Rebirth of a Hero

by Alan Rapp on July 18, 2007

in Comics

  • Title: Green Lantern: Rebirth
  • Comic Vine: link

Green Lantern: Rebirth

In late 2004 the state of the Green Lantern was a mess.  Ron Marz’s (also known as Satan in many comic book circles, and rightly so) ill-conceived “Emerald Twilight” storyline, which turned one of the greatest heroes of the DC Universe into a murderer, had destroyed the legacy of the old comics, killed off the Green Lantern Corps, and left one new and unproven Lantern, Kyle Rayner, to carry the franchise.  Hal Jordan became a villain, then later died in a final heroic act before returning as the Spectre.  It was a mess.  DC, wanting to undo what it recognized as one of the biggest mistakes in its 70+ years of operation, turned to Geoff Johns to fix what Marz had screwed-up a decade before and return Hal Jordan and the Corps to the stars.

Kyle Rayner returns to Earth with the body of Parallax.  Elsewhere the Spectre seems to be losing control and the heroes of the DCU gather together to once again stop a man who was once one of their own only to find others with power rings in their way including Guy Gardner, Kilowog, and John Stewart, and the last of the Guardians of the Universe, Ganthet.

As the Spectre deals with the forces inside himself, several issues are made clear.  Parallax is itself an entity, a fear-based parasite long ago imprisoned by the Guardians inside the Central Power Battery (thus giving the rings an impurity to yellow).  The Spectre can no longer contain the energies of Parallax and releases him and sends Hal Jordan’s spirit on to a final resting place.

But with the return of his body, and Olliver McQueen powering up Hal’s old ring, Jordan finds himself returned to the land of the living.  Our hero unites the Lanterns against Parallax and Sinestro, who is responsible for sending Parallax after him, stopping for a second to coldcock Batman when he gets in his way.

Johns does a wonderful job in merging all the different story threads into a coherent whole.  He also adds the depth and history of the Corps by explaining Parallax, the impurity, and why Green Lanterns need to be fearless.  Somehow it all works, and when Hal Jordan stands up clothed in green and black and tells Sinestro to leave his friends alone we can almost, almost, forgive Marz and the decade of crap that came before.

There are also a few nice tidbits of information thrown in for longtime fans.  Green Arrow uses Hal’s ring and we learn something new – the ring, based on a person’s will hurts to use, every time.  Johns also spends time explaining, through Hal Jordan’s eyes, how each of the Lanterns use their rings differently, which is quite illuminating (pun intended).

Johns didn’t just bring back Hal Jordan, but returns other familiar Green Lanterns (including Guy Gardner) who will make up the base of the new Green Lantern Corps.  Not to mention giving Hal a great moment of glory in knocking Batman to the ground (and Gardner an ever better moment afterwards).  This is the Hal of old, the cocky gunslinger, who we are also reminded of in flashbacks to his first meeting with Sinestro years before.  In the final battle against Parallax the Lanterns follow Hal into battle once more, which ends in the familiar words of Green Lantern fans everywhere…

 

“In brightest day,
In blackest night,
No evil shall escape our sight,
Let those who worship evil’s might,
Beware our power,
Green Lantern’s Light”

The five-issue mini-series is available in a hardback volume [$24.99] and an, easier to find, trade paperback [$14.99].  Included in the collection are an introduction by Brad Meltzer, cover art from the series, and a look back by Geoff Johns on the planning of the series.  A must have for Green Lantern fans anywhere, the book returns one of the brightest lights to the DC Universe.

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