Review: Green Lantern #1
This issue is one of the few comics in the New 52 that doesn’t break cleanly from recent continuity. Instead of presenting a reboot of Green Lantern or a retelling of his origin, Geoff Johns continues the story that we saw before DC’s line-wide relaunch. Sinestro has been chosen by a power ring to be a Green Lantern once more, and Hal Jordan’s power ring has been taken from him because he showed the unprecedented ability to kill a Guardian. The status quo of the Green Lantern mythology has been turned on its head. Although this issue continues a pre-relaunch story arc which new readers might not be familiar with, this comic reads like a good starting point for Green Lantern in the New 52. This comic is not only well written, but Doug Mahnke’s art in this is as good as ever. He has a style that has proven to be a good fit for Green Lantern since 2009, and he’s a good choice for the series going forward in the New 52. Overall, this issue looks like a promising start for Green Lantern post-relaunch despite the fact that its plot continues seamlessly from a pre-relaunch story arc.
The issue opens on Sinestro reciting the Green Lantern oath and garbed in the uniform of the Corps. Johns is beginning the New 52’s Green Lantern with an interesting reversal of fortunes; rather than opening the series on our hero Hal Jordan, we see that the Corps’s worst enemy is once again a Green Lantern. Sinestro was chosen by a power ring to rejoin the Corps that stripped him of his status as Green Lantern when he abused his power for personal gain. The man who was exiled by the Guardians, who started his own Sinestro Corps to dominate the universe with fear, who waged war on the Green Lantern Corps, is now a Green Lantern again, and he’s not happy about it.
Sinestro has no idea why the power ring chose him and he has no desire to rejoin the Corps, but the Guardians think that this is a chance for redemption. They believe that the power ring chose the fear-mongering Sinestro to return to the Corps as its prodigal son. While the antagonist of the series is welcomed back to the Corps with open arms, Hal Jordan has been stripped of his power ring like Sinestro was all those years ago. This mirror image of the traditional dynamic of Green Lantern is an intriguing way for Johns to begin the series in the New 52.
Hal Jordan is stranded on Earth and he has to get used to normal life outside the ranks of the Green Lantern Corps. Johns is cleverly introducing the New 52 to Hal Jordan by making him more down to Earth (pun intended), and we see that the former Green Lantern of Sector 2814 has to deal with the every day problems that built up when he was away on one of his many space operatic adventures. Hal Jordan has to pay the mounting bills that accrued in his absence, and he has to face the reality that he’s no longer an intergalactic space cop. This is a Hal Jordan that isn’t used to a normal human life. He’s become institutionalized by his years of service in the Green Lantern Corps, and we see that he isn’t prepared for life as a civilian. Hal Jordan is used to willing mountains to move and fighting space wars that determine the fate of the universe, but he’s ill equipped to deal with mundane issues like paying his rent, getting a job, and not upsetting his girlfriend Carol Ferris with his insensitive behavior.
Johns’s decision to strand Hal Jordan in his life on Earth is an entertaining way to characterize the former Green Lantern as a service man who’s having trouble adapting to civilian life. It’s also interesting that Johns has Hal Jordan unable to work as a pilot because of his reputation for disappearing for weeks on end, and he notes, “The Guardians took my ring and discharged me for the same reasons you can’t insure me.” Here, Johns is suggesting that the microcosm of Hal Jordan’s earthbound life as an air force pilot resembles the macrocosm of his life as a member of the Green Lantern Corps.
Despite the fact that this issue continues a story line from before the DC relaunch, it’s a good starting point for Green Lantern in the New 52. Johns is setting up a story arc where Hal Jordan will have to redeem himself and regain possession of his power ring, and we’ll see how Sinestro reacts to his return to the Green Lantern Corps. This issue pits Sinestro against some of the yellow ring equipped members of the Sinestro Corps that he founded, and it’s fun to see him deal with the fear mongering Yellow Lantern Corps that he created. We can assume that Sinestro will fall from grace a second time, and Hal Jordan will become the Green Lantern of Sector 2814 again, but I’m still looking forward to seeing how Geoff Johns gets us there. Overall, this issue is well-written and illustrated, and it looks like a promising beginning for Green Lantern in the DCnU.