Thursday, 28 February 2013

Green Lanterns Light Part Two

Green Lantern: Rebirth
Green Lantern Rebirth begins with Kyle Rayner returning to Earth in a spacecraft, violently crashing down at Highway Hill in New Mexico.  A pair of hiker investigate the wreckage to find the injured hero who tells them to warn people that ‘It has a name’ before falling unconscious.  We then see that his ship contains a very special cargo, the coffin of Hal Jordan.  His ring begins to repeat one word over and over again ‘Parallax’.

A series of strange events all begin to unfold, pointing towards Hal Jordan, whose spirit I now joined with the powerful mystical entity The Spectre.  Hal Jordan pronounced judgement on one of his old villains, Black Hand, and burns one of hi hands to ash.  Guy Gardner’s new shape shifting ability goes out of control and causes an explosion that destroys his bar but leaves only one item untouched, a statue of Hal Jordan.  Coast City, long since destroyed, appears to return out of nowhere with the only building being Hal Jordan’s home.

Disturbed by these events the Justice league track down and confront Hal Jordan, who insists that he is not responsible for theses events.  During the confrontation John Stewart appears to go insane and attack the rest of the league.

Hal Jordan’s old Green Lantern ring that he had given to Green Arrow for safe keeping duplicates itself and flies onto the finger of the dieing Guy Gardner, healing him and making him a Green Lantern once again.  He then falls under the same influence that has affected John Stewart and goes insane. 

Kyle Rayner is only just recovering when he is attacked by Kilowog, a Green Lantern from another sector who is acting as strangely as the others.  Saved just in time by the Guardian Ganthet he is told that he must protect Hal Jordan’s body whilst Hal himself has to battle for his soul against both the Spectre and the entity Parallax.
Hal Jordan resurrected.

Green Lantern Rebirth was the very beginning of Johns’ run on Green Lantern and reintroduced a number of characters to the Green Lantern universe. Not only does he make Guy Gardner a Green Lantern once again but he also brings Hal Jordan back from the dead.

The only problem he faced, however, was the fact that Hal Jordan died a villain.  Yes, hi death was a self sacrifice to save the Earth and he had since joined with The Spectre and was trying to make amends for what he had done, but how do you go about forgiving a character that killed many Green Lanterns, destroyed the Corps and even at one point tried to unmake the universe?

Easy, it wasn’t really him.  Johns took the idea of Parallax, the name Hal took on when he turned evil, and made it into something greater than it had ever intended to have been.  Johns introduced the idea that Parallax was in fact an ancient living entity of fear, the enemy of the Green Lanterns that was long ago imprisoned in the Central Power Battery on Oa.

By having Parallax possess Hal, something that even went so far as to explain why the character had started to go grey at such a young age, he made Hal just another victim of Parallax.  Though he still had a long way to go to prove himself in the eyes of some of the other characters Hal Jordan was alive again and mostly redeemed. 

Green Lantern Rebirth not only established the concept of the Emotional Entities, but brought back the all time classic Green Lantern Villain Sinestro.  Easily explaining away his apparent death almost a decade before as part of Parallax’s plan to control Hal Jordan Sinestro was now back to wreak havoc on his arch nemesis.

Green Lantern Rebirth is the perfect example of how to take what has come before, the good and the bad, and use it to create something so much greater than it ever had been.  Johns easily integrated the previous stories and established something that would go on to be the foundation of one of thee greatest runs in comic history.
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge
With Hal Jordan returned from the dead Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are summoned to Oa by the Guardians of the Universe to help to rebuild the Green Lantern Corps.  Charged with helping to train the new recruits.

Across the universe the newly forged Green Lantern rings search out those that can serve the Corps.  Among the new recruits are Korugarian surgeon Soranik Natu, Ranninan soldier Vath Sarn and Thanagarian Saurian Isamot Kol.  During the recruitment drive Ganthet tells the Earth Lanterns that several Green Lanterns have been killed by the sudden and inexplicable appearances of black holes. 

