BOOK REVIEW: Green Lantern – Earth One, Vol 1

“The newest Earth One original graphic novel presents an all-new origin for the Emerald Warrior! 

Hal Jordan yearns for the thrill of discovery, but the days when astronaut and adventure were synonymous are long gone. His gig prospecting asteroids for Ferris Galactic is less than fulfilling—but at least he’s not on Earth, where technology and culture have stagnated. When Jordan finds a powerful ring, he also finds a destiny to live up to. There are worlds beyond his own, unlike anything he ever imagined. But revelation comes with a price: the Green Lantern Corps has fallen, wiped out by ruthless killing machines known as Manhunters. The odds against reviving the Corps are nearly impossible…but doing the impossible is exactly what Hal Jordan was trained to do! Co-writer/artist Gabriel Hardman (Invisible Republic) and co-writer Corinna Bechko bring us a soaring original graphic novel that takes a radical new look at the mythology of Green Lantern and provides a great entry point for new readers.”

I’m pretty new to the Earth One series (even though it started back in 2010 with Superman), which if you don’t know, is a re-imagining of the origin stories / early tales of the key DC Justice League characters. Whilst some may think the concept to be a little redundant, the opportunity to do something fresh has many possibilities. Now whilst it may be argued that the Superman & Batman versions didn’t deviate too far from their source material, Green Lantern is definitely something different.

In this story, and I’ll try not to spoil anything, Hal Jordan is out in space already, as an engineer on an industrial mining ship (think the Nostromo from Alien). It’s out here in this setting, he discovers the ring & lantern as per lore, but rather than being on his home-world of Earth and discovering the world of the GL Corp, he travels through a series of planets trying to connect with other GL members. In this universe, the GL Corp have all but been made extinct, by the robotic Man-Hunters (think X-Men sentinels), and live largely in hidden seclusion (yes – think the remnants of the Jedis!). Hal’s challenge here is now to understand his powers, discover this new universe, and re-assemble the Corp to stop this enemy (who have their own back-story) that threatens to wipe of the GL Corp once and all.

I’m not a huge GL fan – nothing against them, but in the DC universe I’m more grounded to Batman, Green Arrow etc. But with the impending introduction of GL into the DCEU film series, I took the opportunity to take a look a this reboot. From the perspective of originality, this ticks all the boxes in deviating from the original source – Hal is not a hot-shot pilot on Earth, but a low-key space-engineer hiding in the engineering conduits of a space-mining ship with his own secrets, and no desire whatsoever to return to Earth. The story then develops at quite a pace as Hal discovers his powers (& limitations – this gets a lot of focus), and then connects with other ex-corp members; in parallel we begin to understand the make-up of this universe and its protagonists, especially the Man-Hunters.

Overall, I would say that this is the stand-out volume of the New Earth series, if you really want something “fresh” – more so than the Wonder Woman tome. At times, I almost thought I was reading an ElseWorlds story (I’m a HUGE ElseWorlds fan!), such is the backdrop of this story. The treatment of the supporting characters and the darker nature of the artwork (both trademarks of ElseWorld IMHO) help to underscore that identity, and it will be interesting to see if DC do eventually plan to pull the stories altogether in an Earth One Justice League. The supporting characters are given plenty of space & treatment – especially Kilowog & Veca Trana (I wasn’t a huge fan of Arisa here), and it all builds nicely to a fulfilling showdown between the two sides.

If you are a DC fan, especially the Green Lantern, then this is worth your inspection…

GS Rating: 4/5

GS Reviewer: SilverFox

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