In Review: Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1

A fantastic start!

The covers: The Regular cover is by interior artist Ethan Van Sciver and interior colorist Jason Wright. It’s an extreme close up of Jessica Cruz holding up her power battery. There’s green energy rippling off of her like flame. She looks intently at the person across from her whose reflection can be seen in the battery: her new partner, Simon Baz. He’s got his fist out, obviously about to recharge his power ring. This is an incredibly detailed image with the line work in the power battery spectacular and Cruz looks amazing — notice how her right eye, which is covered in a lantern icon like a tattoo, doesn’t have an iris but a lantern symbol. The coloring is gorgeous; all the different shades of emerald make this powerful. The Variant cover is by Alex Garner. This has the two heroes back to back on a white background, with the pair standing atop the new DC Bullet. Jessica is in the front of the illustration, showing off her costume and that’s she ready for anyone that wants to fight. She looks great and I’m loving those boots. Simon is turning to see what’s gotten his partner’s attention, his ring ready on his right hand, his pistol in his left. This needs to be a tee shirt. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: An unseen narrator waxes on the problem of Green Lanterns. The first human was Hal Jordan, the second John Stewart. Then Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner. “They are problems, as well. But they are not here…and they do not know what I do. They do not see what I see. Vision of the near future…” This individual sees a Guardian whose name in unclear and he carries a stone box that contains “…a mysterious ring. Something new. Something of his creation. Something forbidden. But it can give me everything I want.” He’s been pursued by Dominators, and when he’s boxed between them and their ships he opens the box releasing a multicolored wave of power destroying them. Geoff Johns and Sam Humpries’s story then moves to Dearborn, Michigan where Simon Baz is cleaning his sister’s garage of graffiti for the third time: TERRORIST. He’s returned from fighting for the lanterns in space and he’s beginning to wonder if it wouldn’t be better if he left Earth entirely. Another character appears and gives backstory to Simon and tells the lantern how he’s changed his opinion of the man. Their conversation is cut short when the ring tells Simon he is needed. In Portland, Oregon, Jessica Cruz meets with her sister Sara, but she too is called by the ring and has to leave. The pair are called to a location where a familiar villain rears his head. A battle commences, naturally, but ends in a surprising way, with an iconic character appearing. This individual sets up what this new series will be about and tells the pair that they’ll have assistance if they need it. This character came off a little harsher than he’s been seen in the last year, but he’s in a hurry to return to where he came from and help others. The final page reveals who was the unseen narrator from the opening and I’m extremely happy to see him and his allies. This was a solid beginning. Overall grade: A

The art: A reader should know that if he or she is going to read a book illustrated by Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes that it’s going to look good, and this book certainly does. The second and third pages are a partial double-paged splash showing an immense close up of the Guardian trying to speed away from an arm of several Dominators. The detail on the Guardian’s clothes are incredible, especially in the gears that decorate his helmet and vest. The Dominators are also striking, with mouths full of long teeth that would frighten a shark. When the scene moves to Earth Simon and Jessica look outstanding, as do the background characters used to flesh out the setting. Both artists have their characters emote well, with their intentions made with just a narrowing or widening of the eyes. The two characters meet for the first time on Page 10 and it’s fantastic: the rookie looks a little awkward in her stance, while Baz is absolutely on point as the veteran. The reveal of the villain on 11 is dramatic, with one character’s actions that occur in the following two panels equally so. The smug look on the character’s face in the final panel telegraphs to the reader that this is not going to go easily. The second panel on 13 is incredibly powerful and it only intensifies my desire to see more of this character in action. 14 is a full paged splash of an iconic character and he looks fantastic: the energy coming off this character is practically god-like. I’ve mentioned much of the characters so far, but look at the work done with the settings on 15 — that’s more detail than most books have in twenty pages! The large panel on 16 is a triumph. The quick cameo by the characters on 18 had my heart leap, and the reaction by one of the lanterns in the bottom left mirrored my own reaction. 20 reveals upcoming villains and it’s a sensational full paged splash. Every image is fantastic. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Lantern books should be colorful; after all, their are several different colored power rings and each emits energy in that shade. For a Green Lantern book one expects to see many images with vivid emerald light, and Jason Wright does not disappoint. The green energy that surrounds the Guardian on the run separates him from his foes, and when he unleashes the power of his mystery ring it’s like a violent rainbow of death is unleashed. Dearborn is a dreary location, colored as though the color has been sapped from the setting and this makes the red scrawls on the garage and the energy Simon emits strong. Portland’s colors are muted, highlighting the overcast nature of the state. When the characters meet, their greens are beautiful and they counter the bright yellows and oranges of the villain. The primary color of the final page is also fantastic, but I’ll leave it unstated so as not to spoil the reveal. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration from an unseen character, opening credits, scene settings, dialogue and narration (the same font), ring speech, and the villain’s unique dialogue are constructed by Travis Lanham. I love the narrator and villain’s unique fonts, separating them from the “normal” characters, and the sounds are also great. I do wish that the dialogue was a different font from the leads’ narration and that coloring wasn’t used to differentiate them, but that’s not Lanham’s decision. Overall grade: A

The final line: A fantastic start! The characters are made a team and given a mission. Highly detailed visuals make this one of the better looking Rebirths. Overall grade: A 

To find out more about Green Lanterns and other lantern books go to http://dcccomics.com

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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