Saturday, June 30, 2012

Green Lantern Vol. 1 No Fear Trade Paperback Review

Green Lantern Vol. 1 No FearDC Comics
Softcover Trade Paperback
176 pages
$12.99 (2008)
$24.99 (2006) Hardcover
ISBN 9781401210588

Contributors: Geoff Johns, Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver, Jesus Merino, Simone Bianchi, Darwyn Cooke, Prentiss Rollins, Dave Stewart, Nathan Eyring, W. Moose Baumann, Jared Fletcher, Rob Leigh, and cover by Alex Ross

Reprints: Green Lantern #1-6; Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins 2005

Synopsis: Hal Jordan has been through the ringer.  His home town of Coast City and its two million residents were annihilated by the interstellar warlord Mongul.  Bereft with grief, Hal lost control and single-handedly destroyed the Green Lantern Corps in an attempt to resurrect the city by harnessing the energy from the main power battery located on Oa.  He became the villain known as Parallax and threatened the entire universe.  Eventually he gave his life to restart the sun and save Earth.  It didn't end with his death as Hal became the new host for the wrathful holy spirit The Spectre in an attempt at redemption.  This fusion ended in failure, but later it was revealed Parallax was a separate entity which caused Hal to lose control and he eventually returns to his former life.
Hal Jordan returns as the primary Green Lantern
of space sector 2814
Now Hal is back as the primary Green Lantern for space sector 2814, the Green Lantern Corps is restoring itself on Oa, the government is rebuilding Coast City, and Hal is trying to become a fighter pilot again.  The rebuilt Coast City is a ghost town as no one wants to return to the site of such catastrophic death.  A new breed of Manhunter arrives on Earth with enough power to defeat a Green Lantern.  Hector Hammond is a powerful psychic who was hyper-evolved under mysterious circumstances.  He has a history with Hal and ends up resurfacing to cause problems.  A monstrous shark-creature is killing people off the shore of Coast City (that's gonna help bring people back).  All of these incidents are related and Hal is put to the test in order to solve the mystery.
Hal is brutally attacked by a new model Manhunter in midair.
I don't know why it's weilding a baton, but whatever
Pros: Great cover by Alex Ross, three excellent artists (Pacheco, Van Sciver, Bianchi), Johns sets up the new status quo with a decent kickstart to Hal's continuing adventures

Cons: No Kyle Rayner in sight, Hal is back to status quo with hardly any real change to his character after a decade of major events, bad guys are pretty lame, mostly story setup for later issues, three very different art styles
Hector Hammond looks even more grotesque through
the skilled art of Ethan Van Sciver
Mike Tells It Straight: The long-awaited re-establishment of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern after he spent years away from the role first as the evil Parallax and then as the repentant host of The Spectre.  It's highly recommended to read Green Lantern: Rebirth to get up-to-speed with Hal Jordan's saga prior to this collection.  Those fans of Hal Jordan who rankled at his replacement by Kyle Rayner will eat this collection up!
Hal battles a repowered, deadlier Black Hand
Johns really impressed me by bringing Hal back and earning the acceptance of the die-hard fans in Rebirth.  He continues to write a great Hal Jordan and reestablishes his status quo in this first collection.  I like the way Johns seeds future storylines (like bringing back Black Hand and then using him later in Blackest Night).  I didn't like the set of villains Johns chose here - the Manhunters are pretty static and three issues dedicated to them was too much, spending a whole issue fighting the shark-monster, and the big reveal of the bad guys behind Hector Hammond was kind of a letdown.

The mix of artists was a bit jarring - Pacheco is solid (although I didn't like his Manhunter revamp design - looks essentially the same), Van Sciver was the real standout with his hyper-detailed style, and Bianchi was more whimsical.  I liked the addition of the Secret Files stories to the collection.  Overall a good read with some great setup offset by several mediocre moments/stories.  Not the greatest and not the worst by a long shot.

TO BUY and Recommendations: