In Review: Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1

A successful summary and rebooting of Hal Jordan.

The covers: This Regular cover is one of my favorite Rebirth frontpieces so far. Ethan Van Sciver has followed the prescriptive format of showing the character’s face, but the hero is supposed to have part of their face hidden in some manner from the reader. Sciver puts Hal’s fist in the foreground, to showcase the ring, but he shows most of this hero’s face, and I’m so glad he does so. Hal looks intense, and his eyes’ normal pupils have become lanterns. There’s a great amount of energy coming out of the ring and swirling around him. This is a great cover. The Variant is also really strong. This shows all of Hal, who has a rare smile on his face, hovering above the DC Bullet. This image is by Cary Nord and it’s a terrific showcase for this character. I had to pick up both of these covers. Overall grades: Both A+

The story: The first four pages of this book don’t feature a Green Lantern, not a one. Not Hal, nor any of the other members of the corps. Robert Venditti instead starts the book at Space Sector Zero, the location of Oa, the homeworld of the Green Lantern Corps, but it’s long since been destroyed. It’s now occupied by Warworld, once controled by Mongul, now operated by the Sinestro Corps, with its leader overseeing it’s advances. Sinestro seeks to find out what’s happened to the Green Lanterns, who’ve disappeared. He feels his life is no longer worth living, and he’s aged tremendously since he was last seen in his own title. The story then moves to Space Sector 563, which contains a dead world, and the dying form of Hal Jordan. Venditti has much to do in this issue before the regular series begins. Hal Jordan has become a entity of light, and he’s beginning to fade. The Green Lantern Corps’ surviving members were last seen lost in a white vortex in space. The surviving last Guardians are trying to survive away from all others. The White Lantern, Kyle Rayner, is operating far from known space. Venditti has to get them all together. Does he do so? No. Not all of these things. The most important thing is to get Hal back to his former self. He does that, and while it’s being done several characters that have appeared in Lantern books over the last eight years make cameos, aware that something is happening within with the green light of Will. This is an extremely clever way to introduce Hal and the supporting cast to the reader, while showing that Sinestro is still a villain to be reckoned with. I freely admit that the last five pages got me hyped for new adventures. I’m ready for more! Overall grade: A 

The art: Ethan Van Sciver is known for putting meticulous details into his visuals. This book continues to show he’s at the top of his game. The book begins with four panels that zoom in closely to some asteroids, with them ultimately being destroyed. Their destruction is done in a spectacular spray of clouds and energy. It’s only the first page, but even these clouds of destruction look great. Warworld gets a full paged splash on Page 2, a combination of technology and the glowing yellow icon of the Sinestro Coprs. Sinestro’s first appearance on Page 3 is devastating; not because of the evil he emanates but because he is so ancient looking. I’ve never seen this villain so old — it stopped me dead in my tracks. The close up at the bottom of the same page shows his eyes, and they are decrepit, but there is just enough sparkle in them to remind the reader of who this foe is and what he’s done and still might be capable of. His disdain of Lyssa’s words on 4 makes him look like he’s become a bitter old codger, but Sciver still has him commanding strength. Hal’s first appearance on 6 shows the state he’s in and visually tells the reader that he’s dying. The flashback sequences are excellent, with the center panel on 7 being enough for Sciver to drop his pencil and say he’s done for the issue. The energy coming off of all the lanterns is staggering. The energy is not the constant uniform outline of energy of the 1960s through 1990s; this energy crackles off of characters as though it cannot be contained. Check out 10 to see how impressively Sciver creates a lantern’s energy. Sciver has always been capable of drawing impressive aliens, one of the many joys of his work when illustrating Lantern adventures, but take a gander at the entity on 14. That’s enough to praise the artist’s skills alone. The final page is a full paged splash and it shows Hal back in action. It’s a perfect match for the text and is just the right image to show Lantern fans that “All will be well,” to quote another character. Overall grade: A+  

The colors: Making the power of Sciver’s pencils come to life are the colors of Jason Wright. Lantern books just don’t work unless the colorist can create magical blazes of power with a lantern’s constructs or energy blasts. The darkness of space is ripped from its silence by the yellow blasts from Warworld, which is absolutely horrific with its glowing Sinestro Corps emblem on its surface. The pasty pink skin of Sinestro shows the reader that the character is not as healthy as he once was, while his gray hair confirms his age. The greens used to show Hal in his light form are perfect; they match his state and maintain an unearthly tone for the character. Helping show the variety of worlds that the lanterns travel to, Wright uses very different colors for each characters’ backgrounds. The pages that show Hal returning to his former self are awash in green, but not drowning or overwhelmed by it. Wright uses every different shade imaginable in emerald to give texture and tone to what Hal is doing. It’s a terrific job. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dave Sharpe creates scene settings, sounds, dialogue, story title, book’s credits, screams, character identifications, an iconic oath, and the tease for next issue. The sounds increase the drama of this issue as they boom across a panel or page. The oath is yelled by one individual, and when he does it will echo through a fan’s mind long after the book is over. Sharpe is always successful when he works on a Lantern book. Overall grade: A

The final line: A successful summary and rebooting of Hal Jordan. Past stories are preserved in the timeline, while new ones can now be told. It’s ring-slinging time. Let’s go! Overall grade: A

To find out more about this book and other books featuring Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps go to http://www.dccomics.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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