Saturday, 17 December 2016

Green Lantern: Rebirth Review (Geoff Johns, Ethan van Sciver)

In 2004 Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern wasn’t selling so DC decided to get Geoff Johns to reinstate the original Silver Age Green Lantern, Hal Jordan, as the main dude. Green Lantern: Rebirth is the book where it all went down - and what a sucky, overrated comic it is! 

This is an example of the writer/publisher having an agenda rather than a story because the main purpose of this book was to have Hal Jordan back as Green Lantern which Geoff Johns clumsily accomplishes but forgets to write much of an accompanying story. 

Back in the early ‘90s when Hal was given the boot, he was turned into the villain Parallax and went on to kill lotsa peeps. Johns retcons this idea by saying Hal was a puppet of Parallax - Hal never killed anyone, the evil spirit that possessed him dunit! A few years later DC made Hal The Spectre because whatever the hell. Johns deals with this problem by having the Spectre arbitrarily decide to leave Hal and join with someone else, leaving him open to becoming Green Lantern again. All very convenient, eh? 

And it goes on like this. What are Ganthet, Sinestro, Parallax, and notable members of the Green Lantern Corps suddenly doing on Earth? So Hal can team up with the Corps to defeat Ganthet/Sinestro/Parallax at the end to make it seem like you’ve read a real story. Why did Ganthet bring Hal’s corpse with him? So Hal’s spirit could inhabit it and come back to life. How did Ferris Airfields go from being derelict to a working airfield again? Because Hal is a pilot and the location is an important part of his origins.

Rebirth is one of the most contrived stories I’ve ever read! Things happen not because they make any kind of narrative sense but because Johns needed to put all the pieces back into place. It’s such a clunkily put-together pseudo-story and one of Johns’ most poorly written hack jobs. 

Hal’s origins and history are explained a bit so new readers can get up to speed on the character but the amount of backstory and characters dredged up is still likely to overwhelm them. Rebirth is where people who want to start reading Green Lantern get directed but it’s not a very accessible jumping-on point. 

Crucially what’s missing is WHY we should be excited that Hal Jordan is back as Green Lantern. Johns doesn’t make a strong case for him at all. Hal just comes off as a guy - nobody really special, not that personable or interesting. But Johns really likes Hal and that’s all that matters - that’s why it’s a big deal he’s returned. Johns also really hates Batman for some reason so writes him like a complete dickhead and even has Hal punch him at one point! Sheesh. Did it make me cheer for Hal? Nope, in fact I wanted Batman to kick the shit out of him instead! 

The visuals are pretty spectacular and full credit to Ethan Van Sciver for his work on this book but that’s a small consolation for what is a thoroughly terrible comic. With Green Lantern: Rebirth, Geoff Johns awkwardly maneuvered Hal Jordan as DC’s main Green Lantern once again but failed to do so in a memorable or coherent way, totally lacking both style and substance.

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