I really don’t know how Geoff Johns continues to weave an interesting story out of Hal Jordan’s origin. We've heard it a millions times over, probably at least three times in the current volume of Green Lantern, but by inserting it deep into his run and tying it into the prophecy of “Blackest Night”, Johns’ depiction of how Hal Jordan became a intergalactic cop has been given legs I never thought possible.
Right off the bat book three of “Secret Origin” gives an answer to Hector Hammond’s tie to Carol Ferris, last issue’s cliffhanger. I know a lot of people have raged about how Geoff Johns is incorporating everyone Hal Jordan comes to know, friend and foe, into one neat package as blasphemy, so it is nice to see all their worries shot down in a flash. Yes, Hal Jordan meets Hector right when he becomes a lantern, but guess what? Instances of “it’s such a small world” happen all the time. I can guess about three that happened to me over the course of last week. So it really isn’t that bizarre. Plus, let us not forget this is fiction, where story elements tie together all the time.
After this two page introduction covering the end of last issue, it’s off to boot camp! Jordan is whisked away, coming face to face with Kilowog and the training mud pit. Earlier in Johns’ run we saw Kilowog and Jordan tussle in the pit for kicks, as entertainment for the trainees. So it was a nice touch to see how it all began. My geek factor also peeked when we see Hal use the convened boxing glove, and Ch’p making a much needed cameo. Ever since this “Secret Origin” was announced I prayed to the DC Gods that Ch’p would show his cute, cuddly face, and it seems my prayers were answered. He doesn’t do much, but he's name dropped and that’s all I could ask for from the squirrel that will eventually be run over by a yellow bus.
Speaking of yellow, book three shows the genesis of Hal’s tussle with the color impurity. We see Kilowog school “hotshot” Hal with Lantern knowledge, making a true ass out of Jordan, much to his dismay. We also see a montage sequence with special attention given to Hal trying to best the impurity, stubborn to Kilowog’s advice. However, the best moments in the book come from Tomar-Re’s confrontation with Hal. Policing sector 2815, Earth’s neighboring sector, Tomar- Re has become suspicious about the Earth-man who now bares Abin Sur’s power ring. Johns plays the conversations correctly, giving Tomar a friendly demeanor towards Hal while also straddling the line of resentment for replacing his friend. It’s a partnership and friendship that will build strong, but its foundation rests on murder and intergalactic conspiracies, and for cops at the galactic level, that’s not something to tread lightly. The ending cliffhanger this month isn’t anything mind-numbing or surprising, but neither were the cliffhangers of “Secret Origin” that have preceded it. The hooks come from all the juicy details in the meat of the issues and they definitely have me, hook, line, and sinker.
So that’s the story of Green Lantern #31, so where does that leave us? Oh yea, the art! I don’t think it can be argued who the best superhero artist in the biz currently is. Ivan Reis produced solid work leading into “Sinestro Corps” then proceeded to blow minds with his work on that event, continuing his hot streak here with “Secret Origin”. While the framing on every page is pretty standard, Reis’ facial work and dynamics of rendering flying folk is second to none. No pose looks stiff, no action, unnatural.
Green Lantern #31 is another great addition to an already classic run. The seeds Johns has been planting are starting to come to a head and when you have Ivan Reis depicting all your words, things seems to be in sound hands. It’s a true testament to Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ storytelling abilities to take an age old story and give it that extra shine, making coal once again look like diamond.
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