“It’s about time I caused some trouble”
DC’s Rebirth initiative effectively put a temporary halt on Hal Jordan’s adventures, so when writer Robert Venditti once again picked up the reigns of DC’s cosmic universe the first task had to be to begin to establish a new status quo. To set the stage for the future and to begin tying up some of the loose ends while making Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps both accessible to new readers and returning ones alike is no small task and I’m really happy to say that this week’s Rebirth issue does a wonderful job on all accounts.
Sinestro has won the war but the mortiferous cost of coming out on top needs to be paid and as the issue opens we can see just how much of Sinestro’s life force has already been used to pay the piper. For any other being it would be a death sentence but as we all know Thaal Sinestro is no ordinary man and the former Green Lantern who always has plans inside of plans seems to have one more gambit left up his sleeve before shuffling off his mortal coil. Time has surely passed since the end of Cullen Bunn’s run on the Sinestro title which may explain the physical changes in Sinestro and the change of location for Parallax.
Hal Jordan, forever Sinestro’s equal and opposite, is dealing with his own mortality as the effect of Krona’s gauntlet continue challenge his very existence. Continued from where we last saw him in Green Lantern #52, Hal is walking the finest of lines and at risk of losing himself to the emotional spectrum. How Hal deals with the ramifications of his long term exposure to Krona’s gauntlet drives the main plot of the issue, effectively setting him up for the rest of this new series. Rob’s character work is really strong here and it’s great to see Hal Jordan being Hal Jordan again.
Venditti does a great job of balancing both of their stories which serve as the backbone of this issue, positioning Hal and Sinestro for what he has in store for them but also providing glimpses at other characters from the emotional spectrum who no doubt have roles to play in the weeks to come. I won’t spoil any of them here but I don’t think there’s a Green Lantern fan anywhere who will come away disappointed by what we see here. Sure Hal is the main thrust of this particular issue but I have a great deal of confidence that Venditti, helped by having two issues a month to tell his stories, will give all of them their due diligence.
Perhaps buoyed by the optimism that’s become the catchword for Rebirth, Robert Venditti’s script feels somehow lighter and more about overcoming adversity as a means to a positive end and not simply as a way to bridge one crisis to another. There’s one particular line in Hal’s inner monologue about working so that the rest of the universe will see the good in Green Lanterns again that I think does a really good job of reflecting the difference I see in just this first issue. I firmly believe more of this is to come and I’m genuinely excited to see where this book takes us more than any other in DC’s new line.
The issue isn’t problem free, but frankly I’m not sure how Mr. Venditti could do anything as what problems there are come from everything else we’ve read to this point. There is the convolution of continuity here that is pretty much not going to be resolved and readers who’ve been around for a little while are just going to have to accept things and move on. The nagging issue of how Simon could be lost with the Corps one minute and back the next can be somewhat explained away, but failing to let Hal know where they went, and the timing of how Jessica Cruz gets her ring from Green Lanterns who couldn’t possibly have been there during the Darkseid War is simply one particular knot of continuity that’s not going to be unraveled anytime soon.
This issue also must take place prior to Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 based on Hal’s appearance alone. My assumption at this point is that DC, in trying so hard to push the Baz/Cruz book, wanted to make sure that book came out during the big release month to help elevate the profile of Green Lanterns. None of these things are Venditti’s fault and I can’t hold it against him or this issue. I also think DC needs to adopt the practice of moving the ads to the back of their printed editions that some other publishers have. I get that they are trying to promote their new books but for the love of Ganthet the promotional stuff and the snickers ad were disruptive.
Visually this issue is the first of many treats that we have to look forward to. Just three words – Ethan Van Sciver. The man was born to draw this universe of characters and we are blessed to see his work once again grace the pages of a Green Lantern comic. The detail he puts into his work continually amazes me and his work here elevates an already great script to something more. There are two particular splash pages in this issue which really got my blood pumping. There are so many iconic images that have come from Van Sciver’s pencils that his name is synonymous with Green Lantern. Between Ethan’s work and what we’ve already seen of Rafa Sandoval’s preview images I think readers are in for an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the visual presentation of the series. Color is so crucial to a Green Lantern book and Jason Wright does an excellent job in a book that would be easy to over-saturate in green and yellow.
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1 does a fantastic job of introducing both new and returning readers to the new series. Writer Robert Venditti sets the stage for a new kind of Sinestro Corps War, one in which the roles are reversed and the stakes are at an all time high. There’s an enthusiasm from the creative team which is palpable in this issue and I for one am excited for what’s to come from my new favorite book from DC Comics. Ten out of ten lanterns.