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“Green Lantern” #1

By | May 11th, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

Hal Jordan is back, and bringing the Green Lantern’s heroics back to Earth. Or at least that’s the general concept, but does it work? Let’s take a look at the new run on “Green Lantern” and see what works, what questions remain, and where this new story will take Hal.

There will be some slight spoilers as we do.

Written by Jeremy Adams
Illustrated by Xermánico
Colored by Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Lettered by Dave Sharpe

Spinning out of the events of Dark Crisis, the Guardians of Oa at the heart of the Green Lantern Corps have quarantined Sector 2814, home of the planet Earth—and its champion along with it!

A heartbreaking defeat has sent Hal reeling, returning home to rediscover his roots…and find the man responsible for ruining his life: Sinestro. From the visionary team of Jeremy Adams and Xermánico (who brought you the epic Flashpoint Beyond) comes a tale of redemption, loss, and finding out that maybe…just maybe…you can go home again. At least if you’re willing to hot-wire a power ring to do it. Also featuring part one of John Stewart: War Journal from writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artist Montos!

It might be a bit of an understatement to say that the Green Lantern Corps has been through a lot. They’ve been de-powered, had their central battery exploded, John Stewart has become at least partially a god… it’s been busy for them. In all that time, and with all the human Green Lanterns to follow, Hal Jordan has had less focus as of late. Well, that’s all changing now, as we see Hal is back on Earth, and… really reverting to his old ways.

It’s actually kind of jarring to see Hal back to his old cocky, plane-crashing self. It feels like a regression at first, until you realize why he’s doing this. Hal has had to leave the Green Lantern Corps after the United Planets took control of the Corps and declared Earth a liability, leaving him with nowhere to go but back to the life and self he left behind. As the story jumps between the present and a month ago, we see that he didn’t even have his ring at first.

So this isn’t a triumphant return of Green Lantern – it’s almost tragic seeing Hal falling into old habits as he attempts to readjust to life without a power ring. In fact, watching Hal showboat and crash a jet, while something we’ve certainly seen him do before, just feels like something he should be past now, and makes us more likely to side with Carol Ferris as she gets annoyed at his attitude and the damage he’s done. But it seems like that’s the point.

I’ve said before that I like stories where the main character starts off as a person in dire need of some character development, but it’s not the same when the protagonist is someone we’ve already seen go through development and become a better person and hero. In this case, we’ll want to root for him to get back to the hero we know he can be.

With that said, we also see that Hal does manage to regain his powers, and with them, old enemies are bound to return as well.

As this is the first issue of a new run, it’s mostly concerned with setting up the story to come. It establishes Hal’s current state, shows the start of his return, and gives us a little bit of heroics. So it hits the right beats to start the run off.

One thing that’s also in the comic’s favor is the artwork by Xermánico and the colors from Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Xermánico’s illustrations take some classic comic book styles and makes them his own, bringing in some great visual storytelling and strong imagery. He knows when to hold back and when to go all out with the designs, which can lead to some excellent visuals.

One scene that stands out in particular comes from Hal just staring up at the night sky. It’s not action-packed, it’s not filled with characters, but the designs, details, and lighting put into the starry sky add plenty of impact and emotion to the moment. Romulo’s colors add plenty to it as well, bringing in shades of blue and flickering yellow lights that draw you in to the scene. This works well for the emotional impact the scene is supposed to have, as Hal reflects on the vast cosmos he left behind to return to Earth.

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We also get some great visuals as Hal takes a jet for a test drive, as Xermánico’s artwork lets you feel the speed across each panel. The way the artwork blurs the backgrounds while keeping the jets in the focus lets us feel just how fast they’re going – until it cuts to a quick moment of a goat that the jet flies past, which also helps us feel the sheer speed. Once more, the use of light and colors adds a whole lot to the scene, drawing us as readers into the scene and into each new moment with eye-catching visuals.

Of course, it’s no surprise that color work plays a big role in a “Green Lantern” comic. The green glow of the lantern’s light is important, yes, but so are all the other colors at play around it, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. knows how to use each color and its contrasts to their fullest.

The issue also ends with a backup story, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, that lets us catch up with some of the other Green Lanterns from Earth, in very different ways. While it’s nice to see John Stewart finally getting a break, we’re also taken to see Guy Gardner in “another universe, another time,” introducing us to dangers yet to come. As this is a short backup, there’s only so much that can be said so far, but it sets us up with some foreshadowing of dangers to come (as well as a neat new Lantern oath), and some great visuals from Montos and Adriano Lucas. This is another moment where the color work goes a long way, using contrasting shades of purple and green to illustrate the conflict.

Overall, this new run on “Green Lantern” might not be the most heroic return for Hal Jordan, but it’s one that sets up the story to come, and that counts for a lot. This is the kind of comic you’ll want to keep following to see what’s in store and watch where our characters go.

Final Verdict: 7.5 – An engaging start to the latest “Green Lantern” story, bringing Hal Jordan back to his roots for better or worse, and supported by great artwork and colors.

Robbie Pleasant