Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Green Lantern: Secret Origin review

If you didn’t know already, comics involving Green Lantern are going to take over the world when the new film comes out next year, but if they are anything like Secret Origin and the rest of writer Geoff Johns’ series we are in for an exhilarating ride. This volume actually works well as a standalone story, catching us up with some defining moments in pilot Hal Jordan’s life: how he grew up enraged at the needless death of his father, how he was called to become a member of the Green Lantern Corps when a dying alien crash-landed during a mysterious fact-finding mission (building interestingly on a 1980s Green Lantern Corps story by Alan Moore), and how this led to his first meeting with the powerful Sinestro.

Here’s the best news: It’s from the writer/artist team that brought us the superlative re-launch Green Lantern: Rebirth a few years ago – yes, the one with the eye-popping art (and the return of Hal Jordan from, uh, wherever the hell he was). Secret Origin continues that quality with more jazzy, cinematic art from Ivan Reis, which bursts off the page, in what is, once again, a personal story: Yes, there’s even room here to find out a little more about Hal, in some well-realised moments where he comes close to destroying his own personal life by cutting off his family, perhaps provoking us to consider what obligations we have to those around us – and this is all wrapped up in the intrigue of the wider fate of the Green Lantern Corps.

Writer Geoff Johns effortlessly updates the character’s past by delving into Hal’s relationships with his family and co-workers, and purists will note he tweaks a few things here and there – mainly by upping the action. Johns even takes the opportunity to sow the seeds of a new threat which appeared in the huge comics event Blackest Night recently. And, considering Sinestro’s villain status in the current DCU, it’s fascinating to see him teaching Hal the ropes as they take on various perverse evils – enemies which seem to be linked through a chain of events to that noble, dying alien.

Although fans might wonder why superstar writer Johns is spending so much time on the past, this story is one that deserves to be so expertly updated. If you’re a fan of superheroes you’ll lap this one up.

(You can pick this up monthly now in a UK Collector's Edition magazine from Titan called "DC Universe Presents". It's bundled with the Geoff Johns' 2010 re-launch of the Flash and also a classic JLA story called Earth 2 from one of my favourite writers, Grant Morrison. Seeing Batman meet his parallel universe counterpart is a highlight. If this doesn't tempt you, nothing will!)

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