Disgusted with being chosen to be a Green Lantern, due to her planets history with Sinestro, Soranik Natu quits the Corps.  She leaves Oa, using her ring to fly her home before eventually giving it up to find a new bearer.  On her way back to Korugar a black hole opens up and swallows her.  Once she awakens she finds herself in some unknown location, surrounded by giant webs and the corpses of several Green Lanterns. 

Picking up a distress signal sent out by her ring the others set out to find and rescue her, but end up stumbling across a much larger plot that not only threatens the Green Lantern Corps but could go on to destroy Oa itself.
Soranik is chosen by a Power Ring.  Much to her dismay.
Green Lantern Corps Recharge is a great follow on piece to Green Lantern Rebirth, taking what the other book had done and using it as a spring board to bring back the Green Lantern Corps. 

The book introduces a number of new characters that would go on to be a major part of the Green Lantern universe over the following years in the form of Soranik Natu and mismatched sector partners Vath Sarn and Isamot Kol.  Despite the fact that the book is only five issues long and deals with other characters the three new additions to the cast each has their own moment to shine and are given enough insight and back story that you know exactly who they are and what drives them.  Recharge also reintroduces a number of classic Lanterns into the new series including Brik, Stel, Green Man and Salak. 

The villains of the piece, the Spider Guild, are effectively creepy and menacing and their insect like society and swarms of soldiers mean that the Corps have plenty of enemies to fight against, ensuring that the action never gets boring.

Despite being a team book Recharge is Guy Gardner’s moment to shine through.  When the Spider Guild attacks Oa and all hope seems lost its Guy that stands up and leads the Corps to victory.  With a rousing speech, a deep love for the Corps and a refusal to loose Guy tips the balance and wins the day, with even Hal Jordan following his lead during the battle.

Perfectly bringing back the Green Lantern Corps and showing us that Guy Gardner is by no means the nasty character he was once portrayed as but a true hero with a heart of gold that just doesn’t like to show it Recharge is an amazing piece of work.

Green Lantern: No Fear

Green Lantern: No Fear marks the start of Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern as an ongoing series and this first volume contains two main storylines.  The first story deals with the rebuilding of Coast City and Hal Jordan trying to get his life back on track after being dead for so many years. 

Having moved into the mostly deserted Coast City Hal is once again an Air force pilot at Edwards Air Fore Base.  Hal is trying to juggle his new job with the responsibilities that come with being a Green Lantern.  Unfortunately for him his two lives clash when a new and deadly form of Manhunter arrives on Earth searching for the remains of a damaged Manhunter that is being held in the custody of the Air Force.

Hal fights the upgraded Manhunter and narrowly avoids a second destruction of Coast City.  However, his public victory over the machine shows people that Coast City is under Green Lantern’s protection once again, encouraging more people to make Coast City their home.
Hal fights for his life against the Manhunter robot.
In the second storyline reintroduces the classic villains Hector Hammond and the Shark, who have become embroiled in the dastardly schemes of a band of vicious alien scientists that have been experimenting on humans.  Having to fight these new aliens, along with The Shark and Black Hand Hal has to save Hector Hammond from being dissected. 

This second arc, though in some ways a throw away story, carries on with the story of Black Hand that began in Green Lantern Rebirth.  Given a new hand by the alien scientists that has the ability to draw the life force from his victims it begins a story that would go on to play out in some of the major points in the coming nine years of Green Lantern.
Hal battles the monstrous Shark.
Green Lantern: No Fear is a fine beginning to the ongoing Green Lantern series and reintroduces some of the classic villains from the previous forty years as well as setting up plots that would play out over the coming story arcs.  

It also nicely establishes Hal’s civilian life, both his relationship with his younger brother and his family, who know that he is in fact Green Lantern, and his work life.  A book with some great character moments and amazing action sequences.  A great start to the new era of Green Lantern.


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