Monday, October 23, 2023

Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1 Review


Written by: Tim Sheridan
Art by: Cian Tormey
Colors by: Matt Herms
Letters by: Lucas Gattoni
Cover art by: David Talaski (cover A)
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: October 24, 2023

Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1 takes readers back to the early days of the JSA where Alan Scott, aka Green Lantern, recalls the ill-fated experiment to capture the Crimson Flame.
Is Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1 Good?

Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1 marks the third series in DC's new Golden Age imprint, which re-introduces readers to members of the original JSA for a new generation. This time, Tim Sheridan takes a crack at the original Green Lantern with a tragic tale of oppression and regret... or is it?

Sheridan's tale centers on Alan Scott as the world's most powerful superhero, a reluctant member of the JSA, and a closeted gay man. Scott, at the urging of FBI Director Hoover, agrees to allow himself to be listed as a member of the JSA, but he makes it clear the Green Lantern works alone. FBI Director Hoover coerces Scott into actively participating with the JSA by sexually blackmailing Scott with pictures of Scott and his lover, Johnny Ladd, in compromising positions.

Through flashbacks, Scott recalls how he met his lover, Johnny, in the Army Corps of Engineers (Essayons) as part of a secret project to capture the mythical Crimson Flame, believing the Flame's power could be used as a weapon against the Axis powers during WWII. The experiment goes horribly wrong, and Johnny is "consumed" by the Crimson Flame.

Years later, Alan Scott fulfills Hoover's coercion by participating with the JSA only as much as necessary, fearing too much exposure to the team risks exposing his secret life as a gay man. One day, Scott receives an alert about a bank robbery, and when he swoops in to save the day, bystanders claim he was already there. He finds a drowned body on a nearby rooftop that looks exactly like his long-lost lover, and a fiery red fireball appears in the sky. The confluence of events disorients Scott, and he suddenly finds himself strapped to a psychiatric table for electroshock therapy. The title of the next issue implies the procedure is a barbaric form of homosexual conversion therapy.

Whoo! That's a lot of description, but there's a lot going on in this issue, and all of it ties together. Unfortunately, this issue has generated an unequal amount of online controversy, so let's separate fact from unfair assumption.

Is this Alan Scott a retcon of the character longtime JSA readers know? Absolutely, yes. The Earth-2 version of Alan Scott came out as a gay man during the New 52, but this issue looks to be merging the Earth-2 and Earth-Prime versions of Scott. The story may be consistent with Earth-2's Scott, but it's presented as Earth-Prime and effectively eradicates Scott's marriage to The Thorn and his two children, Obsidian and Jade. It's a retcon.

Does FBI Director Hoover have sex with Alan Scott? Maybe. At the end of the controversial blackmail meeting, Hoover orders Scott to come to a private party later with the combat boots Scott wears in the compromising photos. The wording and delivery heavily imply Hoover intends to gratify himself by making Scott re-enact the photos.

Is Johnny Ladd the Crimson Flame-powered Red Lantern? TBD. The body Scott finds near the bank robbery is Johnny's, but it's unclear if he's alive or dead, how he got there, and why he's wearing the same clothes in Hoover's compromising photos.

Overall, Tim Sheridan plants at least one or two intriguing mysteries, the pacing is solid, and the dialog is generally good. If anyone is down on this book, it's the ideas and story choices that make this issue a tough sell.

What's great about Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1? Sheridan's development of the Crimson Flame mission is interesting and ripe with potential. As noted above, the technical pieces of the script are solid, and this issue underscores that there's room to tell more period-specific JSA adventures that capture readers' imaginations.

What's not so great about Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1? Here's where it gets a little tricky. There's nothing wrong or particularly new about a gay superhero, but Sheridan spent much too much time painting a picture of the struggles of a closeted gay man in the 1930s and 1940s and not enough time on the superhero part.


Alan Scott is, first and foremost, a superhero. Readers want to see superheroes doing superhero things, to have their character elevated as someone to look up to, even with their personal struggles. When all of Scott's attention is on his personal life, Sheridan makes Scott a victim first and a hero second, which is a bummer in tone and a very hard jumping-on point for new readers who want to know what the OG Green Lantern is all about.

Second, Sheridan falls into the trap made by too many Big 2 writers of making the character seem better by tearing down the people around him. FBI Director Hoover was a questionable character, for sure, but the blackmail plot is unnecessary. Scott could have easily been a willing member of the JSA while remaining aloof to maintain his secret, and nothing about the plot would have changed. By forcing Scott's association with the JSA by ill means, it goes against Scott's character, who originally joined the team because of his commitment to his country and justice. Manufacturing a scenario to force Scott's involvement lessens his status as a hero, and Sheridan's choice to include the blackmail plot makes this issue unnecessarily seedy and gross.

In fairness, Sheridan's script is a thoughtful exploration of what it could have been like to be a superhero in an era where living a gay lifestyle was considered illegal. However, the issue stumbles with the extreme amount of retcons and seedy developments needed to make that exploration work with Alan Scott. If this issue was focused on a completely original character, it would still be seedy but not nearly as offputting.

How's the art? It's great. In his Green Lantern costume, Cian Tormey's figure work makes Alan Scott look as good as ever, particularly with the cape draping and placement. The brief bits of action are well done, and Matt Herms's colors look fantastic.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces: 

Alan Scott: Green Lantern #1 is a thoughtful exploration of what it might have been like to be a soldier, a superhero, and a gay man during WWII. The art looks great, and Sheridan plants a couple of intriguing mysteries. That said, so much focus is spent painting Alan Scott as an oppressed victim that the hero aspects get very little play. And the extreme retcons verge on salacious.



  1. FYI Gabe - I am sure lots of other have told you, it is FBI Director Hoover, not President Hoover.

  2. Yes. You're not the first to catch tht error. The review has been corrected. Thanks for keeping me honest.

  3. It does not eradicate Obsidian or Jade. Not in the slightest. Both are established as having existed since they introduced prime GL as being gay, which was many years ago. This isn’t a decision Sheridan made on his own. Or did you miss the dc pride annual story that had Alan and Todd compare notes with each other? Also…….you do know that gay men, due to fear of being outed and ostracized, would marry women and have children. Making Alan gay does not erase any marriages or children he’s had, only the context in which those plot points were conceived.

    1. Except that when DC retconned Alan Scott as gay al New 52,, they quite literally, erased his children and his marriage.
      Sheridan is obviously going off this new continuity, so Obsidian and Jade are both "poof" disappeared, vanished, finito.
      Sheridan didn't have to use this version of GL, but he obviously did because he can use it to push his agenda.
      Or did you forget....that Sheridan also created a non-binary potato sack person dubbed "Stitch" to lecture and soapbox in his Teen Titans(?) run?

    2. Your homophobia is showing. You'd think the comic book community would know what it feels like to be hated on, nerds should stick together, not try to tear others down. Any way, enjoy hating every comic book in the coming years, because those comics are going to reflect what's happening in our society.