Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GREEN LANTERN (New 52) #1 Reviewed!

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artists: Doug Mahnke (pencils) & Christian Alamy (inks)
Publisher: DC Comics

“This ring chose you to once again become a member of the Green Lantern Corps.  After your betrayal, most would call that act heresy.  But we do not.  We see this for what it truly is.  A chance at redemption.” – Guardian to Sinestro

I really wanted to like this one.  For years, Geoff Johns was the guy I could depend on to resonate with me as a reader.  He really “got” Hal and Green Lantern as far as I was concerned. I was not only on board with his introduction of the other colored lanterns, I thought (and still do) it was simplistically brilliant and opened up avenues for stories in the longterm. However...somewhere between the “Blackest Night” event and now, he lost me. By the time of the “War of the Lanterns” storyline, I realized I had no idea what was even going on anymore with the Lanterns, or Hal, and worst of all...I didn't care anymore.

And I stopped buying GREEN LANTERN.

Yes...I stopped buying GREEN LANTERN.

I've been pretty vocal in my cynical distaste over the reboot-that's-not-really-a-reboot of the DC line, but I've really tried to keep my criticism focused on the editorial and corporate side and give the creative talent their due.  I never want to just crap wholesale on talent who are working, earning a living, and giving their best to try and produce quality stories within the confines of the editorial constraints.  Lots of people are really enjoying the new DC books overall.  At this point, I've only read 2 of them, the JUSTICE LEAGUE and GREEN LANTERN.  Both of them written by Geoff Johns. 
GREEN LANTERN is a better single issue comic book than Johns' JUSTICE LEAGUE.

I can at least say that much.  It doesn't feel like the first issue of a comic, it just feels like the first part of a story in an already ongoing series.  So, I would expect that any newbies who come along will feel mildly out of the loop, but I expect that most longtime comics readers understand how the game is played and will feel like they get all they need to know to follow the story.
Sinestro has become the most interesting character in the entire library of GREEN LANTERN characters...including Hal Jordan himself, so the idea of having Sinestro forced against his will to become the Green Lantern for our Space Sector again and stripping Hal of the ring is actually a welcome change.  Most especially welcome given the fact that some sort of brain aneurysm has apparently occurred in Hal somewhere between GL: REBIRTH, the previous GL #1 and this GL #1 (and we might as well throw JL #1 in there too) and given him brain damage.  The Hal in this comic book is a total idiot. 

No.  I take that back. 

What is stupider than an idiot, but not quite to the level of actually being mentally challenged?  Sub-moronic perhaps? 

I won't even go into it in this review, but the “action” sequence that Johns puts Hal through is just unbearably stupid.  I think it's intended to be funny, but it's really just stupid and paints our “hero” in an especially....stupid (God, I wish I could come up with a better word) light.  Then the exchange between Hal and Carol where he is so incredibly dense and uncouth that even an uncouth lout would be embarrassed?  I really cannot believe what I'm reading.  But, thankfully, we don't get a full-on Trademarked Johns “decapitation”...but we do get a NEAR decapitation of a Sinestro Corps member by Sinestro himself.  I guess that satisfies our decapitation quota for this GL comic. 

The art is competent, but not dynamic.  There's a stiffness to Mahnke's work on GL that has just never rung my bell like, say, the exciting work of Ivan Reis or Carlos Pacheco.  Because of that, the art unfortunately doesn't step in and win me over when the writing is lacking.  I'm starting to think that top-tier artistic storytellers collaborate with Johns to create great works, but when Johns is paired with a merely good, but lackluster, artist that the flaws in his writing start to weigh it down.

On its own, this is not necessarily a bad comic.  When Sinestro is on the scene, I'd give it a B+.  Every time Hal shows up, however, it stinks down into the C- and D range.  If you are a Sinestro fan and you hate Hal Jordan, this is the book for you.  I hope they keep Sinestro as Green Lantern and forget about Hal at this rate.

Look for this and other reviews tomorrow @AICN Comics!

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