Saturday, April 18, 2020

Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 (2016) Review

The Ring’s the Thing

Written By: Robert Vendetti
Art By: Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Wright
Lettered By: Dave Sharpe
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: July 13, 2016


Here we go folks, the moment many of you have been waiting for: the reintroduction of Hal Jordan into this new, Rebirthed DC multiverse thingy! Where we last left Hal…yeesh, that was that whole thing where he stole Krona’s glove and took off, and it looked like he might be portrayed as a rascally space scoundrel like Han Solo, but ended up being portrayed as an endless whiner like Hal Jordan. I had high hopes for that story, but then the Green Lantern Corps were sucked into an alternate dimension and all the stakes vanished, and I drifted away about three issues into it. Well all that doesn’t matter because we’re Rebirthing here, and taking Hal in a new direction! Or, at the very least, I’ll be brought up to speed so I can continue reading this title going forward. Which will it be, folks, a new start for Hal Jordan or a recap of what’s come before so we can start fresh with the other number one issue in two weeks? Read on to find out!

Explain It!

I think you know the deal with these Rebirth #1 issues by now: if you haven’t been reading the last couple of years of Green Lantern, or if you have a very poor memory, then they’re gonna establish what’s been going on so we can all be on an even footing going forward. Long-time fans of various Green Lantern books might be peeved at being told information they’ve already read, but I think these issues are important to establish the tone and characters’ attitudes for the series. Unfortunately, since there are only a handful of characters featured in this issue, we don’t get a lot of that last bit. The issue opens with two characters, Lyssa Drak of the Sinestro Corps and Sinestro, uh, also of the Sinestro Corps, piloting their recently acquired Warworld to the center of the universe, in order to occupy the space previously occupied by the Guardians' planet Oa. This is partly a symbolic victory, but also the perfect vantage point from which Sinestro will impose his fear-based order on the entire galaxy. Sinestro looks like an old coot, and Lyssa suggest he lie down for his nap, but Sinestro is a cantankerous old so-n-so and tells her to scram while he confers with the beast Parallax, the thing that gives Sinestro’s yellow lantern and subsequent yellow rings their power.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy on a dead world, renegade Hal Jordan is trying to master his high by reminding himself, and the reader, of his personal information. It seems that wearing Krona’s glove does more damage than turn your wrist green, it also threatens to absorb Jordan into the green light of the emotional spectrum, because that’s totally something these Lanterns-based items do on a regular basis. Seriously the whole emotional spectrum is crazy dangerous, and tapping into it at all is a foolhardy thing to do. Patrolling space with a Lantern ring is like a beat cop walking the neighborhood with a nuclear missile. So anyway, for everyone’s benefit Hal Jordan runs over some relevant points in his life: he saw his dad die in an experimental jet crash, then he became an experimental jet pilot just to be super creepy about it. He saw Abin Sur die in a rocketship crash (never thinking that maybe he was the correlating factor here), and got the Green Lantern ring and became a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Fast forward over about a dozen major story arcs, the Corps was vilified across the galaxy, so Hal stole Krona’s glove and took off to a distant sector of the universe to be the fall guy for the whole team. But then the Corps, the Guardians, and Kyle Rayner the White Lantern (don’t ask, it’s a long story) were sucked into some dying pocket dimension and his gesture was for naught. So now he’s created a chunk of green matter, and a hammer and anvil construct using Krona’s glove, and it’s time for Hal Jordan to go John Henry. No, not Steel, the one from the poem.

Hal Jordan starts whacking at this metal with all of his might, and it reverberates so loudly it can be heard all throughout the universe: by the Green Lantern Corps, who look to be on the way back from their alternate reality; by the Guardians, who essentially react by saying, “Oy, such a racket he makes!”; by Kyle Rayner, then by Jessica Cruz, who became a Green Lantern after the events of Forever Evil and wasn’t subject to the Corps mysterious exile; by Old Man Sinestro, who gets giddy with excitement over seeing his buddy Hal again and asks Parallax to give him everything (I assume he means cake and party favors); by the remaining representatives of the various bands in the emotional spectrum except for, curiously, the Red Lanterns—suffice to say this anvil clanging is really noisy. After beating away at this chunk of green whatever-it-is for a while, it spontaneously turns into a very smart-looking low-profile Green Lantern ring! Which is not how blacksmithing works, but whatever. Hal slips it on and recites that old Green Lantern oath, and his Judd Nelson from the Breakfast Club costume changes into the traditional Green Lantern uniform! Which is a thing!

So if you haven’t been reading any of the Green Lantern books for the last year or so, you’ll probably find this issue pretty useful. On the other hand, if you have been keeping up with Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps in their separate books, then you might feel this one is redundant. Ethan Van Sciver’s artwork is phenomenal throughout, exactly as expected and pleasantly familiar in a Lanterns book. The issue is maybe a little heavy on the anvil clanging, but there’s really nothing wrong with it, save for it being little more than a recap of recent events.

Bits and Pieces:

If you need a refresher on what's been happening with Hal Jordan and the world of the many colored Lanterns, then this is the issue for you. If you feel knowledgable enough to pass a pop quiz, then you can probably skip it. No real problems with this issue, aside from it treading familiar ground. The art is phenomenal and there are a couple of story developments, but nothing so relevant that you couldn't figure it out later on.


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