Review/RANT: Green Lantern: Rebirth TPB

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.

4 thoughts on “Review/RANT: Green Lantern: Rebirth TPB

  1. Rebirth hitting the stands was the beginning of the end. it heralded the “fanboy takeover of comics”, the era of comics we still find ourselves in today. it’s why we have Luke Cage and Iron Fist on the Avengers. it’s why Bucky is alive again. it’s why Johnny Blaze is Ghost Rider and not Danny Ketch. it’s why Barry Allen is back. it’s why Justice League is now Justice League Unlimited. it’s why Spidey no longer has his Mary Jane.

    it stands for ultimate regression and it’s everything that’s wrong with comics, and at the same time, some would say everything that’s right.

    and yes, i too hated the hell out of it when it came out. i was a kyle fan. kyle was my ####ing Green Lantern. #### Hal. but today, time has passed. Kyle has been written out, Hal has been written in… and the stories have been really good. and through quality, Johns has FORCED us to like Hal, or at least respect him. but it still bothers me. it bothers me that we just accept it. like the advertising before the trailers at the movies. enough time has passed since they started doing it again 10 years ago that we just quietly accept it now. UGH.

  2. Yeah, you can definitely see Johns’s ‘agenda’ throughout Rebirth. Read the first issue – Batman is set up as a ridiculous Straw Man for all of fandom that didn’t want Hal back. Every time Batman talks, he’s long, flowing shadows, bitter, angry, mean-spirited verging on nonsensical. It was the first thing that turned me off of the book, and I think it was a big part of the flavor of the book. The Spectre was especially poorly written – compare that to Jordan/The Spectre in JLA: The Guilty, by J.M. DeMatteis. Hal is honestly seeking redemption. He’s reforming the Spectre. He’s atoning for things he did.

    I think the thing that really sold me on the story being nothing more than Johns trying to jerk Hal off was the scene after Hal comes back to life, when his hair actually changed color back to pure brown. For no reason! Johns just decided that Hal was ‘cooler’ when he didn’t have any gray hair. There’s just so much in this book that exists solely to ‘hype’ Hal that the book becomes less about the frankly weak story and more about just how AWESOME Hal can be. I was half expecting him to bend Carol over one of the jets and screw her right there while signing autographs for his biggest fans, The Beatles, who he brought back to life with his omnipotent kindness.

    I understand the complaint about comics regressing. This is easily the worst generation for it, between Johns, Quesada, Didio, and Whedon. I mean, as much as I love Final Crisis, as much as I like to just look at the character covers, think about the first three choices. They’re each recently resurrected Silver Age paragons. Ultimately, it’s about this single generation of creators as the first ‘fanboys’ to get work in the industry. I can only hope that when my generation begin to get work, we don’t do the same thing and keep bringing back Kyle, Bart, Wally, etc… to prominence. It’s a sad trend, and Rebirth is one of the biggest examples I’ve seen of this to date.

  3. “I was half expecting him to bend Carol over one of the jets and screw her right there while signing autographs for his biggest fans, The Beatles, who he brought back to life with his omnipotent kindness.”

    haha, yep. FANBOYS! what i don’t think they realize (this generation of creators) is that what this amounts to is glorified ‘fan-fiction’.

  4. Speaking of Agendas, I just started reading the Sinestro Corps Wars, and literally 5 pages in, we see Hal single-handedly take down – with complete ease – Zoom, who not only regularly tangles with the Flash, but who was at the time spanking Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman AT THE SAME TIME.

    We get it, Geoff. You want Hal to be cool.

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