Darkstars Rising begins with an explanation that’s as nice a piece of characterisation seen in the entire run of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. The jailed former Green Lantern Tomar-Tu first explains himself to his successor, then in greater detail to Hal Jordan. It’s logical, rational and horrific, and sets up an ethical debate. Should killers themselves be murdered, or do the priorities of civilisation demand a higher justice? Robert Venditti has the Green Lanterns representing that, while a new batch of Darkstars recruit those whose friends and relations have been murdered, empowering them to take revenge.

Aware they’re outnumbered and incapable of coping with the Darkstars’ teleporting technology, the Green Lanterns turn to people who’ve been enemies, powerful and murderous people. It seems as if Venditti’s set off on a tortured moral path, suggesting killing is somehow acceptable if those who believe they’re right use others rather than killing people themselves. However, it turns out that’s not the case.

That a parade of artists is used isn’t desirable, but all are good. After Zod’s Will Ethan Van Sciver has rediscovered his mojo, Brandon Peterson and Fernando Pasarin are suitably expansive, and while Clayton Henry’s pages aren’t quite as imaginative, he’s in rare company. The sample art is by Rafa Sandoval, responsible for more pages than any other artist, and drawing the three chapter finale. Previous concerns about some aspects of his art are no longer relevant, and the difference is apparent when Sergio Davila draws a few pages.

Acquiring allies provides dark moments of the soul for the human Green Lanterns, but no-one should be surprised they pull through, and Venditti uses their experiences to reveal more about them, something essential to their personalities. A flaw in the plot is that the search for, shall we say less morally grounded allies only supplies four, which, powerful as they are, hardly speaks to a great bolstering of the numerical deficiency. However, a plan that only really needed one of them works, producing what’s then an artificially prolonged ending in order to accommodate a long fight scene. This is overbaked, and the conclusion too convenient, Venditti slipping back into bad habits. Yes, it’s an ending, but not a very satisfying one. Still, over seven volumes Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has been average at best, and often disappointing, but Darkstars Rising indicates Venditti has it within him to supply the epic, if not quite always the unpredictable. It’s the best of the run.