Finishing out the first week of DC’s Rebirth reboot, today I am looking at Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1.
First, no, that’s not a typo. This book stars 2 Green Lanterns, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz. Hence “Green Lanterns.”
The book starts off with some typical Green Lantern shots of outer space with narrative caption boxes over it. Then, we are shown a Guardian running form a horde of Dominators with a box they are after. The Guardian turns back onto his pursuers and opens the box and unleashes a rainbow of energy that forms a new symbol(?). In case you missed it, that’s foreshadowing.
I quit reading Green Lantern about 6 months before Geoff Johns left the main title. I really enjoyed his run and thought there were some great stories that came out of that. My big complaint though was the constant in-fighting between the color factions that he established. It makes sense that the Green Lantern Corps would face off against the Sinestro Corps and the Red Lanterns, etc. However, when that’s all their fighting against, it really undermines the Corps as a whole. When are they stopping criminals throughout the galaxy? When are they dealing with anything other than other Lanterns? It makes them less heroes and more perpetrators of what would be an unnecessary arms race.
So, when they hint that there is some new aspect to this rainbow war, it really puts me off. This is the kind of thing that lead to me dropping the book to begin with. I’d be more interested in some new universal threat or introducing a new intergalactic crime syndicate. Some kind of foe the Corps was created to thwart.
Moving on to Earth, Simon Baz is home scrubbing graffiti off of his sister’s garage. A shadowy, government figure shows up that I assuming is Baz’s parole officer. I’m not really sure who he is. He seems to be a supporting character from the previous volume. Here his role seems to be getting the reader up to speed on Baz’s backstory. Baz is then called away by his power ring.
Then, we are introduced to Jessica Cruz. She is attending her sister’s soccer game. Her sister seems to be filling the same role as Baz’s mystery man. During this, she is also called away by her ring.
Arriving in the Arizona desert, Cruz discovers a crashed spacecraft. There she comes across Simon, also called to the craft. They introduce themselves and the craft explodes revealing a Manhunter. The Manhunters were the robotic predecessors to the Green Lanterns. I always like when the Manhunters make an appearance. They represent a failure of the Guardians and are a reminder to the Green Lanterns that their masters are fallible. Plus, for a force that was as prevalent as the GL Corps is now, it would be too convenient to sweep them under the rug and not have any strays show up now and then.
The rookie GLs attack the Manhunter, but are defeated by it. Hal Jordan appears and reveals to the duo that the Manhunter was a test prepared by him. After the pair make excuses for their performance, Jordan orders them to retrieve their power batteries. Hal takes their lanterns and fuses them into a single one, forcing them to now work together. This is a neat idea and I think is the first time this has been done in Green Lantern. It makes sense too that since these things have unlimited power, it shouldn’t de-power the Lanterns using it.
Jordan tells them that he is needed at the far end of the universe. BTW, does that make sense if the universe is ever-expanding? Whatev. The point is these 2 new Green Lanterns are being tasked to watch over Earth and the 2814 until Hal returns. Since the Corps will not be around to help them, he tells them that the Earth-based Justice League will.
Hal takes off from the Justice League Watchtower (is it still called that?) into deep space. The scene then shifts to an inhospitable planet. There we see Atrocitus and some of the other Red Lanterns sitting on a pile of skulls. Duh, duh, DUH!
Ok, so there are some things I definitely don’t like about this issue. I’m tired of GLs fighting differently colored Lanterns. It’s kind of racist when you think about it. The inclusion of the Guardian’s magic box and the Red Lanterns at the end show me that more of this is to come. You have a UNIVERSE of potential here. How about some new villains for this new series?
What I do like are new Green Lanterns. For me, Hal Jordan has always been the weak link of this concept. Like similar franchises with a really colorful supporting cast, here, the main character is kind of dull by comparison. Masters of the Universe is another example of this. Hal is the least interesting of the Earth GLs. If he wasn’t the first one in this iteration of the concept, he probably wouldn’t be around anymore. He surely wouldn’t be the main focus of it.
I’ve felt for years that a Green Lantern Corps book with only alien Lanterns would be pretty good. There are so many of them out there that we never see. Why not do a book that features these other heroes? Don’t tell me that no one would buy a book starring Killowog. Relatable doesn’t automatically mean human.
Giving me a book with Green Lanterns instead of Hal Jordan is intriguing. Forcing them to work together seems like a concept with legs. This is a real incentive for me to continue picking up this book even with my other reservations.
This one is written by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries, who is going to continue onto the series. I’m assuming this is a sort of passing the torch like Scott Snyder and Tom King on Batman: Rebirth. The art is split up between Ethan Van Sciver and Ed Benes who will be sharing art responsibilities on the bi-weekly book. It really feels like Van Sciver got first pick on which pages he wanted to do in this issue. Most of the important, key pages are done by him. I would hope that that would not be the case in the regular title. Rather, they alternate issues instead of not allowing Benes the chance to shine on this.
Ultimately, I’m interested enough in this concept to continue picking up this book despite my reservations. It should be interesting to see how Simon and Jessica get along and work together, or don’t. Though if this run descends back into the rut of “rainbow war”, I won’t be picking it up for long.