Green Lantern #2

Green Lantern #2

B+

Last month our webmaster Noah Nickels reviewed Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke’s Green Lantern #1, and I basically agree with everything he had to say about this series’ debut, from the relatability of hero Hal Jordan to Mahnke’s tremendous art to its new-reader friendliness. What I want to talk about here is something Johns has done that I think is an especially clever conceit for the first story arc of a new book: he’s making its main character win the title role back.

Has anything like this ever been tried before? No doubt we’ve seen superheroes attempt to reclaim their costumes/powers/positions, but at the very beginning of the series? That strikes me as a really bold move, and one that a creator could only really pull of in the New 52, which is so sharply structured to play off the most basic things we already know about these iconic characters. We know there’s a guy named Hal Jordan who’s a Green Lantern, but as this series opens he’s not anymore for some reason. And that’s not me being flip — I didn’t follow Green Lantern pre-reboot so I really don’t know why things are the way they are in issue #1, or if there’s even precedent for it. It just doesn’t matter to me. I think that means Geoff Johns did his job. I like this idea so much because, in theory, as the book shows us just why Hal Jordan deserves to be Green Lantern, we’ll be given a strong in-text explanation for why it is we should care about the adventures of this hero.

So here in issue #2, Green Lantern Sinestro comes to Earth with an offer for Hal — help Sinestro not be Green Lantern anymore and Hal can have the ring that they both basically agree is rightfully his. To accomplish this, Sinestro fashions Hal a green ring using his own Lantern powers. That, too, is pretty clever — have we ever seen a subordinate ring like this before? That seems like a story option worth exploring. Couldn’t a Lantern of sufficient willpower make a whole bunch of deputy rings using his own? Oh, the possibilities.

But anyway, Sinestro has to teach Hal a thing or two before they can move on with his plan. This “reeducating Jordan” segment didn’t totally work for me; I know Johns needs us to believe Hal’s a total hothead, but that shouldn’t mean he’s an idiot. But the constructs Sinestro uses throughout are ridiculously inventive, giving Mahnke another canvas on which to shine.

Speaking of Mahnke, no one does grotesque superhero stuff better than him, so it’s nice that the eventual bad guy of this issue turns out to be a monstrous Yellow Lantern who’s come for Sinestro’s head. This centipede-like fella, called Gorgor, has at least four mouths, eight arms and one really cool death scene. I really hope this series gives us a bunch more crazy alien designs like that, because Mahnke totally excels there.

I do feel the end of this issue comes just a little too quickly; the final battle only gets a couple pages, making it feel a bit like an anti-climax. Still, this is a strong comic in both writing and art, and its central conceit — that our hero has to regain his powers before he ever stars in his own comic — feels really fresh and compelling. Green Lantern‘s got my attention for awhile.

tags: doug mahnke, geoff johns, green lantern

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  • Marc Fishman

    I agree on all points. I was in love with the bridge sequence. The helplessness of Hal as Sinestro rekindles his code of “order over all” viewpoint is amazing. While this is in no way a #2 in theme… I agree that this deconstruction works here because it’s something new. Whereas GL Corps and New Guardians continues to dig from the well of standard boring stories.

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