When people think of the original Green Lantern, there are those who will think of Hal Jordan, while those who were introduced to the character through the Justice League animated series may think of John Stewart. But the true original Green Lantern is Alan Scott, from the Golden Age of Comics and member of the Justice Society.
It’s been a while since Alan had his own comic, but enough has changed for him that it’s about time to catch up with the character. So let’s read the new “Alan Scott: The Green Lantern” comic and take a new look at his history.
Written by Tim Sheridan
Illustrated by Cian Tormey
Colored by Matt Herms
Lettered by Lucas Gattoni
A POWERFUL TALE OF ALAN SCOTT’S EARLY DAYS AS GREEN LANTERN! Alan Scott’s Early Days As The Green Lantern Are Seen In A New Light! The Green Lantern Is The Most Powerful Member Of The JSA, Beloved By All Of America, But His Personal Life Is A Well-Kept Secret. This Is A Story About Love, About Fear, And Most Of All About Courage To Stand Up To That Fear. Alan Scott’s Past Is The Key To His Future When The Red Lantern Appears, Ready To Strike Down The Mighty Green Lantern!
When DC rebooted its universe for the New 52 back in 2011/2012, Alan Scott was rebooted in the pages of “Earth 2” as a gay man who became the protector of the Green. However, as the New 52 reboot was phased out to let the Golden Age versions of the characters return to the comics, the classic version of Alan Scott also came out of the closet, with the explanation that he had to hide who he was even from himself and stay closeted when he was younger, to the point where he had his own family. This allowed the character to be updated to match his Earth 2 counterpart in that respect, adding new layers onto his character without removing his family from continuity.
Why do I mention that now? Because his repressed sexuality and the conflicting feelings that he had around it are a major part of the story in “Alan Scott: The Green Lantern”
This story is set in 1941, during the early days of Alan Scott’s heroic career, and around the time of the JSA’s formation. We see Green Lantern as he tries to go solo, but is forced by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI to stay as part of the team for the good PR it brings, and Hoover’s not afraid to use his sexuality as leverage.
We also see flashbacks to his time before becoming Green Lantern, struggling with his sexuality and the religious/societal taboos around being gay in the 1930’s, as well as working on a secret army project with his lover and facing dangers from a strange potential power source. The flashbacks all feed into the present, showing us not only how Alan became the person he is, but also setting up the main story of this arc.
The story jumps between the flashbacks and present (relatively speaking, it’s still 1941) tying the two together through themes, items, and events. The story builds up questions and mysteries, from the Crimson Flame in the flashbacks and its true nature to reports of a second Green Lantern appearing on the scene of crimes before Alan even arrives.
All the while, it’s carried through by a strong narration, giving us a look into Alan Scott’s inner thoughts, turmoil, regrets, and his view of himself. There’s a clear amount of self-loathing and repression in how Alan talks about his sexuality, referring to it as “a sin” and “felonious acts,” which serve to build on his emotional turmoil and as a reminder of the times; it doesn’t whitewash the homophobia of the past, but uses it for added drama and stakes. The comic as a whole has plenty of strong character-building work that gives us a new look at this classic character that adds new layers to his character without compromising his history.
Tim Sheridan does a great job pacing out the story and giving the characters solid voices (including an incredibly thick accent for Derby Dickles). It also introduces Alan’s old army lover, whose acceptance of and confidence in himself serves as a good contrast to Alan’s nervousness and makes him a likable character, so we as readers can care about the stakes and his role in the story more.Continued below
Visually, Cian Tormey brings a distinct style to “Alan Scott: The Green Lantern,” made all the more unique with Matt Herms’ color work. The scenes set in 1941 use a more solid design, with bold lines for the character designs and emphasized shading effects to add volume and details. While the style tends more towards a classic balance between natural-seeming outlines and proportions within comic book designs, certain features are exaggerated ever so slightly, often in order to make characters more expressive or emphasize the action in the scene.
But when the flashback scenes begin, that style is accentuated with Ben Day dots as part of the designs and coloration to make it feel more like it’s part of the past. It’s a noticeable effect, but it works nicely.
At the same time, Matt Herms uses very bright and bold colors, with the lighter shades standing out sharply against the backgrounds and shadows. The colors are very solid, with only the shading providing different tones for the most part, but that also serves the purpose of making the mystical or glowing effects stand out even more.
The backgrounds tend to use lighter shades, so most of the contrast comes from the shading on the characters, save for the pieces set at night, where the backgrounds grow darker to match. Even neutral tones like the army uniforms have a more vibrant energy to them, which makes the comic easy on the eyes.
These colors really come out when we get the Crimson Flame rising against the darkness of the sea, illuminating the area in red while everything else is a darker shade of shadow, or when we get the bright green glow of Green Lantern’s ring. All together, it works nicely.
Al in all, “Alan Scott: The Green Lantern” serves as a solid character piece, introducing new elements to the character’s backstory that help fill out his history to match his new status quo in a way that adds to his character. The pacing, voices, art, and colors are all very solid, and it handles the internal conflict of being a closeted gay man in a homophobic time well. It’s a good reintroduction to the character for new and old readers alike.
Final Verdict: 8.4 – An all around well-done comic that tells a new story for a classic superhero.