Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke
There have been several ring-bearers over the decades, but for many comic readers Hal Jordan is ‘our’ Green Lantern and always will be. And yet here with this first collection of The New 52 reboot of GL Hal is a civilian once more. And he’s not dealing well with the Guardians rejecting him; like a grizzled veteran returning from the wars the everyday life seems too quiet for him; he has trouble holding down a regular job, or managing his relationships, while a part of him still craves the adrenalin rush of heroic action again, even if it means risking his life.
But he’s not a superhero anymore, just a man and one making a bit of a mess of trying to live an ordinary life at that. As we first see him he’s broke, behind on the rent and making a mess of patching things up with his girlfriend. But the instant he sees trouble he leaps instantly into heroic action, leaping from his apartment window to smash through a neighbouring window where he saw a huge, hulking man threatening a woman. Powers or not, he’s still the hero… Except sadly he’s just literally crashed into a film set, as he realises when he sees the cameras behind the ‘villain’. Johns manages to cleverly make two points about Hal with this one, short scene – that he is by his nature heroic, it isn’t just about having powers (or not), but he also makes it clear that he is too impetuous and this is something we see more of later, that he will dive straight in, reacting, perhaps, rather than acting, not always the best course of action in an emergency.
But while the Guardians may have ejected Hal from the Corps, they have now forced Sinestro to swear his oath once more. Why would they want one of their former best GLs who then became one of their most implacable foes, a man who has killed other GLs, back in the emerald suit? And why when Ganthet raises the sole objection to this course of action do the other Guardians turn on him? Sinestro has claimed that the Guardians are not the seemingly impartial force for good they have claimed to be, that they have a hidden agenda of their own, and perhaps this hero turned villain (and now perhaps forced to be reluctant hero again?) was correct, but if he is what are the implications for the Corps and indeed the galaxy if the Corps own Guardians can’t be trusted?
“Why the Hell did you come to me?”
“Because, as surprising as it is even to me, I can trust you. Especially since I control the off switch on your ring.”
Pondering the Guardians’ move and also determined to free his own homeworld, which has been terrorised by the Yellow Corps he himself set up (ironically to protect it), Sinestro finds himself turning to Hal Jordan as the only one he can trust to do the right thing. Some of that is down to an almost addiction – Hal has been a superhero and being an ordinary man now he is suffering a sort of powers withdrawal symptom; he craves the ability to be a GL once more almost like a drug. But it’s not just that, it’s also because deep down a hero is what Hal is, someone who will step up and take on the odds, to do the right thing, protect the innocent, even when he has no powers.
And so Sinestro dangles a power ring before him in return for his aid. But can either of them trust one another? And assuming they succeed what happens next? And what are the Guardians scheming in secret? And say Hal accepts the ring and aids Sinestro, will he be allowed to remain as a Lantern afterwards, or is this just a one-off? And how will this affect Hal himself, a man trying hard to live an ‘ordinary’ life again? If he loses the Corps again can he adjust? Can he really kick that craving and settle into life, work and a firmer relationship with his girlfriend Carol? At one point he tells her it’s fine, that part of his life was amazing, but now it is over and he’s okay with that, he doesn’t need to be Green Lantern anymore. But is he lying to her – and himself? And more to the point will he have any say in the matter with Sinestro back on the scene?
It’s a terrific opening to the New 52 take on the Green Lantern and, with the cosmic scale that comes with the GLs, it also offers up a wide-screen slice of science fiction, planet-hopping, alien Corps bashing fun with that superhero action that’s hugely enjoyable and leaves you wanting the next chapter.