from the Justice League for more than a few months at most.

The future Barry Allen manages to change the subject with more beer and pool. He kicks Guy's butt while bragging about his knowledge of physics, and doesn't seem too worried about who sees him use his super speed. Barry also tells Hal about how Central City was nearly destroyed by the Crime Syndicate, an event Hal completely missed while being off world.

As the booze flows, so do the emotions, and future Barry gets quite sentimental with Hal. Barry compares Hal to Superman and Batman, saying that of the three of them, Hal is only one to really nail down the perfect balance between the hero and the man. Barry then accidentally spills a pitcher of beer on some thugs, and although he offers to buy them a round, they're quite upset. Sensing an impending fight, Guy cracks a pool cue over one thug's head, and a full-out brawl erupts.

The three superheroes allow themselves to lose to the thugs and are thrown out of the bar. Barry thinks he broke his nose, and Guy is having the time of his life. But Hal is furious. He shouts at his friends, saying he was hoping for a quiet night away from the Justice League and the Green Lantern Corps. Carol Ferris then arrives, and Guy and Barry decide to give the former lovebirds some room. Guy wants to keep the party going with Barry, but he says he should probably return to Patty. And the issue ends with a lengthy conversation between Hal and Carol, which has nothing to do with Barry.

The Good:

Future Flash. As far as I can tell, this is the only non-Flash issue to acknowledge the fact that the current Barry Allen has been replaced by an insane future version of himself. And I guess we have Robert Venditti to thank for this, since Geoff Johns sure didn't mention it in Justice League. Speaking of which, the continuity between The Flash, Green Lantern and Justice League is a bit convoluted on this point. The only way I can make sense of it is to say the Amazo Virus happened before the future Flash arrived and this issue. And Hal Jordan's triumphant return at the end of Justice League #39 must have happened after this issue and after the current Flash returns to his proper time. A bit messy, I know, but this is what happens when a team title refuses to acknowledge developments in any of the individual titles.

The Bad:

Awkward writing. As demonstrated in The Flash, Venditti often has trouble conveying certain pieces of information in a natural manner. He often makes characters say stupid things that they shouldn't be saying. One big example in this issue is Hal acting surprised when Barry said a quick trip was only a couple of states away. C'mon, Hal! You know he's the Flash! And Barry (recklessly) just barely demonstrated his super speed right in front of you! Venditti's work is full of too many moments just like this, which is one reason why I'm so down on this creative team's run.

Final score: 5 out of 10

Next time: We'll return to the future Barry Allen trying to acclimate to life 20 years in his past in The Flash #37.

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