Plot: Purge, a spiritual entity that has ravaged countless worlds, was driven from the planet Kahlo by the combined powers of Green Lantern and the Phantom Stranger. Forced from the body of his Kahloan host, Purge creeps into the mind of a new host, Hal Jordan, and now threatens Earth itself. The Phantom Stranger contacts Green Arrow to protect a severely disabled girl named Cora. She may be the one being on Earth who holds the key to preventing the human race from being "cleansed." As Green Arrow battles assassins sent to cover up the illegal experiments carried out on the girl, Green Lantern and the Stranger arrive to help protect her and engage Purge in one final battle.
Comments: What a great comic! This, the final issue of David Hine's four part arc, ties together his creepy and elegant story with a wonderful balance of action, philosophy, heartfelt emotion, and, yes, even a few laughs. In some cases, Hine manages to expertly weave nearly all of these elements together in a single scene. Green Arrow’s confrontation with the Arcadia assassins is a great example. The action begins with some comically stilted dialogue from the Phantom Stranger and develops into Green Arrow’s full blown outrage. His righteous anger at confronting villains so evil as to murder disabled children lends a tangible sense of emotion to what would otherwise be simply another instance of a superhero taking out a bunch of thugs.
The battle with Purge inside the mind of little Cora provides another instance of the surreally beautiful environments that Hine and Braithwaite have created throughout the entire arc. Hine also uses Purge, and his quest for cosmic perfection, to explore questions of human spirituality. In his obsession to cleanse people from evil, he kills them; he destroys their physical form. However, in doing so, Purge seems to miss the great wonder and mystery of humanity, that we are not either physical or spiritual beings, but rather, that we are both.
The artwork here is...is “magnifcent” too high a praise? Braithwaite and Reinhold create vivid worlds, fully of emotion and action. Each panel is brilliantly detailed, and makes excellent use of light and shadow. Reinhold’s coloring complements Braithwaite’s pencils perfectly and truly brings each moment to life.
Final Word: David Hine’s work on The Brave and the Bold has been fantastic. Aided by Doug Braithewaite and Bill Reinhold, he has brought us the strange planet Kahlo and the disturbing world of Arcadia Orphanage. Together, they have crafted a story that is exciting, frightening, moving (I’m a sucker when it comes to crying kids), and also serious, all while managing not to choke the fun out of the book. This uncommon team-up of the mystical Phantom Stranger and the sci-fi Green Lantern, recalls some of the great Brave and the Bold stories of the 1970s. What more can be said? Make sure you check out not only this issue, but, if you missed it, the whole arc.
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