There’s something to be said for coming across history in the making.
All too often, we, as readers, don’t slow down on the ride enough to appreciate what’s happening. Oh, we get wrapped up in the moments well and good, but it’s when we sit back to reflect and we take genuine stock of how far we’ve come that we learn to appreciate good storytelling when we see it. I think each of us has the capacity to detect good storytelling, but I think it takes readers who’ve followed a title and an author long enough to know when history is being made … and I’ve no problem saying that what Geoff Johns has done with the GREEN LANTERN is nothing short of nation-building. Under his direction, DC Comics’ once-lampooned superhero who wears a green ring with the power to create giant crossbows (for Pete’s sake!) has become a honest-to-gosh sensation.
In case you missed BLACKEST NIGHT, it’s available in trade paperbacks. Same thing for BRIGHTEST DAY. And WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS. Seriously. I don’t encourage folks to run out all that often and pick up graphic novels, but I have absolutely no reservation recommending any of them. I will say that new readers may struggle a bit jumping aboard the narratives of the various Lanterns – Google it, or hop over to Wikipedia to get a good grounding in the various Lanterns added to the growing mythology of Hal Jordan’s universe. But for those who do? There’s a whole new space opera in town, folks, and it comes in many shades of the crime-fighting rainbow.
[NOTE: the following review will contain spoilers solely for the purpose of discussing the characters and plot. Also, some of the events discussed take place slightly out of the direct events of this individual issue – like I said, I’ve been following Johns’ run on LANTERN pretty closely for some time now. So, if you’re here only looking for a green thumbs up, then leap down to the bottom and be on your way. However, if you can live with a little spoilage, then sit back, hold on, and enjoy the ride.]
Hal Jordan has been through Heaven and Hell under Johns’ direction. He’s seen the BLACKEST NIGHT – the unimaginable deaths that have shaped the universe from the shenanigans of the Black Lanterns – and he’s lived through the BRIGHTEST DAY to tell about it. Heck, he’s even been to WAR and back, and now, here he is, at the re-launch of his own regular series (for those of you living on an island, DC Comics recently ‘rebooted’ their books, mostly a marketing ploy to make it easier for folks to hop aboard), stripped clean of his green power ring. What? A superhero without any superpowers, you say?
If that isn’t bad enough, then regular readers will be shocked to learn who’s taken over stewardship of his ring in the opening panels. It’s a brilliant stroke, handled masterfully by Johns and his creative crew, and it’s clearly a massive set-up for things to come.
Jordan’s been stripped of his powers. He’s been stripped of his job, having spent so many days, weeks and months off-world saving what remains of the Green Lantern Corps. Heck, he’s about to lose his apartment, and his girl, Carol Ferris, can’t hire him because he’s too great a risk for her company’s insurance. What’s a guy gotta do to get some respect in this day and age? The poor guy is reduced to having to ask others for help, and that’s when a his greatest adversary shows up with a proposition:
“If you want your ring back, come with me.”
I’ve been reading comic books off-and-on for the last four decades, and I have to say rarely have I been so jazzed with the opening issue of a new storyline. Everything you could have imagined happened to one of your beloved characters has happened. Jordan’s been chewed up and spit out by the universe-at-large, and, still, he retains a freshness of character, a brazen indifference to the world around him, and right in the thick of it when he needs it least. The universe has never had a better protector than Hal Jordan, and I can’t wait to see where Johns takes him in this new run on one of DC’s longest running heroes.
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. Say what you want about the Green Lantern, but what writer Geoff Johns has done with this character (and continues to do) is nothing short of amazing. There may have been some curious additions to the mythology of the Lantern universe, but Johns continues to plumb the highs and lows of Hal Jordan’s life in ways that will no doubt make the history books. From BLACKEST NIGHT to BRIGHTEST DAY and everything in between, this title remains a winner in Johns’ capable hands.