No this isn’t an interview with Ryan Reynolds as the title might suggest (thats coming next week), this is the story of what happened when I started reading Green Lantern as part of the New 52 a year ago, was completely lost but intrigued and subsequently decided to go back to the beginning of Geoff Johns run on GL in 2004 to catch up!
So like I said my journey with Green Lantern began about 12 months ago with the New 52, and at the beginning it was a somewhat odd experience. I was reading the book, I had absolutely no idea what was going on (Green Lantern didn’t reboot at all with the New 52), I had no idea who (or what in the case of some of these aliens) these character were, but I could still recognise how great it was, does that make sense? Probably not… but it’s what happened. I then made a move to rectify all my confusion by jumping back about 8 years so I could catch up on all of the GL continuity so I could know exactly everything that happened so I could wow my friends with my awesome knowledge. I began at the very beginning of Geoff Johns run, with Green Lantern Rebirth, which in retrospect may not have been the best place. Rebirth is basically tidying everything up and bringing Hal Jordan (and the rest of the GL Corp) back to life and it is choc o full of characters, places and concepts that I had never heard of before, but it is still well written and probably is needed to establish context for the series to follow. FYI I also read all of Green Lantern Corps which is essentially a companion book to Green Lantern following Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner (sometimes John Stewart too) that Peter Tomasi writes, it’s pretty good, even great at times, but it’s not Johns GL.
I love sci-fi and fantasy, specifically I love these fictional universes that amazing creative teams bring to life before your eyes. I’m also a stickler for continuity, I will notice the most minute details and I’ll get pissed off when the writer forgets them later on. It happened with Stargate, it happened with Star Trek and it kinda sucks because it takes me out of the experience. I think that’s a lot of the reason I love GL so much, and especially Johns GL. The universe is just so massive, so vibrant, so alive. The aliens are so unique, locations look spectacular, and this universe, this fictional universe, has an incredible history that Johns slowly unravels before you, all while telling the story of Hal Jordan and equally Sinestro. Batman and Superman essentially have a city each to play with. Green Lantern has the entire universe. But Gotham and Metropolis feel empty most of the time, the people are faceless, the buildings can be generic (i.e. everything in Gotham has gargoyles and everything in Metropolis is square and made of glass) yet despite Green Lantern’s play area being infinitely bigger than either of those I feel I know it more, that I could give you directions from Earth to Korugar then Mogo for a rest before heading to Ysmault. But I couldn’t tell you where the Daily Bugle is in relation to LexCorp Tower. As much as I love all the Green Lantern continuity, the overall DCU continuity was in my opinion at least a mess back then. If nothing else this catch up really makes me appreciate the New 52. I mean fucking hell was shit complicated back then.
The best thing about this read was Sinestro. Plain and simple. He’s just the bees knees. He’s the villain, but as the story progresses you really begin to see he’s not the real bad guy and actually if you were in his position you’d hope that you would do the same thing. In terms of characters, he really blows everyone else out of the water. I was never a big Hal Jordan fan, I was pretty much raised on JLU so I always loved John Stewart, and the live action movie didn’t do much to change that, and to be honest neither does this run. Hal is likable and fun and kinda interesting maybe… but he’s a bit simple. I don’t mean he’s stupid or anything, but he’s just a pretty simple character, you always know what he’s going to do, how he’s going to react to a situation, you’re never going to be surprised by Hal Jordan. Although I do have a theory that Hal is actually very well written, but Sinestro is just written so much better that it makes Hal seem badly written you follow? Or maybe it’s that Geoff Johns has a bit of a habit of making Hal Jordan the end all god of everything over and over again, its like we get it Geoff, you love Hal! Stop telling us every five minutes!
The most surprising thing about this read for me was Guy Gardner in Green Lantern Corps. I used to absolutely hate him and his stupid haircut. I could never understand why anyone would like him. Now, I definitely hate him a lot less, at times I even enjoy him. Which has honestly shocked me. I had read him before, obviously not as much as I have now, but I was never remotely interested in him, but Tomasi writes him rather well. He manages to keep Guy being as obnoxious as ever, but there’s a certain vulnerability to him, which is great.
Geoff Johns run on Green Lantern has been, is being, and will be amazing. You literally have trouble putting the books down, and then after reading Rebirth, and the Sinestro Corps War, and Blackest Night and Brightest Day and it’s still going, The Third Army is happening right now, Johns run hasn’t finished, I think that’s my favourite part about it. Tomasi’s GL Corps serves as the perfect companion piece highlighting all of the things you see a bit of in Green Lantern but want to know more about. If you’re in your early 20s like me and not a regular comic reader chances are you’re going to be more familiar with John Stewart from JLU. That’s great, but don’t be turned off, yes Hal isn’t the most captivating protagonist, but the plots well constructed and this universe is just fantastic. If your looking for a long form super hero story that will keep your interest for months or possibly years to come, Geoff Johns Green Lantern is it.