By Robert Venditti, Martin Coccolo (Pages 1-20), Billy Tan (Pages 21-24), Mark Irwin (21-24), and Tony Avina
Robert Venditti continues his run on Green Lantern by sending Hal Jordan to meet up with Jim Gordon’s Batman in the 48th issue of the series as the characters, who never got on well when Bruce Wayne was Batman, are tested. Despite the cover billing a fight between Hal and Jim, the issue never really delivers on that front, which is disappointing for those looking for a Green Lantern vs. Batman conflict. Then again, this isn’t the first time a cover has been misleading. The content inside more than makes up for the lack of a fight between the two superheroes. The creative team puts in strong performances here again as Martin Coccolo takes over pencilling duties for the first twenty pages, with the transition into Billy Tan and Mark Irwin’s work on pencils and inks being seamless and stretching over the final four pages. Finally Tony Avina brings an solid coloring display to the book, which works for the most part.
Close to Home sees Hal back on Earth dealing with the aftermath of the previous issue, which ended with a literal bang in the activation of a bomb. This issue aims to answer who was responsible for the detonation of the bomb, and why they did it. In a search for answers, Hal heads to Gotham to seek advice from Batman (the Bruce Wayne version). What he finds is entirely different. Before heading to Gotham though, the issue starts off by exploring the relationship between Hal and his brother. This is highlighted by an effective scene where Hal meets with an old woman whose husband has had a heart attack due to the bomb in the previous issue. This scene sets the tone for the story to follow and works fairly well indeed.
The meeting between Batman and Hal doesn’t quite work out. It suffers from a similar problem that most first meetings between superheroes do. Their interaction is forced, and the conversation follow a natural progression. It was cool seeing Hal use the Green Lantern ring to make his own version of the Bat-symbol though, with the art making a visual impression on the skyline. But again, it should have worked a lot better overall. The reveal of who the terrorists are working for also fell flat. This reveal comes across clichéd, which is a shame given the potential of this character.
The artwork from Avina, Coccolo, Irwin, and Tan is good, but it doesn’t quite bring the same kind of insanity that often comes with the outer space issues. The light and vibrant backdrop that often comes with the Green Lanterns’ use of their power rings is effective, particularly towards the end of the book in the confrontation with the terrorists. Avina isn’t really given much opportunity to shine with his coloring, as the book feels like a fairly standard read.
This book was still a decent read, even if it suffers from being the middle (and usually least interesting step) of the arc. As Venditti avoids one cliché in having two superheroes meet for the first time he creates another problem in that their interactions aren’t as memorable or as engaging as they could have been. Despite this there’s some good efforts here and the book itself, especially with the final few panels, hints at bigger things to come. As Venditti has proven in the past, he can be trusted to deliver when the time calls for the plot to escalate in a meaningful and exciting way.