by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
“Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships.”
The rewards of teamwork are immeasurable. But it’s sort of amazing that any team can hold together for very long, right? A good team member is both strong and deferent to the team, qualities that would seem at odds with each other. Superheroes have a notoriously tough time working together — modern takes on both the Justice League and the Avengers barely have time to set up the relationships before knocking them down — but what about when the heroes and villains team up? In Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 22, writer Robert Venditti, artist Ethan Van Sciver and colorist Jason Wright put the teamwork between the Green and Yellow corps to test and discover how easily the cracks show.
Our first hint that not all is well in the state of Mogo comes on the title page, which does its damnedest to even be a title page. The title of this series is Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps (which is one of my favorite mouths-full), but the title page instead favors both team logos, sandwiched together with awkward colored narration boxes and a goofy fat ampersand.
Letterer David Sharpe is doing a killer job of representing both groups in equal measure, but there’s no hiding just how ungainly this mashup is.
From there, Van Sciver and Wright strive for balance on individual pages: if Guy Garder is on the right side of a panel, Arkillo is on the left side. The storytelling, however, is necessarily lopsided. Both Venditti and the reader have too much affection for the Green Lantern characters and not enough for the Yellow for this to be anything approaching a balanced team. Further, balance be damned: the bursts of combination green and yellow light are straight up ugly and noisy on the page. Venditti writes a lot of verbal garbage between Corpsmen to match, such as Guy giving Arkillo shit for the quality of his smack-talk. They’re still fundamentally different teams.
I love how that difference is illustrated in Hal’s treatment of Tomar-Tu and Fantas-M. Hal immediately starts to chew out Fantas-M for letting her partner down, but though Tomar just said their failure was his own fault. In rapid succession, both lanterns rocket away from a leader that doesn’t understand his own biases.
Check out the difference in the light-path left in their wake: Fantas-M’s is jagged while Tomar’s is clean. Van Sciver (and by extension, Hal) still sees it as villainous. How’s a team supposed to work together when they see each other as heroes and villains?
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?