By: Keith Giffen (Writer), Phil Winslade, Tom Raney, Timothy Green II (Artists), Andrew Dalhouse, Hi-Fi (Colorists)

The Story: Jediah Caul gets in serious lantern mode as some key players in The Hunted gather together. In the backup, Star Hawkins gets hired to find the elusive legend of the longest living Hunted player.

The Review: It’s always a nice thing to see a series get a bit better after a while, seeing just where some of its characters might go and the author get more comfortable with its setting. Progress in both the quality and the plot is something most readers are searching for and it’s good to witness such a thing occurring on a title that needed it so desperately.

It’s a shame though that this title is cancelled, leaving Keith Giffen two more issues after this one to close all his plot points and to give us a conclusion that might make this series worthwhile as an ensemble, as the single issue formats wasn’t exactly kind to this series. It was kind of big, needing a lot of space to explain a lot of its concepts, which were arguably very interesting to see unfold, especially in the way that Giffen illustrated them as pieces of media that the denizens of Tolerance saw each day.

One of its flaws, however, which made it somewhat wobbly in terms of quality, was its large cast, with most of the characters not being defined or at least sympathetic enough. Sure, we had Captain K’rot as a comic relief, Jaime Reyes as the under-utilized human point-of-view to the event or Stealth as the veteran and survivor. However, there was no hero or even a protagonist that the readers could actually root for or follow more than the others to grab their interest. Jediah Caul seemed to be the one to fill that role, yet we never knew enough of his character and morality to actually develop some kind of empathy for him.

This all change here as we discover just how he became a green lantern, which is actually a very nice twist on the typical lantern story. Knowing just how he got the job of protecting a whole space sector, it makes it all the nobler for him to actually use his power for good, which does deepen his character considerably. With some short scenes and some development, Giffen managed to give us a lead that is actually interesting to follow now in Jediah Caul as we see him try to save those people trapped in Brainiac clutches.

It’s also Jediah Caul who gives us the most development this series has seen in a while, as his new grasp on his lantern role and his battle against Brainiac (which is well made) form some kind of catalyst for what might turn out to be a pretty action-filled climax. Players move as they see what Jediah has done and it is fun to see the book try to find some kind of unity after this many issues.

Unfortunately, those moments of unity aren’t the most interesting, as we see some of the other characters in the background react in various ways to the news and some interacting with each other to get the ball rolling. A lot of these moments are rife with heavy exposition, to get us to the point when it comes to where these characters are and what they do. Giffen might pepper things up with a joke or two in their dialogue, but these moments are much less interesting than the new focus on Jediah Caul.

As much as the story and some characters progressed, we unfortunately have the very same problem when it comes to the art, as Phil Winslade and Tom Raney don’t match up very well with each other. While the Brainiac scenes are done well by Winslade, mainly because his backgrounds are more lively and his machines are pretty, the way he draws the characters is a tad too rough-looking, which clash with Raney and his slicker figures. The coloring by Andrew Dalhouse and Hi-Fi is top notch however, as the green energy and the various techno babbles are colored in a light hue that gives a sci-fi and cosmic feel that suits the book.

However, there is also a backup feature in this book, which used to be occupied by Larfleeze. Now, the story is a bit more connected to The Hunted storyline as it deals with Star Hawkins and Ilda, the robot programmed with the personality of his ex-wife. Right there, the tone change as it gives us a mix of humor and mystery, as the character of Star Hawkins is a private investigator that is prone to some of the cliché of the profession. Right there, the story is told in a non-linear way that manages to bring some action, a direction and a sense of the relation between Star Hawkins and Ilda, which is a fairly humorous one. Many of what we see here is setup, yet it is effective anyway in telling us what we need to know about where it’s going and why we should be interested in whom these characters are.

The art, however, for this backup is very solid, as it is done by Timothy Green II. While he isn’t really good at making a diverse number of facial expressions for his characters, making them look a bit cold, he is pretty thorough with the rest. His panels are full of details in a way that does not overwhelm the readers and liven things up. He is capable to render action and to work well with the visual design that Tom Raney did for the world Keith Giffen imagined. Hi-Fi also does help to bring this lively vision with a subtler touch, not giving us bombastic colors, yet some that are satisfactory to the eyes.

The Conclusion: With a fun little backup and a new focus on Jediah Caul in term of plot progression and catalyst to the events in the story, this title has become a bit better. Even though there is still an uneven division and a clash with the art styles of Raney and Winslade, it is still an enjoyable comic nonetheless.

Grade: B-

Hugo Robberts Larivière