Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1
Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Ethan van Sciver
Colorist: Jason Wright
Buy Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 digitally from Amazon/Comixology
Collected in the Hal Jordan the Green Lantern Corps v1 – Sinestro’s Law tradepaperback
Out of all the titles announced for Rebirth the ones that both worried and intrigued me the most were those in the Green Lantern line. I have tried many times to get into the Green Lantern books since cosmic space-faring adventures are right up my alley, but I have been stopped — repeatedly — by the stone-cold brickwall of impenetrable continuity. These are books that, at least in the past ten years or so, have exuded a feeling of history and epic, sweeping stories but done virtually nothing to make those stories accessible to new readers. It has been frustrating, to say the least.
With Rebirth the trend seems to have finally come to an end (or at least, migrated over to the core Superman books for some reason). The first of these books, Green Lanterns, has been entertaining and accessible, if perhaps not the best book of the relaunch so far. But it also has focused on relative newcomers who don’t have a lot of continuity baggage behind them so making it accessible isn’t too terribly difficult, relatively speaking. Hal Jordan and the rest of the Green Lanterns are a whole different bag of worms, and this is where the real test of Rebirth begins. And, happily, it mostly passes.
Writer Robert Venditti has managed to distill the most important parts of the recent Green Lantern adventures into this introductory issue, and without cheapening the impact of those stories. There is still a sense that there is a lot that has happened that I don’t know anything about, but unlike previous attempts to get into these books I don’t feel that I have to know what happened twenty issues ago to get what is happening now. It is a difficult line to straddle at times, but this book pulls it off.
That is not to say there aren’t any criticisms that can be leveled against the book, though. The main one for me is that the status of the Green Lanterns not named “Hal Jordan” are still rather ambiguous. The main ones get named dropped, and shown to still be alive somewhere, but beyond that I am at a loss to where they are supposed to be and what they are currently doing. Granted this book has Hal’s name right there in the title, but I could have done with a bit more information about the others. It is important to note that common Lantern antagonist Sinestro also gets some page time in this issue, and they are clearly setting him up for something in the near future as well. I do count his short bit of the book as one of the failures, though, as I have no idea why he is suddenly so old, nor what that giant planet-thing is that he’s riding around on. That is something that could be explained a bit better, and I am hoping that we won’t have to wait too long for a coherent explanation of that.
The book itself is largely devoted to establishing the important parts of Hal’s life, and as such it spends little time telling an actual story. What little of it there is is dedicated to showing how Hal plans to remake the Green Lantern corps now that Oa has been destroyed. I am a little hazy on the precise details, but Hal does manage to learn how to make his own set of power rings (using a corrupted source, but somehow making them rings makes them un-corrupted I guess?) and will presumably begin distributing those to new Lanterns he finds worthy. There’s also some politics involving Sinestro and his corps taking up the police role left behind by the missing Lanterns, and that rounds out the actual plot of the comic.
As an introductory issue this is largely a success, and judged against the measurement of previous Green Lantern launches it is miles ahead of the competition. There are still pieces of information which are missing, but allowances also have to be made when condensing this much history into a single comic. The Green Lantern continuity is a convoluted mess at this point, and so it is to both this book’s and Green Lanterns’ credits that they are able to tell cohesive, comprehensible stories. I sincerely hope that they can keep it up.