New 52 Review: Green Lantern #1

In a carryover from the old DCU, Sinestro is a Green Lantern again.  Here there be spoilers.

Iann Robinsonby Iann Robinson

Green Lantern #1

Just so you know, I’m going to be spoiling the end of Green Lantern #1. The latest release of the New 52 is so maddeningly mediocre, so frustratingly bad that I figure why not do the kind-hearted thing and tell you how it all ends up?  I do this because the last page of Green Lantern #1 is such a cheap plot trick by writer Geoff Johns that I almost can’t believe he was the band behind Blackest Night and War Of The Green Lanterns. Is Johns pissed because Flashpoint sucked? Is he so wrapped up in the reboot he didn’t see what he was doing? Regardless, Green Lantern #1 is a poor start to a legendary series.

Let me clear one thing up first. In Green Lantern, the world hasn’t really changed. The whole reboot 5-year plan thing is not applicable here. I know. Why is it good enough for Batman and (shudder) Action Comics, but not for Green Lantern? I guess Johns doesn’t want his timeline screwed with. Anyhoo, issue #1 starts out right after the end of the last issue. Hal Jordan has been kicked to the curb, Sinestro is a Green Lantern and the universe is in turmoil. So where is the first chink in the armor of this sloppy and poorly written issue? Let’s start with page one.

Sinestro says the Green Lantern oath. I guess this is supposed to be some kind of dramatic opening but it’s drawn in such a way that it feels more like Sinestro is trying to take a galactic crap. Now we’re into the first wave of what doesn’t work – the Guardians. We’ve watched them nearly wipe themselves out trying to keep their cold and unemotional ways, and yet here Johns has them using a mafia term to explain why they allowed Sinestro to keep the ring. “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Well, that way of doing things is a risk and risk isn’t part of what the Guardians are about, except now because it pushes Johns’ little story along. Did I mention they mind-wipe Ganthet? Yeah, it’s a really awful opening.

My Book Report co-host (and Crave Online Comics Editor) Andy Hunsaker has argued with me endlessly that Hal Jordan is the most boring Green Lantern ever. Well, this issue might just give Andy the firepower to win that argument. Now that Hal is not a Green Lantern, there’s nothing to his character. He’s broke, can’t get a job, about to be kicked out of his apartment, all because he was never home due to having to protect the galaxy. Really? REALLY? I’m supposed to buy this? Bruce Wayne couldn’t toss him a couple of bucks? The JLA couldn’t hook an ex-Lantern up with a sofa on their space station?  Oh wait, maybe Batman doesn’t know Hal because of the reboot, except this isn’t reboot time, but then, wait, um, oh Christ now this sucks and it’s confusing.

So while Hal Jordan has suddenly turned into Steve Martin from The Jerk (I’d give anything to see Jordan walking, pants around his ankles saying “all I need is my Lantern, and that’s all I need”, Sinestro is at odds with the Sinestro Corps. Why? Well, when Sinestro flies back home he finds that the very Corps he sent to watch over it has enslaved his world. Let me see if I have this right. The guy who used the yellow ring to enslave, kill, and destroy whole worlds is mad because his men are doing the same thing. I’m never speechless and I was speechless. Back home, things seem their absolute darkest when (and here’s the spoiler) Sinestro shows up and tells Jordan he can get his ring back if Jordan does everything Sinestro tells him to do.

Oh I get it, now it’s all clear. Johns wrote this unreadable stain knowing that his big cliffhanger splash page would provoke people into buying issue two. It’s just like Flashpoint and this whole reboot idea. Why have a good story, when we can just rope people in with flashy events and twist endings? Green Lantern #1 is a prime example of what happens when a major power in the DC company portfolio goes unchecked.

Even Doug Mahnke is phoning this one in. The art here is boring, so drab and uninteresting I couldn’t believe he drew it. There’s one panel, where Jordan is smiling, that looks like Jordan slipped in Sling Blade teeth. It’s as if Mahnke realized how bad this all was and decided to pencil the story as basically as he could. If you’re new to the Green Lantern mythos, maybe this junk will fly, but anybody who is a long time fan will be bored and more than a little disappointed.