Further Reading – Green Lantern

by Alan Rapp on June 16, 2011

in Comics, Top Tens & Lists


If you’re set to see Green Lantern this weekend but would like to know a little more about the character going in, or if by the time you read this you’ve already seen the film but would like to brush up on the character’s history, I’ve got you covered. Here are a few graphic novel selections from a guy who’s been reading about the character for more than a quarter of a century.

Green Lantern: Secret Origin – The most recent retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin story by writer Geoff Johns (from which the move borrows heavily) is probably the easiest transition for those who have already seen the film. The storyline includes Carol Ferris, characters from Blackest Night (a storyline I wouldn’t recommend either for newbies or die-hard GL fans), and weaves in classic characters like Black Hand and Hector Hammond as well.

Green Lantern: Rebirth – Writer Geoff Johns returned the character from the great beyond by crafting a story to explain away Hal’s dark days as a mass murdering psychopath (by creating a separate entity known as Parallax), his death, and his afterlife as the Spectre. It might be a little tricky jumping in here, but aspects of the story that work well included how Lanterns use their rings differently and how much it takes to create complex constructs.

Green Lantern/Green Arrow – It may feel a bit dated but the pairing of Green Arrow and Green Lantern during the early 1970’s by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams tackled storylines involving real world issues such as addiction, racism, consumerism, sexism, corruption, the environment, cults, poverty, and child molestation. If you can get past the strong late 60’s/early 70’s feel it’s worth a look.

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps WarSinestro plays a big part in the new film, as does the idea of the yellow power of fear which could be used as a weapon to battle the Green Lantern Corps. Those wanting more on this type of storyline may want to pick up DC’s big summer event from a couple of years back where Sinestro enlists other villains across the universe into his own Corps for a universe-wide battle take all.

Emerald Dawn & Emerald Dawn II – Hal Jordan’s early days as Earth’s first Green Lantern are retold in two mini-series which reintroduces the characters of the Guardians and Sinestro (as the Lantern chosen to train Hal Jordan).

Green Lantern: Legacy – The Last Will and Testament of Hal Jordan – Another farewell attempt to the character centers around Hal Jordan’s unifinished business and the single object he leaves to his friend Thomas Kalmaku (who also appears in the film). Not the first thing you should pick up, but for those that had to struggle through the Ron Marz dark days it’s a nice attempt to do something good for the character as well as a first step to recreating the current Green Lantern Corps.

Final Night – Final Night isn’t the best jumping in point for the character, but if you’re familiar with the Parallax turn and the fall of Hal Jordan’s character at the turn of the worst comic book writer ever, this is at least a half-hearted attempt to let the character go out in style as Hal Jordan sacrifices himself to stop the Sun-Eater and save the solar system.

Green Lantern Archives – Six hardcover volumes collecting the Silver Age adventures of Hal Jordan’s early days as Earth’s first Green Lantern including appearances by Sinestro, Star Sapphire, the Shark, and the Flash.

Green Lantern Omnibus – Two over-sized hardcover volumes collecting Hal Jordan’s first appearance in Showcase and the first 45 issues of the Silver Age Green Lantern.

Green Lantern: Greatest Stories Ever Told – Think of this as a cheat-sheet to some of Hal Jordan’s more memorable missions over the years. It’s not going to going to help fill in all of the blanks, but it might help wet your appetite for more.

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