The cosmic dust, stirred up by the battle between the First Lantern and the Green Lantern Corps, has barely had time to settle before a new threat arises to challenge the newly weakened and Guardian-less Corps. The New Guardians, deciding that "before we can govern, we must learn," take off on a trip of self discovery and leave Hal Jordan in charge of the Green Lantern Corps. His leadership is quickly put to the test when Orange Lantern Larfleeze shows up alongside some new recruits, who really don't want to be on Oa, and a new, heretofore unknown threat rears its head...Looks like Jordan has his work cut out for him, and Green Lantern readers would have it no other way.
Taking very little time to transition between the events of Geoff Johns' now legendary-run ending events of Green Lantern #20 and the new era of artistc Green Lantern stewardship, writer Robert Venditti (Surrogates, XO Manowar) launches the weakened Green Lantern Corps straight into action, while hinting at some truly "Dark Days Ahead" (as the first chapter of the Venditti era is titled). The Power Battery of the Green Lanterns is out, a new threat, coupled with an old one, is on the horizon, and a Green Lantern Corps, now lead by Hal Jordan, has a serious fight on its hands by the end of Green Lantern #21. Oh, and Venditti even manages to slip in a little character drama between Hal and Carol...
The corner of the DCU that Geoff Johns built up around the character of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, as a franchise, is one of the strongest in comic books today. It is a full on space opera filled with dynamic characters that has explored some really serious themes and delivered some of the best story lines in comics, not only over the past nine years, but ever. Doubtlessly, many will argue that Venditti has some big shoes to fill. This isn't the case though. In Venditti's case, as in the case of a film franchise that gets passed from one set of writers and directors to another, Venditti only has to maintain the universe Johns built, and direct his considerable writing skills towards putting his own spin on the character and the events and battles he must face and fight. Venditti has done this brilliantly over at Valiant Comics with his stint of the resurrected XO Manowar comic book, and I have no doubt that he will do so here.
Assisting Venditti take Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps beyond their new final frontier is long term fan favorite artist Billy Tan (Thor, Uncanny X-Men). Tan has had experience drawing superhero teams full of many varied and sometimes alien looking characters, so taking on the many alien races of the Green Lantern Corps is an easy task for Tan. His Corp members are as well drawn, beautiful, and realistic looking as any artist who drew either Green Lantern or Green Lantern Corps over the past nine years.
So, while one era has come to an end with Geoff Johns' departure from Green Lantern, a glorious new one has begun. Instead of being a jumping off point for readers of Green Lantern though, Green Lantern #21 is not only an excellent jumping on point, but a great example of why long term Lantern fans will remain long term Lantern fans for years to come.