In this alternate universe tale Hal Jordan is a space miner who find finds a Green Lantern ring that’s running out of power.
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It’s a new spin on the classic story of the Green Lantern. Find out about it as we review Green Lantern: Earth One Volume One straight ahead.
Welcome to the Classy Comics Podcast where we search for the best comics in the universe. From Boise, Idaho here is your host, Adam Graham.
The Earth One novels were launched several years back by DC with Superman: Earth One, and they did actually three different volumes in that series written by J.M.S., the creator of Babylon Five. These stories take superhero origin stories of classic heroes including Batman, Wonder Woman, Teen Titans – and they try and tell their story in a fresh way. It’s nice because as a reader you don’t have to know a lot about the continuity of the character. If you’ve got a general idea of the character you can pick up these novels and get an idea of what they’re about without having to know all the backstory. I will disclose that I did receive a free digital copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
So that said, this book takes the story of Hal Jordan. Instead of, as in the comic book, him being a test pilot he is actually a space miner who comes across the body of Abin Sur as well as his lantern, and he takes Abin Sur’s ring and puts it on and he’s able to wield the power ring, which is good because he’s attacked by a manhunter robot. He fights the robot successfully but he ends up being propelled into space, he’s rescued by Kilowog. In the Green Lantern world Kilowog is a pretty important character, he’s a sage guide. However, in this story, he actually wants Hal Jordan to train him because he assumed that since Jordan had the ring and the ability to wield it he must know what’s going on and be experienced at this, because what has happened is that the guardians of the universe have given up on the Green Lanterns and decided to use the manhunter robots instead, and used them to track down any who have the power ring. And apparently the power battery has been destroyed so their rings have limited power, and so they set off to find any other wielders of the ring to get them to team up to perhaps find some way to stop the manhunters.
Overall this is a good story, it has a couple of things going for it. I think, first of all is the protagonist – the protagonist isn’t quite as arrogant as how Jordan can be, because I like Hal Jordan but sometimes his self-confidence can be almost too far. Here I think it’s a bit more balanced, but what he does have going for him is a great deal of determination to follow this quest, and I think that helps quite a bit. The art is good: it is a bit dark but it reflects some pretty dark places. It’s not grim dark or overly gritty but you’re dealing with backwater planets that are dirty and places in space that are a bit dirty, so yeah, it’s going to have that look and it manages to capture it well. I do hope in subsequent volumes that we’ll see a bit more of the beauty and variety that a Green Lantern story really can feature. The Manhunters are nice fodder[?] but not really fully developed villains, although there is some sense of some sort of treachery or division going on within the Guardians – which has been a pretty common feature of a lot of Green Lantern stories going back to the 1970s.
While I think this story ends satisfactorily enough I did have some questions and some concerns that bothered me: one is pretty much anybody being able to wear the ring and the ring not recruiting anyone, where in the main DC Universe the ring is set forth and goes and chooses a successor. Here it seems to be whoever picks it up, which I think could be explained by the fact that throughout the story the rings don’t have sufficient power. But I do wonder if that’s going to be a thing throughout where whoever just happens upon it gets it, in which case then the Guardians of the universe made a very odd decision in terms of how they set up their corps. And the other thing is…one thing about Green Lantern books is that one thing that’s key at the center of it is the tradition of it, like in any corps or organization. In the end of this Earth One volume we have a corps that may be formed but which doesn’t have any tradition or any leaders as such, although there is left some question as to what direction this is going to take for Hal in a subsequent volume if that ends up made, so it may not involve the corps at all which, I think, would be a shame. So, these are some concerns I have about the future direction of the story.
Overall though I thought it was a decent novel. I will give it a rating of Somewhat Classy. It didn’t blow me away but it certainly intrigued me. It did a good job laying out an origin for Hal Jordan and also setting the stage for future adventures, and I think it’s worth reading even though I’m a little concerned about what some directions they might take. They certainly deserve a chance to show what they have in mind next.
Alright, that will do it for now. If you do have a comment email it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out my website: classycomicsguy.com and follow me on Twitter @ClassicComicsGuy. From Boise, Idaho this is your host, Adam Graham, signing off.