Friday, 2 February 2018

Green Lantern: Earth One Volume 1 Review (Gabriel Hardman, Corinna Bechko)

Husband and wife creative team Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko give Green Lantern the Earth One treatment - an alternate-world origin - in this fairly decent first volume. 

It’s basically the classic Hal Jordan origin with a few minor tweaks here and there. Hal’s reimagined as an asteroid miner who stumbles across the corpse of Abin Sur, picks up his mysterious green ring and is thrown into the strange world of the Green Lanterns. 

I liked that Hal is written as less of the arrogant douche that he was in Geoff Johns’ run so he’s more likeable a character. I also like that the Lanterns are portrayed as an endangered species, kinda like the Jedi in the new Star Wars movies, so they’re not all-powerful, they’re scattered, and have to struggle to survive - the underdog approach is a refreshing angle. 

And by far my favourite aspect of this book is Gabriel Hardman’s spectacular art. His time working as Christopher Nolan’s storyboard artist on Interstellar as well as on his sci-fi Image series Invisible Republic has given him a good pedigree to effectively pull off the requisite alien landscapes and characters that populate Green Lantern - I can easily see why he got the job. 

That said, I didn’t like some of the other new changes like how the ring doesn’t select its bearer - all you have to do is put it on and voila, you’re a Lantern! No test for honour, suitability, etc. It takes away some of the magic. And once Hal meets Kilowog, essentially the only other character in this book, they go through a predictable and cliched training montage before plodding through the necessary, but still dreary, background of the Lanterns. 

Then there are the dull villains of this story, the Manhunters. They’re very bland bad guys - evil killer robots who enslave aliens for no reason besides that’s what bad guys do! And, like too many Green Lantern stories, it ends with one generic and silly action scene after another. The more restrained first half of the book is definitely better than the second. 

Green Lantern: Earth One, Volume 1 isn’t badly written, it’s just not very interesting. That could be a problem as the Earth One series is at least partly aimed at bringing in new readers who likely won’t be coming back if they’re not excited about the character/concept. And I’m not sure there’s enough fresh material here to make this appealing for more seasoned Green Lantern readers either, so who knows who the audience is for this one? Still, it’s a serviceable and readable origin for the character with excellent art so I’d say it’s not a bad comic overall. Like Hardman/Bechko’s Invisible Republic, it’s good-looking, albeit very middle-of-the-road, unoriginal sci-fi.

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