by Patrick Ehlers
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Y’know that scene in Raging Bull where Jake LoMatta (DeNiro) is in the ring and takes that slow-motion jab right to the nose? Sure you do — even if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s one of those moments that’s been parodied and emulated hundreds of times in the four decades since the film’s release. The punch slowly ripples across Jake’s face, breaking his nose and forcing a geyser of blood to erupt from his head. Its a explosive moment of physical horror which comes after nearly two whole hours of slowly unspooling emotional horror — effectively, it is thematic material of self-destruction made literal and permanent. There’s something about the violence of that choice that shakes the audience awake, casting everything that happened before it, however gradually, in to sharp, sudden relief. In Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps 27, writer Robert Venditti and artist Rafa Sandoval drive towards a similarly gross moment, and while they steer into the silliness of it, the inherent gore in cutting out Orion’s heart serves the shake the reader awake.
Pardon me? Remove Orion’s what? I know, right! This New Genesisian Golem is keyed in to Orion’s pulse, and his sole criteria for determining whether or not he has already completed his task is this pulse. Orion’s only hope is the combined efforts of Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner. Venditti and Sandoval spend half of the issue reminding us that the Green Lantern’s abilities really are only limited by their attention and imagination — Hal creates giant chains to hold the Golem down, while Kyle projects a 100-foot tall version of himself to protect Orion. These are huge feats of GL prowess: big and spectacular, but ultimately ineffective.
Throughout the issue, Orion is will not stop mentioning that everyone was safer when he was dead. It’s almost humorous as the action cuts back and forth between scenes of Hal battling this enormous thing and our trio of Kyle, Orion and the surgeon dancing around the inevitable conclusion: stop Orion’s pulse. To my mind, there are a couple of different sci-fi ways they could have done this — put Orion in some kind of stasis, run some pulse interference machine, reprogram the Golem’s pulse sensors — but Venditti goes right for the only way that matters: cut out his heart and replace it with a GL-construct pulseless blood circulator. Sounds like a good enough idea for Orion!
Damn — what an image. Sandoval and Venditti earn the logic of this moment, and this whole solution demonstrates Kyle’s commitment and concentration as well as Orion’s whole do-whatever-it-takes bravery.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?