Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Carlos Pacheco
Inker: Jesus Merino
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Colors: Moose Baumann
Editor: Peter Tomasi
Publisher: DC Comics
A newly reborn Hal Jordan struggles to find his place as a Green Lantern and a human being. Taking up residence in the urban wasteland that is Coast City, Jordan begins the slow process of rebuilding the shattered pieces of his life. But when he heads to Edwards Air Force Base hoping to be reinstated as a pilot, Jordan comes face to face with his own haunted past and a deadly alien life form that could lead to his destruction.
First off, let me preface this review by stating that Iíve never really been much of a Green Lantern fan. Itís not that I have anything against DCís spandex clad ring-bearer, itís just that as a kid I grew up saturated on the adventures of Batman, Spider-Man, Superman and the X-Men. A comic about a guy running around in tights with a magic green ring never really seemed as appealing as the story arcs with Marvelís merry mutants or some dude with a giant ďSĒ on his chest. No, though it might sound blasphemous to some readers, the sad truth is that Iíve only recently started piecing together the rather sorted history of the DCUís beloved Emerald Knight. It was really Geoff Johnís six-issue Green Lantern: Rebirth series that did it for me. Iíd heard fans ranting and raving about it, some agitatedly foaming at the mouth that Hal Jordan was back, and it was only after a DC obsessed friend of mine went over the complex back story surrounding the various incarnations of the Green Lantern that I decided to give Rebirth a try. And damned if I wasnít blown away. Green Lantern: Rebirth did what every good ďrevival comicĒ (for lack of a better term) should do. It brought back a beloved character to appease (or inadvertently piss off) long time fans, as well as offering a great starting point for comics fans who donít know their ass from their elbow when it comes to the complex mythos of Green Lantern. In short Rebirth was a mind-blowing series, a seminal story made all the more impressive by the brilliant (if not particularly punctual) artwork by Ethan Van Sciver. Fans can either like or hate the return of Hal Jordan, but thereís no denying that Geoff Johnís can write a hell of a story.
But I digress, Iím not here to extol the virtues of Geoff Johnís previous series, Iím here to review its predecessor, the much-lauded Green Lantern #2. The story opens with a reborn Hal Jordan (in his guise as Green Lantern) and Air Force test-pilot Jillian Pearlman discovering that the aircraft she was flying was in fact a proto-type using alien technology, which may or may not have some correlation with the mysterious alien vessel that Jordan and fellow Green Lantern John Stewart, found in orbit last issue. Before Jordan can get an answer however, his long time nemesis General Stone shows up informing him that the aircraft is top secret. With no answers forthcoming, Hal returns to his home in Coast City where he and his brother Jim discuss Halís tortured past. Jim in turn tries to convince Hal to leave Coast City, give up his secret-identity and lead a normal life, but Hal of course refuses, parting ways with his brother and heading back to Edwards Air Force Base to try once more to get his flight status reinstated. No sooner has Hal arrived at the base than a mysterious cargo being transported to the base explodes, and from the burning wreckage emerges a being from the Green Lantern Corps past: the dreaded Manhunters, deadly androids programmed by the Guardians of the Galaxy to protect the Universe prior to the formation of the Green Lantern Corps. In the ensuing battle Jordan takes on the killing machine, and in the moments before the cliff hanger ending, encounters a grim reminder from his own murky past.
Green Lantern #2 is a damn good read. Not only does the story possess the usual amounts of pre-requisite explosions and super hero slug fests that readers have come to expect, but itís a comic with a surprising amount of heart and character to it. The story skillfully blends together not only action, but deals with Halís estranged relationship with his brother and his attempts to make peace with his former life. It is a delicate balancing act between dramaó with emotional depth and characteróand over the top superhero antics, but Geoff Johns manages to pull it off beautifully. Indeed, Johns is clearly a master of his craft, easily one of the most talented comic book writers working in the industry today. Itís a rare talent that is able to give substance to what might otherwise be a fairly formulaic story, but Johns manages to do it, never forgetting that developing his characters and pace is equally as important as having heroes and villains beat the crap out of each other. Artist Carlos Pacheco also does an admirable job working with Johns inspired script, and while his work may not be as detailed or as innovative as Ethan Van Sciver, it still manages to capture the tone and feel of Johnsí world.
In the end regardless of fans feeling towards the return of Hal Jordan, Green Lantern #2 stands on its own as a brilliant story. Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern will undoubtedly be marked by future fans as a pivotal era in comic book story-telling, a brilliant, innovative series that quite literally brings to life one of DCís most beloved superheroes.
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