Thursday, March 20, 2003

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn II - A Review

Written by: Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones
Penciled by: M.D. Bright
Inked by: Romeo Tanghal
Colored by: Albert DeGuzman
Lettered by: Anthony Tollin
Editor: Andy Helfer
Publisher: DC Comics.

Most Green Lantern fans consider Emerald Dawn and Emerald Dawn II a low point in this history of the portrayal of Hal Jordan. This is because both stories were written at a time in the early 90’s when many characters were being made “darker” in order to compete with the growing number of anti-hero based books that were slowly consuming the market. This resulted in a few interesting stories (like Batman: Knightfall) but mostly resulted in angst and character flaws being hammered into characters who really did not or support such flaws. Hal was a key example of this, with Emerald Dawn turning the honest, fearless and all around nice guy into a whiny alcoholic loser who was given his ring after an accident he caused through drunk driving.

This doesn’t make Hal more relatable as a character: it makes you wonder what the hell the Guardians are thinking handing over the most powerful weapon in the universe to such a person.

Emerald Dawn II does nothing to help those thoughts, with Hal starting a jail sentence for his drunk driving and the Guardians deciding he must be trained, despite his incarceration. Call me crazy, but as keepers of order, don’t you think the Guardians would at least respect the local laws about Hal’s sentence and their own rules about interfering in local laws? But then we couldn’t have the oh so fun scenes where Hal is broken out of his cell on a nightly basis by the GL the Guardians picked to oversee his advanced training: Sinestro.

The plot balances between Hal’s training, his suspicions over his new mentor’s honesty and his meetings with his counselor, Guy Gardner. Yes, THAT Guy Gardner. PE Teacher from the mid-west is, for some reason, working as an advisor in the California prison system. Don’t ask- just smile and nod and remember that Guy is not as big a jerk as Hal in this story. No, seriously. And for all of you JLI and GL fans shaking your heads, trust me. I’m serious.

It’s a shame that the story is so bad because the artwork, while nothing special, is adequate and manages to convey the story and the action well. Sadly, this is not enough to save this miniseries. There have been worse Green Lantern stories but none of those have ever been collected in a trade paperback. If it were a fish, I’d throw it back.

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