Green Lantern (vol.5) #1 (November, 2011)
“Sinestro, Part One”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Pencils – Doug Mahnke
Inks – Christian Alamy w/Tom Nguyen
Colors – David Baron
Letters – Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor – Darren Shan
Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $2.99
Here’s a little secret… I’ve never read the book we’re about to cover today. Ya see, where DC planned for The New-52! to be a jumping-on point, I viewed it more as an opportunity to leave certain books (and families of books) behind.
When I saw the title announcements and solicits, and saw that there were going to be four Lantern books as part of this reboot (Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps., Green Lantern: The New Guardians, and Red Lanterns), with the edict that everything is starting “fresh”, I didn’t see any reason to pursue a family-of-four (books)… and if you know me, I’m kind of an “all or nothing” sorta comics guy. If I wasn’t going to commit to all four… I was going to commit to zero.
It wasn’t until a couple of years later, (oddly) after Geoff Johns left the book, that I decided to dip my toe back into the Lanternverse. Me, being me, had to madly dash through town to fill in the issues I missed… but, that really wasn’t ever in question. In fact, if you’re familiar with cover variances, you’d see (above) that my copy of Green Lantern (vol.5) #1… is actually the second-printing! I don’t even own a first-printing of this one!
Anyhoo… let’s see how they rebooted Hal. That’s what happens in this one, right? Right? Right…?
We open this… Brand-New Era for Green Lantern, by… picking up from the end of the previous issue? Waitasec… I thought The New-52! was for new readers?! Anyhoo… Sinestro is now Green Lantern, having been chosen by Hal Jordan’s ring following the events of the War of the Green Lanterns. He says the thing, charges the ring… and gets a stern talking to by the Guardians of the Universe. They look at this opportunity as a chance for redemption… but Sin just ain’t feeling it. He’s not sure he wants this in his life again. Either way, he takes the battery and heads off, leaving a quarreling bunch of little blue fellers in his wake.
We shift scenes to Earth, and check in on now-former-Green Lantern, Hal Jordan… who is three months behind on his rent, probably plenty of other bills too. He’s told his checks are no longer going to be accepted, which sounds pretty fair considering they never clear anyway.
As he’s being harangued by his landlord, Hal overhears a struggle going on in the next apartment building over. Without even thinking, he leaps from his patio (which is seven stories up) across to the next building to save a woman from her attacker…
… only, it turns out they were just filming a movie. Wonk wonk?
We jump ahead a couple of hours, and Hal is in jail waiting to be picked up by Carol Ferris, who doesn’t really get what I’d consider to be a proper “New Reader friendly” introduction. Actually… nobody really does!
As Carol and Hal leave the clink, Hal asks her if he can have his old job back. She’d love to have him, but if she were to take him back, their insurance company would drop them due to his recklessness. Then they talk about the recent Sinestro-happenings, which Hal doesn’t know the complete results of. Carol suggests that might be a good thing, and comments that she hasn’t put her Star Sapphire ring on since the War either. Hal then asks her out to dinner.
We rejoin Sinestro at his homeworld of Korugar, where he sees that his own Sinestro Corps have gotten a bit out of control. He finds himself attacked by one of them, mistaking him for a “real” Green Lantern, before realizing who he really is. Sinestro kinda flips the script on them by acting like a “real” Green Lantern… annnd then sawing through one of their necks with a construct-garrote.
Jumping ahead to the next night, Hal and Carol are out at a swanky joint for dinner… when Hal pops the question. “Carol Ferris, will you… co-sign on the lease for my car?” Just what every woman wants to hear, am I right?
Wellll… Carol thought he was going to ask a different question, surely, as she tosses her drink in his face and storms out of the restaurant. It takes Hal a minute or two to realize what she was expecting… which, I mean, these two are so “on-again/off-again” why in the world would he ever ask her to marry him?! They’d likely break all sorts of records for “most divorces and remarries for a single couple”.
Hal then walks back to his place (Carol left him behind… and she was his ride). He is greeted by an… eviction notice.
But that’s not all! He’s also greeted by… Sinestro, who has a whopper of a proposition for him… and it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with co-signing on his Ford Focus.
This kinda goes against type, but… I loved this! It just goes to show that if you’re a writer with the right amount of pull and “cache”, and your book was pulling in the sort of numbers DC was happy with… you could beat The New-52!
This issue could just as easily been the next issue of Green Lantern (vol.4)… and for all I know, was exactly the direction that book was going before that “other shoe” dropped, and the toilet was announced as being about to be flushed.
I mean, we literally pick up right where we left off in the pre-Flashpoint series… which, is good news for someone like me… but, what about the new readers, maaaaaaan?! How could someone wandering in off the streets pick up this issue… with Sinestro on the cover and in the green duds, and not instantly feel like they’d missed something (because they had!)?
This is just another check mark in the “DC didn’t know what the hell they were doing with The New-52!” column… and also, fuels my own speculation that the entire endeavor was some sort of a last-minute decision, with precious little more in the way of planning than “Hey, New #1’s”… and little more in the way of goals than “Maybe we’ll beat Marvel for a month or two”. Such short-sighted dunderheadedness… that they’re still paying for nearly a decade later.
Now, for this issue… Hal’s no longer a Lantern, which… if you read the War of the Green Lanterns crossover in the closing months of the pre-Flashpoint continuity, you’d already know. Sinestro was chosen… and Hal’s back to being a bum.
We get mention here that Carol is a Star Sapphire… which, I mean, a “new” reader is probably going to glaze over without realizing just what that means… or they’ll have to go to Wikipedia until they get bored… or even more confused. Really… the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that… regardless of how much I personally enjoyed this one, since it didn’t go tabula rasa… or half-ass tabula rasa, I don’t think this one is anywhere near “new reader friendly”.
I mean, even if you’re a “new reader” who prefers to read your comics in trade collections… you’d still be pretty lost with this opening “chapter”. You’d almost have to read War of the Green Lanterns… and in order to fully appreciate that, you’d have to read Blackest Night… and in order to full appreciate that, you’d have to read the entirety of the Geoff Johns run… and in order to fully appreciate that, you’re reading Green Lantern: Rebirth. I could go on… but I’m sure you’ve got the point. This isn’t a “fresh start”, which sort of undermines the entire New-52! endeavor… in my opinion.
So, as a “welcome” to new readers, who may or may not exist, this isn’t that great a jumping-on/jumping-in point, in my opinion. If you’re a seasoned reader, and want more of what came before… this is as good as a lot of it. Art is solid-to-great, and it’s a fun (though breezy) little chapter. Worth a look, and as with anything post-Flashpoint, is available digitally… this one for only 99-cents!