Quick review: Green Lantern #1

Green Lantern #1

By Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy

When Geoff Johns revamped Green Lantern in his Rebirth mini-series, it was a major event for comic book fans. This is a character who has a massive fan following yet hardly made a blip on the radar of the ‘guy on the street’ or even your standard comic book reader. Green Lantern: Rebirth not only brought back Hal Jordan as the emerald gladiator, it also acknowledged all of the questionable choices that had been made that caused him to turn evil and also serve a short stint as the Spectre. Respecting and using continuity is what Johns does best and that is why his first issue if the New GL feels so strange.

DC’s new 52 is being billed as the ideal point for new readers to jump on board and dive into some superheroes without fear of back-story or a need to have read the past 20 issues on the rack (of course DC could easily package and sell dowloadable bundles that brought readers up to speed, but never mind). In some cases, the new first issues of DC’s characters are restarts from day one. Action Comics, Wonder Woman and Batgirl fit the bill as jumping on points for new readers. Green Lantern, by contrast, is a bit more difficult.

I have collected the new Green Lantern series myself up to Blackest Night, which prompted me to drop the series as it had become far too convoluted for my taste. Even with that wealth of knowledge, the new #1 is a mystery to me. Sinestro, the evilest and most dangerous Green Lantern to turn rogue and don a yellow ring of destruction, has been brought back into the Green Lantern Corps by the Guardians of the Universe. It is unclear how Sinestro earned the opportunity to redeem himself in their eyes or if he is even interested but he does have a green ring again. Traveling back to his home world of Korugar (which he had attempted to rule using his Green Lantern abilities), he finds it over-run by members of his own former Corpsmen. He begins to kill them off then thinks better of it and decides to call on an old friend.

Meanwhile on Earth, Hal Jordan finds himself penniless, friendless and without a job. The only person to take pity on him, his ex Carol Ferris, leaves him in disgust when he asks her to co-sign a lease on a car so he can get his act together. I’m not sure how Hal found himself in this situation or how it jives with his appearance in the recent Justice League where he meets Batman for the first time. Nor do I know if this is a direct continuation of the previous Green Lantern run that I stopped buying.

It’s very frustrating to not know what is going on while the issue is a number one and it has been promoted as a good issue to purchase for new readers.

I will say that the writing and art are very strong. I’m not sure how long Doug Mahnke is planning to stay on board, but he is a superb artist and draws some incredible scenes. It is also interesting that the relationship between Sinestro and Hal Jordan is (so far) the prime draw for the series especially since Mark Strong’s red-skinned villain stole the feature film from Ryan Reynolds in this Summer’s un-stellar Green Lantern.

Sinestro not only dominates the regular and superb black and white variant covers, he’s also on the cover to the second issue fighting his Sinestro Corpsmen in space! Maybe DC is gambling on Sinestro being a far more interesting character than Hal Jordan. It may even work in the long run.

Preview cover of Green Lantern #2

At this stage I’m not sure what to make of Green Lantern in the new 52-verse which is proving to be even more confusing that the previous DC-verse that was deemed so impenetrable that it needed a fresh start. This may be a book for the already converted… who can take the rest of us out to lunch and explain it to us. Alternately, a digital bonus would have been a great idea that would have promoted the service while also filling in any knowledge gaps.

Green Lantern #1, much like all of DC’s 52 #1’s, is sold out at most retailers but can be downloaded at Comixology. Despite wavering reviews online, it remains the most downloaded comic over at Comixology, beating out Batman, Fear Itself, Spider-Man and the new Justice League of America.

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