Reviews: Green Lantern Rebirth

Published on May 19th, 2009

In 1970 DC charged comic book writer Denny O’Neil with revamping the super hero, Green Lantern. In 2004 the DC top brass appointed the same task to comics scribe Geoff Johns. The order was easier said than done: make Green Lantern interesting again. Not only was Johns assigned the task of reviving the shattered Green Lantern Corps., but he also was told to (literally) breathe new life into the man who destroyed the Corps: Hal Jordan, the greatest of the Green Lanterns.

Enter Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Rebirth is a six issue story that re-evaluates who Hal Jordan is as a man, and re-establishes the Green Lantern Corps. as a beacon of hope in the universe. As Johns states in the Rebirth Trade Paper Back, “It’s all tied into Green Lantern mythology, which is what we’re looking to restore. Everything needs to be tied back to Hal Jordan, who he was, is, and where he’s going.” Without a doubt Johns, along with artist Ethan Van Sciver, achieves these goals in Rebirth, presenting the Green Lantern mythos as a character driven sci-fi thriller.


The story begins with Green Lantern Kyle Rayner (Hal Jordan’s replacement after his descent into madness as the evil being Parallax) flying a space ship out of the sun’s core. Rayner’s cargo is the coffin of Jordan, and after crash landing on Earth his ring emits a warning that would alarm even the strongest of the Green Lantern Corps: “Parallax is coming”… Meanwhile, Green Lantern John Stewart tries to convince former Lantern, Guy Gardner, that he misses being a part of the Corps. While the two attend a Red Sox/Yankees game (I won’t reveal who wins here), the previously devastated Coast City suddenly reappears out of nowhere. To make the situation even more bizarre, so does the spirit of Hal Jordan, a.k.a Green Lantern, a.k.a The Spectre, a.k.a Parallax…

Geoff Johns does a great job of adding depth and character to every major player in this tale, touching on how certain characters feel about the potential return of Hal Jordan; is he friend or foe? Johns presents John Stewart as an admirer of Jordan, while Batman serves as his antithesis. Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) makes an appearance in the defense of Jordan, keeping a close eye on his most precious memento; Hal’s power ring. Johns’ sole weak point in the writing is his tendency to use objects as a convention to incite will power into his characters. In Rebirth the object is the jacket of Hal’s father. Later on in the series, it will be Kyle’s attachment to a painting by his mother. While sentimental, it also comes off as a gimmick.

Ethan Van Sciver’s pencils are fantastic. He thinks like a cinematographer as every panel looks like it was pulled from a movie. His clean lines make the people look realistic amongst scenic backgrounds and detailed costumes. The fight scenes are loaded with action, and the battle between Green Lantern Kilowog and the sole surviving Guardian, Ganthet, is particularly awesome. Sciver’s statement about the uselessness of Aquaman doesn’t go unnoticed, and the only out of place shot is when Kyle Rayner attacks an enemy with a giant pencil. Not only does Kyle attack with the eraser side, but he strikes a thinking pose in the heat of battle… it’s awkward. Moose Baumann’s colors are vibrant, and play a major role in this story as color decides ones allegiance to good or evil. Moose’s work shines it’s brightest when Hal Jordan takes on one of his greatest foes; trails of light emit from the combatants giving the scene an appropriate science fiction feel. Inks by Prentis Rollins, Marlo Alquiza, Mick Gray, and Sciver are finely done. Special features in the trade include a forward by Brad Meltzer, a variant cover gallery, Johns’ plot outline, and six pages of story previously published only in Wizard magazine.

While Green Lantern: Rebirth is the perfect jumping on point for new comers to the Green Lantern mythos, it also serves as a worthy tale to long time Lantern fans. Rebirth addresses the past and resolves it, shifting the focus to the future of the Green Lantern Corps. So charge up your power ring and say the oath, because Green Lantern: Rebirth is only the beginning…

Andy Liegl

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