GREEN LANTERN #30 4-30-08

Green Lantern 30GREEN LANTERN #30
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Ivan Reis
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

Amidst his duties of rebooting the entire DC Universe with FINAL CRISIS and LEGIONS OF THREE WORLDS, Johns continues to build on the breakneck momentum he started with the SINESTRO CORPS WAR with this latest foray into the history of Hal Jordan.

I was a little put off with this first part of this series. I couldn’t buy into the whole concept of once again serving up a “very special” series recounting the turbulent times of Hal Jordan’s youth prior to becoming a green galactic defender. I wondered if there wasn’t some better way to rewrite history to accommodate the Blackest Night prophecy.

After all in the grand scheme of things, while noteworthy, Hal is but a mere zygote in the infinite history of the Green Lantern Corps. Wouldn’t we be better off with a deluxe soft cover a la “GANTHET’S TALE” to unfold the Alpha of this prophecy as we approach the Omega in regular continuity?

I realized, though, that my problem wasn’t with the fact that this was Hal’s story, it was how the Blackest Night material came across. It didn’t feel like it belonged, almost like I was reading two stories. All of the events surrounding the Blackest Night prophecy felt inappropriately bookended around the events recounting the indelible scars of Hal’s youth. I realize now that Johns was telling things from a linear perspective.

This issue takes the same approach, but it feels more integrated this time around. Rightly so, since this issue focuses on the final fateful flight of Abin Sur before he crash landed on Earth and bequeathed the ring to Jordan (actually the ring does the bequeathing, but allow me some poetic license). It was easier as a reader to buy into the prophecy during this issue, since it was all unfolding on familiar ground.

Speaking of familiar ground, I made the mistake in my last review of comparing this origin tale to EMERALD DAWN. While both titles share certain keystones of the series like Abin Sur crash landing on earth and Sinestro still being one of the most complex villains ever to grace the panel pages, Johns makes one quintessential distinction between “Secret Origin” and its predecessor. EMERALD DAWN gave us the “what happened”, while Secret Origin tells us the “why”.

This is the first time I’ve seen someone delve into the psychology of Abin Sur. Why is he in a ship instead of using his ring to fly? What was his compelling reason to come to earth in the first place? At one point, Abin Sur chuckled at the thought of a human taking on the emerald mantle: “He never thought he would see the day”. With that simple line Johns took an epic moment for silver and modern age fans alike and made it his own with subtlety and unwavering reverence.

Aside from the landing and the deeper explanation about the prophecy, the book follows the rest of the GREEN LANTERN canon a little too faithfully. I was really hoping to see a deeper exploration into the relationship between Hal Jordan and Carol Ferris; after all the two are locked in a passionate embrace on the cover. Also, Carol still felt like a corporate piranha, trying to make a way for women in the workforce by being overly bitchy and bossy. This worked for her in the 80s, but feels a little clichéd n 2008. After Johns’ great characterization of the Jordan brothers last issue I was expecting a similar treatment for Carol, although I’m sure if the story continues to form, the persona of Carol will be fleshed out in next month’s issue.

The art was once again top notch. Reis moves between rendering space and terra firma with deftness and unparalleled detail. I don’t know whose idea it was to have Hal be a limp rag doll when he first gains control of the ring and is learning to fly, but it was refreshing to see this “Greatest American Hero” take on learning to use new powers.

Once again a solid title, delivered by a brilliant creative team. I can only hope that this book remains flawless as Johns’ attention is diverted elsewhere in coming months.

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