Thursday, September 15, 2011

COMICS: Green Lantern #1

Geoff Johns is the Green Lantern guy. He has been for a while (seven years or so), and he's been the guy responsible for returning Hal Jordan and the Lantern Corps to the land of ambition and cosmic scope. Green Lantern #1 isn't the best thing he's ever done with the Corps (that would probably be Sinestro Corps War), but it maintains the same ambition, energy and pace of all his work with the character, and that makes it more than worth reading.

One of the interesting things about DC's whole New 52 relaunch is getting to see where each writer chooses to start the character up. Some opt to begin at the very, very beginning, others take the in medias res approach. Which way they shift says a lot about how they feel about the character, and what kind of story they want to tell. For Johns, who's basically owned the Lantern universe for a while now, it's about starting with major drama in the rearview mirror and forging a new path forward.

Hal Jordan was a Green Lantern, but when we meet him he's just a guy trying to pay his bills. His old nemesis Sinestro, on the other hand, is being invited back into the Lantern Corps by the Guardians of the Universe after trying unsuccessfully to wipe them out. The Guardians (most of them, anyway) are insistent that he is needed back in the Corps, and he is insistent that Hal Jordan must also return. Why, we don't know.

It's not exactly inventive for Johns to place the Green Lantern title's two most famous faces side by side once again, but that doesn't matter. What matters is that it feels like he's trying something here, like he's got the ambition to reach for a new direction. Who knows where it's headed at this point, but it's the reach that counts. Longtime Green Lantern artist and Johns collaborator Doug Mahnke keeps the look of the universe in line with Johns' past triumphs on the title, delivering solid cosmic visions that heighten the sense of energy in the title.

Though his Justice League #1 writing was underwhelming (some readers would say I put that mildly), Johns proves here that when it comes to Green Lantern, he still seems to know what he's doing. It's not groundbreaking or world-changing, but it's enough to make you want issue 2.

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