Review | Green Lantern #1

What a strange place, this new DCU. Most characters seem to be getting completely fresh starts, while a few—namely Batman and Green Lantern—blithely continue on as if there's been no reboot. (Why mess with proven winners?) If you're a continuity-concerned fan, it could make your head hurt. Fortunately, I'm just here for good comics, so I don't much worry how Title X syncs with the other 51.

This is a first issue that picks up well into a long saga that writer Geoff Johns began seven years ago, when he revived GL and made it DC's top-selling franchise. Yet somehow, this feels remarkably like a nifty jumping-on point. All you really need to know are the three major players—and even if you're unfamiliar with GL Hal Jordan, Star Sapphire Carol Ferris and archnemesis Sinestro, the trio fit into pretty obvious archetypes: the hero, his woman and the villain. Doug Mahnke’s ace pencils drive those roles home; it’s easy to tell how they relate to each other because he’s a master at drawing both emotive faces and dynamic action.

What makes Green Lantern #1 so much fun is how Johns suddenly flips the script. The guy wearing the green power ring is Sinestro, former hero-turned-despot. (He switched to the dark side long before Darth Vader.) Jordan, meanwhile, has just been relegated to civilian status; as the issue kicks off, he's trying to pull together the pieces of his neglected Earth life after saving the universe for the past few months. Carol still holds a torch for Hal, but she finally learns (well, maybe) not to depend on him—professionally or romantically. One of the knocks on Hal Jordan (versus other GLs, like disciplined former Marine John Stewart and hothead Guy Gardner) is that he’s bland. But Johns gives his favorite protagonist a dashing cockiness, which Mahnke captures perfectly. And as a result, Hal’s the kind of hero you root for despite his fuck-ups. And nobody draws a haughty, brooding Sinestro better.

So yep, this is a perfect jumping-on point for the Lantern-curious. Don’t worry about that backstory: It doesn't matter how they got here. It just matters that they're still stuck together in their dysfunctional dance of love and fear.

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