It’s fitting that this comic came out the same day as “Captain America” #39. If you include “Green Lantern: Rebirth” in the tally — and you should, because that’s where Geoff Johns’s take on Green Lantern begins — then both series have reached a similar number of issues. Both series demonstrate how well superhero comics can be done by writers and artists at the top of their games. Both series are telling incredibly long stories — stories that will take years to tell — and both series represent the ethos of their respective companies. “Captain America” is a dark look at the individual struggling against the system — it’s a Marvel book through-and-through, with its pathos straight out of Stan Lee and its iconography straight from Jack Kirby. “Green Lantern,” on the other hand, is the quintessential DC comic. It’s brighter, more epic, more showy. It’s about clear delineations between good and evil. It’s that Gardner Fox/John Broome approach to the genre, updated for the 21st century. If you are a DC fan, Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis’ “Green Lantern” is probably one of your favorite comics, embodying, as it does, everything the DC Universe does well: spectacle with a strong sense of tradition.
And that’s what Johns and Reis continue to give us here.
Johns is building an immense story — and even though he seems to be taking a breather from the epic Green Lantern saga that began in “Rebirth,” swept through the “Sinestro Corps War,” and heads toward the promised “Blackest Night” next summer, this version of Green Lantern’s origin that’s currently running isn’t just a fill-in arc. It’s not just Geoff Johns waiting until “Final Crisis” resolves before continuing his big storyline — it’s Johns and Reis bringing their “A” game and filling in the details of Hal Jordan’s past. Details that are important in the larger story. Details that add depth to the characters. Details that matter.
But it’s more than that. It’s a good story. It’s Hal Jordan’s origin done with care and craft. While it’s no “New Frontier” — still the best Green Lantern origin story ever — it’s a very good fleshing out of the emotional underpinnings of the Hal Jordan/Carol Ferris relationship and, in this issue, the Hal/Sinestro one, as well. Ivan Reis continues to produce beautiful work — clear and elegant and controlled. Flashy when it can be, and subtle when it should be.
Like “Captain America,” it’s difficult to rate a single issue of “Green Lantern.” Each issue is good, but the whole is greater than each individual episode. And that’s true for “Green Lantern” #32. It moves the story along nicely. It provides suitable drama in the form of a now-powerful-AND-demented Hector Hammond. It shows the desperation of Carol Ferris as her company begins to slip away. It establishes the powerful arrogance of Sinestro. But all of those things are at the service of the longer story, both in terms of the “Secret Origin” arc and the multi-year narrative Johns has planned. So as a single issue, it’s three-and-one-half stars, but as a longer story, Johns’s “Green Lantern” would rate higher.
“Green Lantern” is the kind of superhero comic you can count on, month in and month out. It’s what an ongoing DC comic should be, and I look forward to it each month.