In many ways, Tom King and Evan “Doc” Shaner had a real uphill battle ahead of them with “Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern” #1. Of all the various members of the Justice League, the ascension to godhood felt the furthest for Green Lantern. So, while King and Shaner do their best to tell the story of what would make Green Lantern become the God of Light, it’s a story that lacks a strong core concept.
The issue does the best it can, coming up with a fun concept about Darkseid’s Mother Box having bonded with the Central Battery on Oa to form something far more dangerous than one might first think. King’s idea of a Mother Box seeking out a replacement wielder in the way a Green Lantern ring functions is an interesting concept, and the merging of two of the strongest artifacts in the DC Universe is certainly cause for some alarm.
Beyond that, though, King’s story is mostly about the temptation of godhood and the sacrifices one makes in order to ascend. It’s not a bad idea, but it feels a little drawn out in places, as we move between Hal Jordan in the present day and glimpses into the past as he grieves for a lost loved one. Ultimately, it comes across as a little too pat and easy in spots, but King certainly does his best with the tough overall concept for the book.
Shaner’s art, which we don’t get nearly enough of, is clean and attractive. I like how the Kirby-inspired outfit for the God of Light is both different from the typical Green Lantern uniform while still being very recognizable as a synthesis of Lantern and New God. The best scenes in the book aren’t the superhero moments, though; it’s those in the church. Shaner draws an archetypal Hal Jordan with a flight jacket and a young face but an older expression. These scenes are beautiful and, while the story in that part feels a little stretched out, Shaner brings them to life with a soft touch that makes them feel welcoming and gentle.
Longtime “Green Lantern” readers will probably be the most amused by “Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern” due to the distinct difference between the conclusion of this book and the infamous “Emerald Twilight” storyline in the early ’90s that cast Hal Jordan into the realm of megalomaniacal villain for years. It certainly can’t be a coincidence to have the two stories veer incredibly close together and then diverge so forcefully. It’s a deliberate, careful drawing of a line in the sand between then and now. If nothing else, it’s a nice note to end “Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern” on, and King and Shaner set up future events in “Justice League” well enough here. I just wish the duo had been given a better framework with which to create the story; the overall constraint keeps it from achieving greater heights.