Written by: Robert Venditti
Art by: Ethan Van Sciver
Publisher: DC Comics
One of only two titles not seeing creative team changes with Rebirth, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps has a lot to live up to. Venditti’s run wasn’t the best received after the critically acclaimed Johns run. With enough distance now between them though and Green Lanterns currently doing very well, can Venditti win back jaded fans? While it’s a little early to tell, this Rebirth special is a solid step towards getting the title back on track.
The story picks up where Venditti’s previous run left off, the Corps missing and Hal having gone rogue with Krona’s gauntlet. For a new reader, this may not seem like an ideal situation to have the leftovers of a previous run, but there’s nothing too out there that new readers should stumble over. In fact, the issue’s plot at times feel a lot like Green Lantern’s previous rebirth. There’s a feel of “things aren’t as strong as they used to be, let’s get our characters back to their top status quo.” It does leave a few lingering questions, I’m unsure why Sinestro looks so much older or why Hal turning into pure will was such a problem and so easily solved, but in the long run questions like these don’t really matter.
What really reminds me of Green Lantern: Rebirth, and in fact the glory of Johns’ run as a whole, is the glorious return of Ethan Van Sciver to art duties. His style just looks so iconic when applied to the Lantern mythos, and stirs up so many memories of greatness. Every moment in the book is giving a grandly epic feel, even at times when the script falters. Every time Sciver draws a Green Lantern book it feels like an important moment, and his art here is far more polished and epic than it was in Green Lanterns. It’s definitely the strongest takeaway from the issue and accounts for a lot of why this issue feels more like the type of Green Lantern comic I love more than the past few years of issues.
- What also helps is Venditti’s much improved handle on Hal Jordan’s character. The past few years have just felt weirdly like fan fiction, with Venditti nailing the “rogue” part of Hal’s character, but none of his heroic qualities. Here though the balance is greatly restored. Hal still acts occasionally irrational, but here in a much more heroic and inspiring way. It’s hard to restrain a “hell yeah!” when reading, with Hal finally being a character we can root for again rather than just being frustratingly immature. After spending so much time regressing the character, I finally feel like Venditti is giving him room to grow. While the rest of the script is nothing to really write home about, with the characterization finally nailed, I’m much more optimistic about the future of the franchise.
Overall, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth #1 may have the worst title in comics history, but is a solid step in the right direction for the franchise. Lessons have been learned from the previous run, and while I don’t want the book to keep looking back to the point of stagnation, there feels like definite room for the book to grow.