Green Lantern (vol.4) #1 (July, 2005)
Writer – Geoff Johns
Art – Carlos Pacheco, Ethan Van Sciver & Jesus Merino
Colors – Moose Baumann
Letters – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Harvey Richards
Editor – Peter Tomasi
Cover Price: $3.50
Last week, we took a look at the first issue of Green Lantern in The New-52!, and I was pretty surprised to discover that he hadn’t already covered this Green Lantern #1. Could’a sworn we had.
I was actually hoping to cover all of the Green Lantern #1’s… but, we won’t be able to cover vol.3’s… for obvious reasons. You can probably do some Googling if you’re unaware.
Anyhoo… who’s ready for a “Cooler than Most” Hal Jordan?
We open in the way back when, where we meet Hal Jordan of Ferris Aircraft. A couple of pilots are discussing some stunt he’d pulled… and how it’s pretty clear that Carol Ferris has the hots for him. Also, they don’t think Hal will ever be cleared to fly again. Little do they know that he’s about to be zapped by an emerald beam… and delivered deep into the desert. As he is nyoinked, a voice tells him that the Brightest Day will become the Blackest Night. Hmm…
We know where this is headed, right? Hal is plunked down right before a dying Abin Sur, who offers him the gig… and he takes it. I feel like I’ve gotta mention, Hal comes across as almost too cool during the post-Green Lantern: Rebirth retelling of his origin. This was one of the bigger criticisms at the time, though, I’m sure those arguments have been lost in the digital sands by now.
We jump back to the present, and join a five-card dogfight between Hal and his buddy Shane. This whole thing seems like the absolute worst way to play a hand of cards… but remember, this Hal is too cool for school.
We jump ahead a bit, and join Hal and Shane at a bar inside Edwards Air Force Base. They catch up a bit, Hal learns that Shane’s done some “adulting” since their last visit… got married, started a family, ya know… that sort of stuff. Shane mentions that they’d all thought Hal perished during the decimation of Coast City… which is, probably the best way to casually write off Hal’s disappearance.
Later on, Hal retrieves his ring from his locker… just as John Stewart is attempting to get a hold of him. Apparently, there’s an abandoned spacecraft lingering in orbit, and so Hal decides to join him to check it out.
With Hal away, we head over to Barstow, where a Private is hauling a covered load. A waitress playfully inquires about what’s under the tarp… and it’s one’a those “If I tell ya, I’d have to kill ya” sort of propositions. The waitress’s meathead fiance, Chris (no relation) butts in to make sure the flirting ceases.
Back outside, the Private checks in with an associate named Johnson, who is trying to get a peek at the cargo himself. He claims that there’s a “moaning” sound coming from it. The Private pulls the ol’ “If I tell ya, I’d have to kill ya” once again… and they leave.
We rejoin Hal (with John) deep in space. They discuss such matters as restarting the Green Lantern Corps. Hal thinks it’s a silly idea, considering there are only five Green Lanterns left (Hal, John, Guy, Kyle, and Kilowog… if I’m remembering right). Eventually they come across the abandoned spacecraft… and it’s completely yellow. Hal posits that whoever it is didn’t realize the yellow impurity was a thing of the past.
The Lanterns bust in, and discover… nothing. Just blackness. Not even a seat to sit in. Hal checks the fuel cells… and they’re empty. Looks like whoever used this rig was only planning on it being a one-way trip.
Back in Barstow, the waitress and her meathead fiance get into an argument. Eh, I guess they’re not actually engaged… more like, engaged-to-be-engaged… which sounds kinda “high school” to me. Anyhoo, they are approached by… a strange-looking fella, who kills them both! Kills the dude first, probably because he doesn’t want to be accused of “fridging”.
Next stop, Coast City… which is in the middle of it’s grand rebuild. Hal’s narration clues us in that there are big government incentives to live there… but, not so many people have taken the bait. Really can’t blame ’em, considering. Also, there’s gotta be some radiation still lingering, right? Not all of us have Power Rings to protect us.
Hal heads inside his apartment, and is greeted by his brother, Jim. They have a touching, though contentious, reunion. They talk about their parents, as well as the all-new Coast City. Jim ain’t keen on moving the family back to town… which, again… can’t blame him!
Suddenly, a low-flying plane produces a sonic boom that shatters all of the windows. Hal scurries off to Lantern-up and check out
what’s goin’ on.
Hal takes off, and catches up to the damaged aircraft. Upon getting a closer look, he deduces that the engine on this rig is clearly of extradimensional origin.
After helping it to land safely, we meet the pilot… Captain Jillian Pearlman, otherwise known as “Cowgirl”. They flirt for a bit, because that’s kinda what Hal does.
We wrap up back with that tarped load coming out of Barstow. From under the cover, we can see a glowing-red eye. Then, we hear it… “No Man Escapes–“ Oh dammit.
Alright… not a bad start to the new volume!
Gotta get it out of the way. It’s been said, and it’s certainly true, Hal does come across a little “too cool” here. He doesn’t seem like a dude who goofs up from time to time… a guy who second-guesses himself, which I guess works in that it makes him a more fitting Green Lantern candidate… but, it also causes him to become a little less relatable. This is the “Fonzie” Hal Jordan, less a guy you’d wanna have a drink with, and more the dude you mutter under your breath about anytime he walks by.
Even in our opening pages, we’ve got a couple of pilots coming across as very jealous of Hal… his ability, courage, and how much it seems that Carol has a “thing” for him. I mean, I don’t need Hal to be a complete boob… but, this feels like something of an over-correction.
I’m guessing that much of this has to do with undoing Emerald Dawn… ya know, the whole drunk-driving incident. That’s fair enough, I suppose. I wasn’t around when that series came out, so I couldn’t say how it was received, at least initially. Not sure how the Hal-Faithful cottoned to the idea that he’d nearly killed a bunch of folks while driving drunk. I’d imagine it’d be at least somewhat divisive.
I’m somewhere in between, I guess. On one hand, I don’t mind heroes having flaws… but on the other, actually driving drunk is a choice one has to make. It’s such a stupid thing to do… and I could totally see people coming away from that miniseries with some pretty hard feelings toward Hal. Especially those affected by some jackass who chose to drive drunk.
So, while I’m a big “lore” guy… and a proponent of “everything matters”, I get why that story might be a problem for some/many. I suppose at the end of the day, I don’t have much of an issue with them wiping that bit away.
Hal’s disappearance after the decimation of Coast City is handled about as well as it could be here. Basically, after the event in question, Hal just “hit the road”. It’s an easy enough excuse, that sorta fits with his character. I mean, old Hal was something of a roaming vagabond from time to time, right?
This issue does a great job of setting the table for what’s to come. I mean, there’s a mention of Blackest Night… a story that wouldn’t actually happen for nearly a half-decade. Bits and pieces of Hal’s “Secret Origin” are dropped… which is a story that would be fleshed out like 2-3 years later too! I mean, there’s just so much planning going on here… which, to me, is a great thing!
What’s never so great is… the Manhunters! Now, we’ve discussed these goofy robots a whole lot here over the years… but, I don’t think we’ve ever looked at them under Johns’ watch. I look forward to revisiting this era, to see how he handled them.
Overall, despite some of my misgivings about Hal’s “coolness”, this was a really good issue. It’s been collected in Green Lantern: No Fear, and is available digitally (for 99-cents!).