Green Lantern #1 review

A lot has happened since last time Hal Jordan was an Earth-based Green Lantern. After the disappearance of the Guardians of the Universe, new galactic government the United Planets have taken over the Green Lantern Corps. They’ve declared Sector 2814 a liability and reassigned Earth’s Lanterns. Hal isn’t happy, and has quit in protest.

We join him in this debut issue as he rescues trapped miners, and tries to get back on the Ferris Aircraft payroll. But it’s not just business that’s on Hal’s mind.

Who the boyfriend is, we don’t learn. We do see, though, that business at the company, where Hal was a test pilot for many a year, is changing.

In a flashback to a month earlier, we see Hal, just back on Earth and without a ring, confront a would-be supervillain in his typically fearless manner.

The suit, which the bad guy bought on the DC Universe equivalent of eBay, looks familiar to Hal, and leads to the issue’s most satisfying moment.

In the present day, a punter in a Coast City bar, seems less than thrilled at the news that’s exciting the staff.

Outgoing Flash writer Jeremy Adams seems immediately at home as he moves from one DC icon to another. Our hero is on classic form, a tad too cocky in the way he presents himself as Hal but more measured when he’s wearing the colours of the Corps. As for Carol, she’s understandably nervy at the prospect of having Hal back in her life, at her company – how many times has she lost everything due to her proximity to superhero stuff? Heck, she’s been taken over by space amazons many a time and forced to fight the man she loved. But, her attitude seems to be that she may as well take advantage of his undoubted gifts, as the trouble will come anyway.

I’ve no idea if the business about the United Planets and the Guardians is new as I quickly gave up on the last Green Lantern series. I don’t suppose it matter hugely, I’m just glad we get a scene-setting credits page.

So, Sinestro walks into a bar? Then what? I look forward to finding out.

It’s not been fashionable to be a Hal fan over the last few, er, decades, but I’ve always liked him… heck, I like pretty much all the GLs, even though there are far too many Earth types. I could do without Hal being quite so reckless with his test pilot stunts, even though here they’re simulated, but he was Top Gun long before T. Cruise came along

Speaking of the flight sequences, artist Xermanico does a fabulous job, teamed with colourist Romulo Fajardo Jr. There’s a real sense of intense speed on these seriously good-looking pages.

Also a sense of goats. Can’t be bad.

The humans look pretty good, too, especially Hal and Carol, rendered with a delicacy of line that allows nuance to come through in the facial acting and body language – check out Hal sitting on his caravan. As for Hal in Lantern mode, just look at the joy!

The background details also add to the richness of the world, such as the artwork and souvenirs that dot Carol’s office. We get scene-setting captions but Xermanico helpfully adds another level of differentiation, with the present-day panels being border free.

You may have noticed the work Dave Sharpe puts into his lettering, such as outburst of colours for big moments, even going to the effort of giving the sure-to-be-a-one-off Steel Fury his very own logo.

I enjoyed this new start for Hal. And with what’s promised by the end blurb, I think I’m going to enjoy next issue’s story even more. I’m so glad to have Hal back on Earth.

Which isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a bit of space opera, and it looks like that’s what we’re going to be served up in the back-up John Stewart feature.

But that’s not how things start. Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson begins with John on Earth, with a TV at his mother’s home telling us it’s a case of Meanwhile with the start of the Hal story.

That’s as warm a sequence as I can remember in a comic. Johnson’s dialogue rings true, while the illustrations of Montos are, well, choose your own superlatives. I’ll venture strong, naturalistic, grounded. And there’s a definite Disney bucolic vibe in the visiting birds and butterflies.

In a sequence headed ‘Another universe. Another time’ the adjectives might be intense, powerful and…Neal Adams? OK, that last isn’t an adjective, but I see a strong influence in the ageing hipster who, it sez here, is Guy Gardner.

There’s nothing wrong with a nod to one of the most famous Green Lantern artists of all. And wait until you see who Guy and his young ally Shepherd end up facing. Or maybe it’s a ‘what’. Freaky, either way.

Dave Sharpe again letters; he’s had his compliments already, so let’s move on to colourist Adriano Lucas, who creates an immediate contrast between the Earth and space scenes, making them different but equally effective

It’s too early to say where this story is going, other than into a separate John Stewart book coming in the autumn. I have high hopes, though, as Johnson has said he wants to show John’s many colours, rather than focus on his past as a marine that was imported from the animated Justice League show, pretty late in the day, into the comics. Here the building of a new shed reminds us that John was introduced as an architect.

Xermanico’s cover is movie poster ready, with its images of Happy Hal, Carol, Sinestro and the always excellent Kilowog, who isn’t seen but is mentioned inside.

All in all, this is a solidly entertaining first issue, with well-worked scripts and dynamic art. If the new Green Lantern book isn’t a hit with work of this quality I would be very surprised.

16 thoughts on “Green Lantern #1 review

  1. Terrific book. I don’t remember liking Xermanico’s art as much as I do here, but holy canolli, he’s amazing. Look at Carol’s expressions on that phone call with her assistant, when she finds out Hal’s looking for her. Incredible. Hal’s expressions, too — especially when he’s helping out and saving lives. I love it.

