Publisher: DC Comics
Released: January 25th 2017
Issues: Green Lanterns (Rebirth) 1-6
I’m not sure if there was a preferred order of reading, when it comes to the Green Latern volumes coming out for Rebirth. I started by reading through all that’s out for Hal Jordan and the Green Lanterns, and now here I am. I think based on what I saw they could be read in either order, but for me going from an established character to a couple of new characters was refreshing.
Green Lanterns focuses on two rookie Green Lanterns from Earth (AKA Sector 2814). Obviously there’s a settling in period, as readers get used to new characters. Even after all the characters that have been introduced over the years, it still feels funny when there’s a new one (probably because I’m so used to characters like Hal and Kyle). The artwork is without doubt on par with what I’d expect for a green lantern series; crisp artwork with bright and vibrant colors. Though there were some style choices some may find odd, more on that later.
Green Lanterns Volume One took some risks, and while they did received flak for said risks, I respect them for the attempt. I’ll start with the most visual risk first: the chosen portrayal of the Red Lanterns. It’s a different style than we’ve seen in the past, but it also alludes more effectively to what the red ring actually does to its hosts, so I’m actually ok with it. Many fans were not though, and found the whole thing to be silly. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.
You’re probably wondering what the other risks were, and they were also pretty obvious. Unlike a lot of risks being taken in the comic world right now, the authors behind Green Lanterns made no attempt to hide theirs. The two new Green Lanterns, Simon and Jessica. They are just so very different from other Green Lanterns we’ve seen. Personally, I absolutely love that fact. I like the idea of the Green Lantern corps being made up of people like us. People with backstory and flaws. People who are just so exceedingly human.
Simon’s ring came to him while he was in prison. And not just any prison either; the hell on earth type of prison. It’s made clear to us right from the start that the charges Simon faced were all false, and that the only reason the American Government even dropped those charges is because he’s now a Green Lantern. At first I assumed it was because they didn’t want to tick of the GL Corps, but apparently I was being a bit too naive about that one. They want him to rat out the GL Corps. So basically a sticky and frustrating scenario all around for Simon. There’s no way of sugarcoating what happened to him, or what the government is currently putting him and his family through. It’s a bold move, and I can’t wait to see where they go with it.
Jessica’s backstory isn’t as dramatic sounding as Simon’s, but I actually think hers was the bigger risk. Jessica has anxiety, to the point where she literally hadn’t left her apartment for three years. It’s actually pretty thought provoking – the idea of a Green Lantern ring picking somebody like her. The ring saw something in Jessica that she was incapable of seeing in herself. Throughout the entire volume Jessica struggles violently with her anxiety. I’ll admit I was a bit conflicted about Jessica’s struggles at first. Why are they making her appear so weak (I am not saying having anxiety is a weakness – I’m pointing out the fact that they kept having her hide or fail to create constructs). Why is it a woman that has anxiety? But I decided to let those concerns go and just enjoy the plot. I’m actually really happy I did it too – seeing all of Jessica’s struggles and weaknesses just made you realize how strong she can be when it’s all up to her. It makes you appreciate and respect her that much more. As somebody with mild anxiety I found myself truly touched by their representation of Jessica. The redeeming moment for her character was truly beautiful, and one that should be witnessed firsthand, rather than simply described in a review.
Ironically the plot itself was pretty weak in comparison to the characters development occurring. This was likely done on purpose, so as to give the characters time to settle into their roles and for us as readers to get used to them. The problem with this, of course, is that by doing a slow introduction you run the risk of boring or losing your fans. I’ll admit I personally didn’t feel bored at all – the Red Lanterns are plenty threatening when up against trained Green Lanterns, so one can imagine how rough it’d be for newbies to fight them. I do think that a slightly smaller villain may have been more appropriate, but that’s just personal preference. All that being said – I think the imagery of “1,257 humans infected with rage” will stick with me for a while.