Here’s a quick summary of Issue #1:
The issue opens with Sinestro being sworn into the Green Lantern Corps once again. Despite his past betrayal, he has been chosen by a Green Lantern ring, and the Watchers respect the wisdom of the ring. After Sinestro leaves, one Watcher speaks out against these actions, but he is quickly and violently silenced by the rest of the council.
Meanwhile, Hal Jordan is no longer a Green Lantern or employed and is drowning in a mountain of overdue bills. Feeling completely lost, he ends up begging Carol Ferris for a pilot position. Unfortunately, Hal has such a bad accident record that Ferris wouldn’t be able to insure her jets, so she ends up offering a disgruntled Hal a non-pilot job.
In space sector 1417, Sinestro watches as the Sinestro Corps, his former army, enslaves his home planet of Korugar. A Sinestro Corps member attacks Sinestro, thinking he’s a Green Lantern. When the warrior realizes who he’s fighting, he stops and inquires why Sinestro is wearing a Green Lantern suit. Enraged over the mistreatment of his home world, Sinestro kills the solider and destroys his ring before it can choose another Sinestro Corps member.
Back on Earth, Hal Jordan suffers an epic fail on a dinner date with Carol, when she mistakenly thinks he’s about to propose and, instead, he asks her to cosign on the lease of a car. Returning home to find an eviction notice, Hal hears a familiar voice behind him. There stands Sinestro, telling Hal that if he wants his ring back, he’ll do everything Sinestro says.
The focus on Sinestro. Sinestro has always been an interesting character both in story and visual appeal, and Johns made a smart choice by featuring him heavily in the first issue of Green Lantern and making him the focus of the cover. He’s one of those villains that readers just can’t get enough of and whose presence commands all attention when he shows up in a scene. Sinestro is in a unique place now as a resistant member of the Green Lantern Corps and possessor of Hal Jordan’s old ring. Sinestro is a character who has a rabid desire to control his own destiny, so the obstacles Johns has placed in front of him are sure to pay off as the series unfolds.
A number of uncomfortable situations = one great set up. As the title of this review suggest, Johns seems determined to make sure both Jordan and Sinestro hate their @#$%ing lives. Jordan is powerless, unemployed, and drowning in debt, and, by the end of the issue, he’s also isolated his girlfriend and been evicted. Sinestro is forced back into the Green Lantern Corps, watches his home planet become enslaved by his former army, and is forced to such a low point that he decided to team up with his worst enemy. While this is all bad for the characters, it’s damn good for the readers, as these low points will surely unravel a good chunk of drama in the coming issues. Also, it seems like Johns is trying to mirror some of Morrison’s choices for Action Comics’ Superman by having him struggle with relatable problems that readers may be experiencing. Surely, DC plans to include the presence of these sort of issues in a number of the New 52 issues, and it’s nice to see it congruently present here.
Doug Manhnke, Christian Alamy, and David Baron. Green Lantern has always been a comic ripe with visual possibilities, and the visual team of Manhnke, Alamy, and Baron succeeds in this aspect with flying colors. Manhnke’s pencils and Alamy’s inks are sharp and precise, with well-crafted scenery and facial expressions that add real mood and emotion to the comic. Colors are just as important in a story with such cosmic visual history, and Baron delivers! The contrast between Sinestro’s reddish skin and glowing Green Lantern suit is vivid and exciting from the very first page. The parade of thrilling imagery continues with the alien blue hue of the Watchers and the striking colors present in Sinestro’s battle with the Sinestro Corps member over the planet Korugar. Imaginative visuals like these make me feel like a kid again!
Johns’ scripts seem to be fairly “hookless.” Ok, sure, there’s the end page where Sinestro demands Hal Jordan does everything he says in order to get his ring back, but, honestly, how long is that going to play out? Do any readers really think it’ll take long for Hal to get his ring back? I mean the book is called Green Lantern, right? It’s safe to assume Hal Jordan will be Green Lantern at some point, correct? (P.S. - I will give mad props to Johns if he proves me completely wrong and keeps the ring on Sinestro!) Anyway, the bigger issue for me was how I felt similarly underwhelmed about the ending of Justice League #1. Again, Johns has delivered a solid Green Lantern story, but that’s to be expected. If the goal is to reinvigorate old readers and cement new ones, then each one of these comics should be top level with captivating story hooks as endings that make you desperate for the next issue. Adequate just isn’t going to cut it.
The buzz on Green Lantern #1 seems to be fairly positive. Of the reviews that have been posted, most former readers seem happy that the story they were following previously picks up here, yet they mentioned that it still seemed to serve as a good lead-in for new readers. Still, it did prompt one reviewer to state that this book should just be called Green Lantern #68.
All in all, Green Lantern #1 is a decent book, but with 52 different new DC first issues to choose from and a constantly dwindling amount of comic buying funds, I feel this may be one series I will hold off on for now and pick up in trade paperback when Comic-Con rolls around.
’Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer