If there’s one DC Comics hero that’s best known for his association with the term “rebirth,” it’s Hal Jordan. After all, the character has been removed from the role of Green Lantern more than once, but he always returns; in fact, this isn’t even his first comic to feature that word in the title. Like 2005’s “Green Lantern: Rebirth,” Ethan Van Sciver pencils Hal’s return to his most famous role, as recent “Green Lantern” scribe Robert Venditti puts Hal back in costume. “Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth” #1 is a space-faring delight that spans the scope of the current mythos, while putting things back the way many Green Lantern fans felt they always belonged.
Venditti’s story genuinely feels epic, despite the fact he has only twenty pages to work with. The issue spans through the franchise’s roster and across the galaxy, touching on the stories of the far-reaching cast as well as the way they’ve been impacted by Hal’s actions. There’s almost a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby sense of grandeur to all of the various elements showcased within the issue, which reads like a classic summer annual that’s just a little more special than the average issue.
Van Sciver and colorist Jason Wright make almost every page feel like it’s part of something grand; they rarely need more than four panels per page to communicate the vastness of Venditti’s story. The story’s expanse requires large illustrations — and a lot of them — and Van Sciver and Wright beautifully step up. The cosmic desolation shown on the first page is gorgeously (if paradoxically) structured and colored, and the arrival of Warworld carries a Death Star-like sense of gravity. Van Sciver textures the surface of the planet to look desolate, yet the clouds that float above it carry a kind of dark beauty.
The characters are all precisely rendered as well; Sinestro looks every bit the withered conqueror that Venditti purports him to be, and Wright holds back on his crimson visage, giving him an appropriately worn and pale appearance. Before his reclamation of his traditional role, Hal himself is given a ghostly, ethereal look, and — once his reclamation is complete — Van Sciver ensures that he looks as heroic and iconic as ever. There are five separate full-page renderings of Hal, and that’s just fine, thanks to Van Sciver’s execution of the character.
To be fair, not a lot happens in the issue, but Venditti and Van Sciver just make it too spectacular for readers to care about that. Venditti’s script tells readers to be patient as he plants the seeds for what’s to come — and what he sets up here holds promise. Readers will get exactly what they want out of “Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Rebirth” #1 and, likely, the series to follow.