Despite having read numerous comics featuring several Lanterns such as Grant Morrison’s JLA run and Tom King’s The Omega Men, I have never been very interested in reading Green Lantern comics, largely due to feeling so let down by Martin Campbell’s 2011 blockbuster that was both a critical and commercial failure. As part of DC’s Earth One series, this latest installment gives a fresh new take on the origin story of Hal Jordan becoming a Green Lantern, but is it enough to draw in new readers?
During an energy palladium mining expedition on the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, astronaut Harold Jordan discovers a wrecked spacecraft where he stumbles across the corpse of Abin Sur, who possessed a glowing green ring. When Hal takes possession of the ring, he is plunged into the far reaches of space and finds himself in a galaxy ruled under tyranny by the robotic Manhunters, who destroyed the peacekeeping Green Lantern Corps. Whatever is left of the Lanterns, Jordan will try to achieve and reunite the Corps and bring freedom to the galaxy.
From the above synopsis, it does sound like a certain space opera, especially when the Green Lanterns seem to be as endangered as the Jedi whilst the galaxy is ruled by a robotic race that aren’t as menacing as Darth Vader. It shows that Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko are going for a more sci-fi angle than a superhero story as based on. The spectacular art by Hardman, who worked as a storyboard artist for Christopher Nolan’s films including Interstellar, conveys that well. As a story that for the most part never sets foot on Earth, Hardman’s sketchy art showcases a variety of different alien races and their worlds, populated with a bunch of Lantern-illuminated action, which doesn’t go deeply into the hard-light constructs as previous incarnations, but still delivers an epic impact.
As always with the Earth One graphic novels, the creators do change up the mythos of a well-established character, for better or worse. For starters, this Hal Jordan isn’t quite as arrogant as previous versions — not only does he have a more likable persona, but he adds a new shade to his character in why he shows a distrust of his own planet and how this journey through the stars will shape him as both a Lantern and an "Earth-Human" as described as Kilowag, his only trusted companion and fellow Lantern.
Because it takes certain liberties with the mythology of the Green Lantern Corps, this is where it might upset longtime GL readers. Unlike the usual way of the ring specifically choosing someone who is worthy of wielding a Green Lantern’s power, this book shows anyone can just carry a ring and just start projecting beams of light. Although there is an ongoing discussion of how dangerous the power can be depending on who wields it, which does set up a possible future volume, the changes take away an important aspect of the mythos.
As a gateway for newcomers who wish to get into the intergalactic adventures of the Green Lantern Corps, this fresh interpretation is a Star Wars-ish romp that is largely saved by Gabri3l Hardman’s otherworldly art.