Monday, January 17, 2011

Book Review: Green Lantern: Rebirth by Johns and Van Sciver

Green Lantern: RebirthGreen Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I actually always thought GL was pretty cool, but never got around to reading any of the comics, I think partly because some of the members of the Green Lantern Corps just looked dumb to me. So, I decided, this mid 2000's relaunch by DC and Geoff Johns was as good a time as any to indoctrinate myself to Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, especially in “light” of the forthcoming movie.

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH reprints the 2004-2005 WIZARD X and GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH issues 1-6. It's written by one of DC Comics' stalwarts, Geoff Johns, who has made his name on this title, redefining (or should I say clarifying) important but glossed over elements of Green Lantern's/Hal Jordan's back story, as well as explaining much about the existence of the Guardians of Oa and the Central Power Battery that is the source of energy for the Corps’ iconic rings.

The graphic novel does a fairly decent job of clearing up some questions that loyal GL fans may have had for a while, although new readers like myself might find this a little too snipped and fast-paced to jam into six or seven issues along with everything else (read on), and I have to admit the presence of the Spectre as housing the soul of Hal Jordan was lost on me (I assume I would need to have read earlier issues, specifically the “death” of Hal Jordan issues, to understand this part).

This story arc is chock full of hordes of staple DC characters. Other Lanterns, the Justice League, several of the classic GL adversaries, e.g., Sinestro, Parallax, even Batman to a point; in fact, Johns portrays the Justice League in a cocky, authoritarian, passing-judgement role, with Batman as Bully #1, that I suppose makes sense considering the DC Universe is constantly under threat from on-planet, off-planet, other-planet enemies, thought it does annoy me some. As an aside, this is likely because with the release of the YOUNG JUSTICE animated series a couple weeks ago, it seems like the Justice League is taking a big hit as the pushy strong-arm group among all the good guys throughout the DC Universe. Maybe they always have been and I just haven’t noticed?

The nits above notwithstanding, I really enjoyed reading GL:R and I certainly plan to continue reading more issues. I just hope Johns has an opportunity to slow down the pace a little now that he's settled the back story issues.

Since this is a comic series, I’d be remiss not to mention the artist, a fella named Ethan van Sciver (image: search), whose work I'm not familiar with previous to this series (some Justice League and Flash one-offs, mainly). This dude seems like he was born to draw the GREEN LANTERN comic books series. His art is very dynamic, very slick, very inventive, and quintessential. Every once in a while, he goes a little crazy with the pages being way busy, but we are talking about guys who can fly around and conjure anything their imaginations and willpowers can muster through their rings. That pretty much means once in a while, you're going to have to really scrutinize some details to sort out what you're looking at. I'm happy van Scriver is on the series for a while. His art alone makes me eager to read more.

GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH is a good stepping on point for new readers, and since this storyline is available in graphic novels and at several libraries, there's no reason not to put it off. You do plan to see the movie, after all, right?

Three stars (out of five). Recommended.

Green Lantern image by Ethan Van Sciver. Cool, huh?

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