Saturday, September 17, 2011

Green Lantern #1 - A Review

Green Lantern is one of the few DC Comics titles that doesn’t seem to be changing much post-Revamp. This isn’t much of a surprise, given that the book is written by DC Comics CCO Geoff Johns, who already did much to streamline and simplify the book’s tortured continuity five years ago with the rebirth of Hal Jordan. But with that streamlining came a whole new mythology, building upon what came before while expanding upon the specifics of the technology utilized by the Green Lanterns and their enemies. With such a rich backstory, one wonders… can Johns make this title accessible to new readers who only know of Green Lantern from this past summer’s blockbuster?

The answer, thankfully, is yes. For while the status quo is topsy turvy in this opening issue, Johns script is quick to explain the situation while avoiding a lengthy lecture on exactly how things got to this point. In short, Hal Jordan – one of the Green Lanterns of Earth – has been fired and his arch-enemy and former teacher Thal Sinestero has been reinstated. Neither of them is happy about this situation and the issue explores the homecoming of both characters as they cope with the changes their new status has brought about.

Though both would deny it violently, Sinestro and Jordan are much the same man. Both are men of action who became obsessed with their positions as Green Lanterns, allowing it to completely define their lives. In the case of Sinestro, his obsession with his job ultimately drove him to hubris, costing him the love of his life, his child and ultimately his position as a respected hero as he crossed the line in his quest to guarantee order. Jordan seems to be going through a similar metamorphosis, having lost his job as an USAF pilot, his apartment and quite possibly more as a result of his devotion to his duties as a Green Lantern.

It’s an interesting juxtaposition, to see Sinestro returning to the homeworld where he is outcast only to find that the army of fear-empowered soldiers he created to instill order has turned criminal without his guidance while Hal Jordan proves himself to be just as callous and unaware as the casually evil threats he fought as a Green Lantern. Indeed, the one weakness this story has is that it is hard to believe that even Hal – renowned for not thinking things through – could be quite as dense as he is portrayed here.

Thankfully, in an ever-changing universe, the art on this book remains the same. Long-time Green Lantern penciler Doug Mankhe is still on hand to make this book one of the best-drawn in the business. While this issue offers Mankhe little chance to create the amazing constructs that are the hallmark of a good Green Lantern story, he does make the story shine (no pun intended) in what few scenes require a little action.

Old-timers rejoice, for Green Lantern is as great as ever. And newcomers, be welcomed. For you are in for a real treat with this title.

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