This week, I’ve been getting a first look at DC Rebirth with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, Nightwing (click here for the review), and Wonder Woman (click here to check out my review of Wonder Woman).
Spoiler Warning: It should go without saying that there are spoilers in my reviews, so if you want to experience these stories and their surprises for yourself, maybe skip the rest of this article. Long story short: I think it’s worth giving Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1 a look!
It’s been a long time since I read a Green Lantern title – I think the last one was Blackest Night back in 2010, in fact (which I borrowed from a friend). So I can’t say that I’m an expert on GL, but I’ve always loved the idea of the character. Not so much the test pilot bit – I am just as happy to read John Stewart or Kyle Rayner GL stories as I am to read Hal Jordan stories. Just the concept of the power ring, drawing on the wielders’ will to accomplish whatever they can imagine.
It’s a really cool idea.
Having established my credentials (or lack thereof, I suppose), let’s talk about HJatGLC #1 (that title is a real mouthful).
As with most comics, the first thing that jumps out at a reader is the art, especially the cover. Frankly, I love it – the line work and detail in Hal’s face is just plain awesome. Ethan Van Sciver, an alum of past Green Lantern titles, brings his considerable penciling & inking talents back to the character in the Rebirth relaunch. Teamed up with colorist Jason Wright, the evocative imagery sets a great tone for the extra-stellar exploits of DC’s fearless space cop.
By far my favorite page is of Parallax, caged and plugged into Sinestro’s War World as a living battery. Even in that seemingly helpless state, the embodiment of fear itself is impressive and intimidating, and I love the detail Van Sciver put into the character design. Coupled with the nuanced coloring that Wright gets out of various shades of yellow, Parallax’s reveal was flat-out awesome.
As for the story, there were a few points of confusion. Hal recounts that the GL Corps, the Guardians, and even Kyle Rayner have all vanished. Those disappearances serve as Hal’s primary motivation, and the spark of the title’s first plot arc. However, we also see those same characters responding to Hal forging his own ring, perhaps sensing the immense act of will it took to do so (with the exception of the GL Corps proper, who seem to be emerging from sort of distortion or portal). So it’s unclear, at the conclusion of issue #1, whether those characters are truly missing or if Hal just believes they are. But, hey, that’s what a good first issue should do – pose questions that the reader wants answers to.
Another point of “confusion” is the early assertion that the Sinestro Corps is the supreme force of order in the universe. If that’s true, wouldn’t that mean they have subjugated any agents of “chaos” or dissent? What does that mean for Earth’s heroes? It’s a minor quibble, but it is one of those details that makes me wonder how the current GL storyline fits into the larger DC universe.
Now for the good parts of the story. Writer Robert Venditti offers up some intriguing ideas, such as Sinestro’s War World usurping Oa’s place at the center of the universe. The idea that Hal forges his own ring, from his own will, is pretty freaking cool. I’m interested to see how, if at all, that changes the way his powers manifest or work. If it’s just an avenue by which they establish Hal’s supreme force of will, it’s still awesome, but if Venditti can somehow incorporate the concept of the ring being a manifestation of Hal’s will as a plot device (such as a possible Achilles’s Heel) that would definitely impress the heck out of me.
The pacing is also good. Because it’s an issue #1 of a relaunch for an established character, Venditti provides a brief summation of prior events through expositional narration and dialogue. He doesn’t dwell too long on any one character’s internal monologue, instead switching between Sinestro and Hal just often enough to keep things interesting and set the stage for issue #2.
Finally, it’s worth noting the title’s possible social commentary. Hal’s reflection that the GL Corps was “mistrusted and hated by the universe [they’d] sworn to protect” definitely mirrors some of the feelings toward law enforcement in America today. While I’m not sure if there is going to be a primary social commentary element of the story going forward, Venditti has paved himself an avenue by which to discuss a very topical issue. I, for one, hope he takes that opportunity.
Obviously, it’s too early to tell how fresh and exciting any of the Rebirth titles are going to be. But at $2.99 for the first issue, this is a perfect opportunity for new fans and long-time followers to start following the adventures of Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lantern Corps from “the beginning”.
As a comic book lover coming out of semi-retirement, I definitely think you should give this issue a chance to see if it hooks you!
What about you? Have you read Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps #1? If so, comment below and share your thoughts!