After all this time, after the Sinestro Corps War, the prelude to Blackest Night, the fanfare around the return of Hal Jordan (including Ross’s childish ‘we won!’ that’s been echoed about randomly by one of the most obnoxious fandoms in existence), and the fact that I just got a late 100$ for graduating from college, I figured I would pick up a few trades that I was curious about.
Green Lantern: Rebirth was one of those trades, being a book that has received such massive heapings of praise that I couldn’t help but be curious about what I’d miss when I decided against buying it after reading the first issue. While I liked Hal a lot from JLA: Year One, parts of Hal’s fandom has long since been insulting and/or irritating enough, both in real life and in forums, to turn me off from the character in general. Still, I’ve generally enjoyed what Jordan tales I’ve read – Year One, Hard Traveling Heroes – that I felt I should give it a shot.
The story starts off poorly. As I read through the prologue, I thought there was some decent suspense building with the aliens prophesying the return of Parallax, but when we moved onto the segment with Hal, I could see that I might have problems – Geoff Johns, it appeared, was part of Hal’s fandom that grated on me so much. Hal is portrayed as the perfect hero – a ladies man, a man’s man, a man about town, confidant that what he believes is more right than what God believes, and the book most certainly sympathizes with him. His hair didn’t gray because he was aging, but because that’s what fear does to you. He didn’t become a more thoughtful hero, a more introspective person, because he reached a certain point of his life and realized that, for all his fighting, he wasn’t really ever winning. He did it because Fear instilled doubts in him.
And this is the core of my problem with the book. Geoff Johns has a great grip on Kyle, John, and Guy. I think he even has a decent handle on Alan Scott. In one of the most polarizing scenes in the book, Johns and Van Sciver show ‘n tell how each Lanterns’ constructs vary based on their beliefs and values, a genius scene – only to follow it immediately with all of them collectively being taken out in a single instant except for perfect, precise, potent Hal.
The book is worth reading, I think, for it’s introduction to and propagation of the Green Lantern mythology, and it made me excited to read other stories dealing with it, such as the Sinestro Corps War, and Blackest Night. And, obviously, if you’re a hard-core fan of Hal Jordan, you’d have read this a long time ago. Even if you don’t like Jordan, though, there are great character moments in here for Kyle, John, and Guy, as well as excellent mythos-building scenes for the Corps as a whole, so it’s worth checking out.
This is the book where Johns really begins to play around with the Green Lantern mythology, and he does so with such a confident, graceful touch that I find it hard to believe that this wasn’t all part of it from the beginning. It almost makes me sad that he likes Hal so much, because those are the biggest slips in the book, as Johns is so dedicated to making Hal look good that he forgets to make him human.