Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Green Lantern #1

I am a ginormous Lantern fan. I've got Green, Blue and Black Lantern shirts I wear all the time, a Green Lantern ring in my car and a Blue Lantern ring in my desk at work. I love them. And when I heard that the Lantern books were picking up where they left off and would barely be effected by the relaunch mythos shuffle I pooped a construct.

If you were following the books before the launch then you know one of the last things to happen to Hal Jordan was that his ring was revoked and he was sent back to Earth. To make matters worse, his ring was given to Sinestro who, amazingly, is a Green Lantern again.

This was something that caught me off guard. Not story wise, mind you, I love a good change in the status quo and, admittedly (don't kill me) but Hal is my least favorite of the main four Earthen Lanterns so this didn't phase me. But it was the fact that a lot of the characters that have been in movies were getting a lot of focus and here we have a book where Hal doesn't even have his ring anymore. Risky move, I know Hal will get it back, but there were probably a lot of newer readers taken aback by the fact that #1 starts off with Hal having lost his ring. Personally though, this shows me DC is willing to not turn each of their books into a "Dummy's Guide" and is willing to let readers figure some stuff on their own. For that I applaud them.

Hal is still (more or less) the main character in the book though. It seems to flip back and forth between Sinestro in space and Hal on Earth.

Hal is written beautifully. I know I'm not the first to say this but man, Geoff Johns can write. Hal, who again is no longer a Green Lantern, is portrayed as this tragic character who is more or less addicted to adventure, as cornball as that may sound. He was used to flipping between being a test pilot and a Green Lantern. Now he is neither. And not only are those two things he's fantastic at, it seems almost like those are ALL he's good at. He's on the verge of eviction, he's jobless and yes, he still has absolutely no idea what to say to women. It definitely makes you long for the moment when he, inevitably, gets the ring back.

His time on Earth is written in a way that, in a Green Lantern book, almost seems alien. It's claustrophobic and foreign. Nothing seems to make sense to him. New readers are also introduced to on again, off again, romantic interest Carol Ferris all over again. I love her. Carol has got to be, and has almost always been, one of the most capable women in comics. Smart, clever, sexy, everything. And the fact that she was also a ringed hero (a Scarlet Sapphire, or Violet Lantern if you will) and has no qualms leading a normal life of working her airline company also suggests that, for once, the romantic interest of the book is more capable than the lead. And that is wonderful.

Meanwhile in space, Sinestro has a very similar story to Hal's. Sinestro's story about wanting to be a Yellow Lantern again but being tethered to the Green is not unlike Hal's ring longing. Wonderfully pompous, Sinestro must come to terms with his possible fate while seemingly going about things in the way you'd expect him to accept anything he doesn't want. Kicking and screaming.

His side plot seems to be Ganthet and the Guardians. In something that has been building up for a while now, it seems the Guardians are completely sick of Ganthet displaying emotions all the time and having it "cloud his judgement" so they go about trying to fix it the way Guardians always do. Though, I'll let you read on for that so you can get your own ideas in your head about what the big blues are up too. Personally, I love Ganthet's evolution through the years and desperately hope they're not bringing him back to his roots.

The art itself is fantastic. Artist, Doug Mahnke, almost seems to be a Lantern himself with how he seems to be able to believably create whatever he can envision. Some parts have so much neat detail that I didn't even notice background events until my second read. There isn't a lot of action in this book, even though I'm not complaining, the other DC books seemed to be all punching all day. But when there is action, the scope of it and the work put in is also gorgeous. Green Lantern, with all it's crazy powers and aliens is a book that cannot live without impressive visuals and Mahnke's pencil work is almost like assured immortality for this book.

The book isn't without it's flaws, but what are there aren't anything to write home about. They seem in a big rush to set up a plethora of events, whether it be a career and life for Hal, Sinestro's home world craziness and the whatnot happening within the Guardians, but even that is still explained clearly and is well execute. It's definitely a good book and one that, as someone who's been with DC since the last 80's, takes this as a positive sign that DC is not forgetting about us long time fans. Pick it up, read it, love it. (And yes, I was very tempted to make a "if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it joke.)

By Electric Nerd with 1 comment


Doug Mahnke has a terrific imagination, he's really underrated. He did the art for Manhattan Guardian in Seven Soldiers and he kept up with every crazy concept Morrison threw at him. I get why they keep him on the Lantern books but I'd love to see him do more stuff.

I think breaking Hal down to build him back up is a smart idea. The biggest criticism I see of Hal is that Johns spends more time talking about why he's great than actually showing why he's great. Having him rise up from this should help change that perception (but Gardner remains the best lantern, sorry Jordan).

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