    And man, what a genius way for Hal to get a ring back!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A little torn on it, to be honest. I can see why it’s getting good reviews. It’s an entertaining, back-to-basics issue, so that’s gonna please many fans.
    But if you sit and think about some parts of the issue, it doesn’t totally hold up for me.
    Hal’s crashing the drone and Carol’s criticism that he “doesn’t think” seem a step back for/regression of the character. Not long ago we had a fantastic Grant Morrison run that presented Hal as a highly competent space cop. He takes risks when necessary to get the job done (he’s supposedly fearless, after all), but he’s not reckless. He has THOUGHT the risks through and understands them, but in balance thinks they are wroth it.
    While it makes sense that he would feel out-of-step back on Earth, the decision here to portray him as a reckless, think-first-ask-questions-later type doesn’t sit well with me. It’s an over-simplified presentation of the character or a presentation of a younger version of Hal Jordan. This isn’t “Green Lantern: Year One” where Hal is just starting out. He’s a seasoned DC icon.
    And giving up his ring/adventuring in space because there was a change in bosses? I hope there was more to it than that, otherwise it just seems like a kinda flimsy excuse by the writer to make Hal more Earth bound. He loves being a Green Lantern and the freedom that comes with it. It’s one thing if he had issues with how the United Planets was running things, but that’s not the reasoning we’re given at this point.
    I guess this is an example of the “doesn’t think” characterization, but it doesn’t fit.
    And while this isn’t a big deal, I thought Hal was kind of a famous Chuck Yeager type pilot. So I didn’t get why the younger pilots had never heard of him. If anything you’d think they would be in awe of working with Hal.
    Some of this may seem like nitpicking. But I truly believe that after scratching the surface, there were choices made in this first issue that serve to set up the story, but, IMHO, go against the character, and that makes me pretty hesitant about continuing with this book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I absolutely see your point about Hal taking a step back in his maturity here, but I still think that when he’s GL, he’s rather more focused. He and Carol have had a grown up relationship a few times, but hey, both seem to regress every few years. They’re basically doomed to be terrible together. But at least Carol is not Arisia. Or Kari Sodding Limbo.


  3. Correction: I forgot Hal stated he left the Corps because Earth has been quarantined. So a more specific reason is given. Still, not sure that Hal would do so. I could see another writer having him stay in The Corps and fighting this decision from within, not just turning in his ring over it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Not been fashionable to be a Hal Jordan fan over the last few, er, decades”? Martin, Martin, Martin. Tsk tsk tsk. Tut tut tut. Et cetera et cetera et cetera. Since Rebirth it has been *very* fashionable to be a Hal Jordan fan! Johns’s Hal fixation, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, The Green Lantern Seasons 1 & 2, he has been the Kardashians of the Green Lantern Corps. Now, if you’d said it hasn’t been fashionable to be a Kyle Rayner fan over the past – not quite couple of decades… (cf. Alex Ross making himself look like a child over Kyle. Talk about an entitled fan!)
    I too always liked Hal but the Johns version (and a lot of those inspired by it) soon became a colossal pain in the ass. I liked Grant Morrison’s incarnation quite a lot, even if Morrison turned him into a depressive who sounded rather like… Grant Morrison later on. Well, enough of my good-natured guying you over that (I hope you take it as good-natured!); I would like to see DC have the guts to give Kyle another time in the sun but I doubt that will happen, still, this issue looks good with any luck Kyle, Gardner, and G’nort will turn up to join Hal and John.
    P.S. I’ve been reading Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier and Hal is great in that. What a comic book. “God’s creation!”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never stuck with Johns’ GL, I bailed during Blackest Night – everyone is a zombie or a member of the Crayola Corp, or both. It did my head in. My favourite Green Lantern run is the Wein/Gibbons/Englehart/Staton period… I’m much more of a fan of the classic Earth set-up, with the likes of the Shark and Dr Polaris. And Wein and Gibbons gave us the Demolition Team, next issue’s Comeback Kings (and Queen, mustn’t forget Rosie!).


      1. Wein and Englehart’s Green Lantern, Carol Ferris/Star Sappphire/the Predator an early example of gender fluidity. Ha!
        The Demolition Team, that is a deep cut.
        The shark was a funny-looking fellow!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Englehart’s Predator reveled was amazing and he made it truly seem like it had been the plan all along with the recreated panels from past comics. Too bad Johns used the Predator as the avatar of the love corps. He also ruined the Shark.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I see I managed to hit the “p” one too many times. “Star Sappphire”? Idiota.
        DC did a good thing by publishing those trades, Martin.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am not a Hal Jordan fan and if this is what we’re getting I won’t be any time soon either.
    Especially with Johns but definitely before and after, he’s an entitled prick. He has to know he’s dicked Carol around forever yet he comes to her like she’s supposed to allow him to ruin her life and break her heart again because that’s what he wants. I bet that skank Kari Limbo would shag him and she kinda deserves douche bro GL. The back up? Overly ponderous as you’d expect from the writer and clear as mud once we get done being shown John’s just the greatest thing ever. I thought they were calling the kid Guy.

    I might be checking out #2 but if there’s no Kyle, there’ll be no me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great review and great comic.
    Interesting that we see Hal power the ring with the Manhunter power as opposed to a battery. Perhaps when he quit he got to keep the ring but had to ditch the lantern?

    As you say, seeing Hal smiling so broadly when using the ring is so wonderful. This is a hero we can get behind.

    And the art is beautiful. I noticed the bar’s decoration more than Carol’s office so you gave me a reason to flip through the book again.

    I’m on board here!

    Liked by 1 person

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