I tend to read the graphic novels in the library whenever time allows and it has been ages since time allowed. I only recently joined me local library, so there hasn’t been the chance to get round to much as I’ve got into the routine of work and home and all that’s related to that.
One such glimmer of opportunity arose recently and I was able to get me some and it was quite a return to them coming across Green Lantern: Rebirth.
Super heroes are fascinating novel tools to convey interesting elements of the imagination and although they’re not real they really highlight some things about what makes a good story and how that relate with the human condition. Yeah it’s good for entertainment, and I know some people use it for escapist purposes, but as with a lot of art, that is not its sole function.
Green Lantern, among the plethora of heroes with powers is a rather intriguing character. I wasn’t a huge GL fan until a few years ago, preferring Batman and Spiderman. Once I read some of the stories he featured in there was something about him and the concept of his powers that was enough to keep me interested in his exploits.
I enjoy the whole GL mythos and its origins on the planet Oa and how from the Earth perspective the significant GL has been Hal Jordan but others have been given the ring with which to defend the sector. Hal was alright and then got even more interesting when he went loopy following the destruction of his home.
John Stewart is not a bad GL, but still needs a break out story to stand out from the rest of the heroes. Kyle Rayner – up to the point of this story the resident GL – was a good departure from Jordan but in spite of that still suffered from being in Jordan’s shadow. The real break out star whose character I liked because of the anti-hero aspect was Guy Gardner.
The whole GL deal though still centred on Hal and indeed not all that long before this book the entire DC Universe was heavily impacted by Hal as he went seriously mad having seen his loved ones die. The last that had been seen of him was in the form of a even greater super being known as Parallax giving himself to relight the sun.
So the challenge that Geoff Johns was looking to achieve was to bring the Jordan character back. Bringing dead super heroes is a skill if done properly leaves people satisfied and eagerly awaiting future adventures of the character. Done badly and it can leave a bad taste in your mouth about the character. Not sure if the Spiderman clone deal worked through. I wasn’t that big on the Superman is dead and returns deal. I haven’t read about how the Bruce Wayne/Batman persona dead and return as yet. What I can say about whole he’s dead now he’s back again deal is the Johns succeeds better than those others.
The narrative looks at connecting the existing Earth-related Gls in a common cause and how that also brings in JLA onto something they believe is related to Hal. With sightings of him also seeing serious strains on his new persona merged with Spectre and it beginning to fall apart at the seems as the Parallax figure begins to assert himself in the ‘host’ body.
How a good story works is that it respects the key characters and tempts the reader in with joining the dots of how this narrative will be resolved. Not only does this one succeed in that one and introduce some important figures in the GL world, it also ties up some loose ends whilst leaving you excited about where things are developing. The role Batman plays in this story is also really good at looking to energise the John Stewart role and that’s worth checking in itself.
Yeah, the artwork is brilliant – I like that style of art that is clear and not too fuzzy or too abstract – proper comic art. That helps you understand where things are when it comes to taking you through this story.
From there GL has gone onto dominate the DC Universe not too long ago with the various colours coming out to cause war on almost all members of the super fraternity – hero or villain. That theme can be seen in this story as well and for that it’s worth the read in itself.
The main reason why this is a good story, though, is that as well as the art, script and narrative this is a case where the whole is far greater than its parts. Look for the themes of identity, power of the will, acceptance, redemption and belonging in it all and capture it whilst enjoying it as good entertainment. This is a story worth noting in what makes for storytelling the right way.