Green Lantern #1

Green Lantern #1

Green Lantern #1 cover (2011)

Continuing on in DC Comics’ “New 52” reboot, I was very excited to get Green Lantern.  I have never gotten a Green Lantern comic book the week it was released – much less a Green Lantern #1 issue. (I do own #1’s from the 1990 and the 2005 volumes).  I think the Green Lantern title was the title that longtime DC Comics fans were most wary and tentative regarding.  Since 2009 and Blackest Night, the Green Lantern section of the DC Universe has been a driving force for the rest. It has been busily active with several widely-sweeping events, changes, developments, and storylines.  Of course, most of the credit for bringing the recent fame and fortune to Green Lantern goes to Geoff Johns.  (So much so that in 2011, DC released the live-action Green Lantern movie following two animated direct-to-DVD movies.)

However, as part of the “New 52” reboot, DC is restarting their titles.  Green Lantern, however is one of those titles that DC is giving a “soft” reboot to.  It is a wise decision by DC, since the recent years have involved a lot of heavy continuity for Green Lantern.  I guess the Green Lantern title is not starting from scratch or rebooting in the same fashion as some of the other titles. While I am woefully behind on my Green Lantern continuity reading, I am approaching all of the “New 52” titles with a generally clear state of mind – letting myself read the comic as if I am relatively new to the DC universe as a whole.

This issue was written by Geoff Johns with artwork by Doug Mahnke.  The cover was done by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.  Reis has done a lot of artwork for Green Lantern in recent years, and it seems like his artwork has supplanted others’ as the “standard” for the characters, locations, and styles. The close up image of Sinestro on the cover is definitely eye-catching.  Especially Sinestro wearing a green ring and the Green Lantern costume.  The surrounding green-light and purple background offset the reddish face of Sinestro very well. I look at this cover and am excited for the story inside. It is not a very creative cover (Sinestro and Green Lantern symbols made of light), but it is striking.

In Justice League #1, we learn that five years ago from the present, Hal Jordan met Batman and Jordan was, at that time, a member of the Green Lanterns.  We are told, through a dialogue between Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris, that Hal Jordan is no longer Green Lantern.  Apparently, Jordan is also impoverished, jobless, and still very anxious about what is going on with the Guardians, Sinestro, and the Green Lantern Corps.  Ferris offers Jordan some advice, but true to form, Jordan ends up really vexing Ferris.  As a new reader, I can’t help but feel some of Jordan’s frustration – still, it seems he’s brought this all on himself, whatever “this” is.

Off in space sector 1417, at the planet Korugar, we see Sinestro observing the chaos on the planet. He is suddenly attacked by yellow-lantern wielding creatures who accuse him of betraying the Yellow Light. Sinestro kills this creature and the next frames we see of Sinestro are on earth as he tells Jordan that if Jordan wants the ring back, he will have to obey Sinestro.

Obviously, this storyarc is going to take its time to unfold. While the issue is accessible to new readers, it is quite apparent that there is a lot of history, terminology, and character development that the reader is missing out on.  This issue is very in media res and one cannot help but have questions about almost everything that is shown.  What is the Yellow Light? Is Sinestro good or bad?  Why isn’t Jordan a Lantern?  Hopefully, some of these things will be answered in upcoming issues or “new readers” are going to keep on being lost.

It is definitely a worthy idea to start off the series with Sinestro on the cover as a Green Lantern and the first frames of the issue showing us Sinestro repeating the Lantern Oath.  This is good stuff – and regardless of any questions or frustrations that new/old readers might have, I think just Sinestro alone is enough to have them come back for several more issues.  There is another frame that I won’t discuss here (it would be a bit of a spoiler) that involves the Guardian named Ganthet.  That frame is also interesting and drives some curiosity for the next issue.

The artwork inside is solid.  It seems Mahnke can handle drawing scenes both in deep space and on earth in mundane places. The character’s faces are expressive and adhere to general standards, but there is something…. unnatural about their mouths. It is a subtle thing, and perhaps I am just seeing the art incorrectly, but their mouths seem a bit static and straight for all the words and excitement in the frames. Nothing too major to complain about, though.

3 stars

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