When DC re-launched all their titles in September last year the aim was to get rid of all that pesky continuity building up with their characters and get some new readers into comics, as well as revitalising long term fans. This is mostly what DC stuck to, however Green Lantern is the one series that must have missed the memo about the whole thing, sure it started at issue 1 again however the story is a direct continuation of the old Green Lantern series before the reboot. Granted a big reason for the title not changing is the big shake up a few years ago when Hal Jordan returned to life, which was a natural jumping on point for new readers too. The Graphic Novels from ‘Rebirth’ onwards are still in print and easy to get a hold of, meaning any new Green Lantern readers already had an easy access point and didn’t need another one in the reboot, especially considering it would have just rehashed stories from just a few years ago. With this in mind the (new) first volume of Green Lantern is not a good place to start for new readers, however for existing readers it’s quite a ride.
The story picks up right after War of the Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan has been stripped of his Green Lantern ring for his reckless behaviour and former Lantern turned Corps enemy Sinestro has taken his place as the protector of Sector 2814. It’s an enjoyable twist seeing Sinestro returned to the role of a Green Lantern and it does seem like Geoff Johns has been hinting at this ever since Rebirth when Sinestro was adamant everything he did was for the benefit of the Corps. Obviously Sinestro’s old Corps are not happy about this change, they see it as a betrayal, and the feeling is mutual as the Sinestro Corps have taken over Korugar and enslaved its population. Obviously Sinestro isn’t happy about his home world being enslaved and he vows to launch an attack on his former allies, however he’s going to need a little help, help from a certain ex-green lantern.
At the beginning of the story we get to see Hal Jordan trying to get used to civilian life back on Earth and failing spectacularly, he’s way behind on his rent, his relationship with Carol Ferris is on thin ice and to top it all off he’s sent to jail after trying to break up a fight that turned out to be a script part of a film. With this in mind how could Hal refuse a temporary Green Lantern ring from Sinestro in exchange for his help in the attack against Korugar. After all the recent Green Lantern stories where Hal has been the centre of attention with an insane amount of power behind him it’s strange to see him at rock bottom having to team up with his old nemesis just to be able to fly again, but things go back to their usual form once the duo are on Korugar.
Once the story picks up its the usual Geoff Johns affair, there’s a lot of action, a few revelations and the hint of what’s to come in future issues to keep readers coming back for more. John’s is really building up Sinestro as the main star of the Green Lantern comics at the moment and the character slips back into the role of Hal’s mentor, albeit an unwanted one, with great ease. Sinestro also comes across as someone who has a great deal of knowledge about the universe, and especially the Green Lantern rings, teaching Hal how to make his suit ‘go dark’ when they’re needed to be stealthy. There’s also a lot of building up of Sinestro’s back-story when he runs into and subsequently rescues one of the first people on Korugar to accept and support him as the Green Lantern of their world. It’s obvious that Sinestro is here to stay for quite some time.
The battle for Korugar is over fairly quickly and frankly it’s a little underwhelming after the usual big fights we’ve become accustomed to in the Green Lantern series, there’s a slight surprise in the middle of the battle but once Sinestro does his ring creating trick a few more times the battle is pretty predictable. Geoff Johns can’t help but skip back to the guardians, who are fast becoming the villains in a series about a group of heroes they created, and their plans for the future, they’ve deemed the Green Lantern corps a failure just as their first attempt at bringing peace to the galaxy, the manhunters, were before them, therefore they agree to make a new army to replace the lanterns. Obviously the most emotional of the guardians, Ganthet, doesn’t agree with this conclusion especially when it is deemed the lantern corps must be destroyed to make way for this new army so the other guardians use their powers to make Ganthet like them, emotionless. It’s a little disappointing to see Ganthet ripped apart like this, his character has been getting built up for a while now, making his own blue lantern corps, leading the charge in blackest night and even becoming the star of his own series (Emerald warriors) and he’s been the unique voice amongst the guardians who readers could really root for, now he’s identical to the other guardians.
The story ends on a bittersweet note as we see Hal Jordan back on Earth sans Green Lantern ring actually starting to get used to normal life and making headway with his relationship with Carol Ferris, and still managing to be a hero in his own way all at the same time! However Hals happiness is not destined to last, at the same time as this Sinestro is still tracking down the members of his old corps and after failing to bring out the hero in an old enemy Starstorm Sinestro decides that Hal is the only one capable of being his sidekick and flies back to Earth to re-recruit the former Green Lantern. It’s such a shame that Hals time without powers is so short in this story, there was real potential to build upon that and show that he doesn’t have to depend on the ring to be happy, though it does throw out the question can Hal and Carol ever be happy together as long as he has a Green Lantern ring?
Doug Mahnke does a brilliant job on the artwork during the whole story, with a little help from guest artist Mike Choi at the end, and the Green Lantern series is somewhere where artists can really show off their imagination creating constructs and colourist really shine being able to add an extra dimension to the contracts, especially since Johns introduced the other coloured corps too. The only problem with Mahnke’s art is characters can seem a little bit stoic when they’re meant to be thinking or reacting and there did seem to be a few bare backgrounds during the series, however I suspect that is due to DCs strict deadline policies for the monthly comics after the new 52, which would explain the guest artist near the end of the arc too. Choi’s artwork was a pleasant surprise however, and definitely fits the more mundane storyline in the last issue.
A strong continuation of the Green Lantern mythos that is not intended for new readers, though it does add a lot for existing Green Lantern fans. As always there are some strong hints from Geoff Johns at the future of the Green Lanterns, and Doug Mahnke shines on art duties.
Written by Paul Lightfoot