Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #32 is the third act of the “Bats Out of Hell” storyline and exclusively tells the struggle of Hal Jordan against the evil Dawnbreaker. With some solid character work by Robert Venditti and art by Ethan Van Sciver this issue is a really satisfying third act.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
A METAL tie-in! “BATS OUT OF HELL” part three! The Dawnbreaker descends on Coast City, ready to suck its light away before moving on to the rest of our world. Backed up by the power of the Justice League, Hal Jordan stands ready to stop the perverted Lantern–until the Batman Who Laughs steps out of the shadows.
Why does this matter?
The opening of the issue flashes back to when Coast City was still being rebuilt after being destroyed by Mongul and Cyborg Superman all the way back in the 1990s… which led to Parallax Hal. The actual reconstruction happened during Geoff Johns’ run and the specific time frame seems to be after the Sinestro Corps War within his run. There’s a real nice bit of character work showing Hal bonding with his family while Jon Stewart, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are building parts of the city; the scene shows Hal bonding with his niece and nephew by telling them that the ordinary people inspire superheroes to do good work and that no one should have to live with fear. Venditti really captures Hal well in these pages and sets up how Hal’s mantra of “no fear” that comes into play later.
Hal’s actual fight against the Dawnbreaker is well done with Hal learning quickly that his constructs can be absorbed by his enemy’s ring and his attempts to adapt and overcome that problem. The Dawnbreaker’s use of figures important to Hal to try and psychologically attack him works well as it brings in some of his most significant enemies and friends.
The art by Van Sciver compliments the writing really well and is incredibly detailed, especially regarding the constructs created during the issue. Some of the best writing and drawing of the issue comes when Hal is fighting the Dawnbreaker by strobing his ring’s light so that it can’t be absorbed. Panels go from all black to full of light and back again constantly and gifts the scene with both a horror and action vibe throughout; my favorite is Hal constructing a giant set of power armour to surround both himself as well as areas of the Dawnbreaker’s Batcave.