Packing plenty of punch with its graphically grotesque depiction of Green Lantern Weggett’s death at the hands of the Darkstars, and Hal Jordan’s subsequent skirmish with Atomic Skull, Robert Venditti’s treatment for “New Recruits” must surely have provided the vast majority of its 27,682 buyers in May 2018 with plenty to enjoy. Indeed, the twenty-page periodical’s pace doesn’t really stop until it focuses upon John Stewart’s confrontation with the House of Zod a third of the way through the publication, and even those tense negotiations for the Kryptonian general to ally himself with the inter-galactic police force are far from being a dull read; “Then afterwards we’ll tear you apart and hang your pieces from the Fortress spires. Before the twin suns set, the Green lantern Corps will be searching for a new leader.”
Unfortunately however, the Hollywood-raised writer’s narrative does seemingly start to slow down once proceedings reach Heep in Space Sector 1974. Guy Gardner’s attempt to recruit Arkillo to his cause via an “emergency drink-up” is somewhat reminiscent of Ben Grimm’s draughts alongside his old nemesis the Sandman, but the dreary dialogue “preaching forgiveness” carries little of Tom DeFalco’s Early Eighties charm, and only proves enlightening once the former Baltimore law enforcement officer suddenly accepts a surprising invitation from Tomar-Tu to become “a new deputy” for the Darkstars.
Disappointingly events soon simmer down within Stryker’s Island Penitentiary as well, with Hector Hammond’s telekinesis laying low Albert Michael’s radiated alter-ego without a moment’s thought, and arguably reducing what potentially looked like a fearsome battle between Atomic Skull and this comic’s titular character into nothing more than a truly word-heavy conversation between two former foes in which Jordan manages to convince Gil Kane’s co-creation that he shouldn’t dispose of his gaoler by ‘popping his brain’. This somewhat monotonous interchange debatably would have proved far more entertaining if it had been shortened in order to provide the easily overpowered Metropolis Special Crimes Unit agent with a couple of opportunities to take his best shot at the Green Lantern, especially when Venditti imbues the skeletal former-villain with such entertaining dialogue as he threatens to “spew a radioactive hole right through your overripe melon!”
This book’s success therefore rather rests somewhat upon the shoulders of Ethan Van Sciver, whose superb pencilling fortuitously makes even the most tedious of scenes within this magazine perfectly palatable. Marvellously dynamic in his sketching of Hal’s disappointingly short-lived fracas with Atomic Skull, and simultaneously able to provide Zod with a gloweringly-formidable demeanour when simply talking with Stewart, the Utah-born artist’s attention to detail provides ample reason alone as to why this comic is worth it’s cover price.