The last couple years has seen a renaissance in the world of Green Lantern. Starting with the creation of Jessica Cruz – who is a really fantastic reinvention of the core conceit of the Green Lantern mythos – we’ve seen new creators coming in, giving a new take on our favorite space cops.
Minh Le and Andy Tong created a really unique new character in Green Lantern: Legacy, while N.K. Jemisin and Jamal Campbell’s Green Lantern: Far Sector has been an almost unparalleled masterpiece of a science fiction epic. 2018’s Green Lantern: Earth One was a part of that renaissance, an epic reinvention of Green Lantern as a grounded concept (well, almost — it was still about aliens and space police).
Equal parts superhero and The Expanse, it was a beautifully drawn story that was one of my favorite Green Lantern stories in a long time.
Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 2 exceeds it in almost every measure.
Volume 2 brings Hal Jordan back to Earth, following his own exile for blowing the whistle on the false-flag attack that allowed a dictator to take power. Meanwhile, John Stewart and a crew of a few more astronauts are on their way for humanity’s first contact with a neighboring alien species. But as that is all happening, a new corps of Yellow Lanterns from the anti-matter universe of Qward, led by the last surviving Guardian of the Universe, plot to wipe out and replace the Green Lantern Corps.
After all, Green Lantern: Earth One asks, the Guardians of the Universe claim that they want to impose order on the galaxy. Doesn’t that sound ever so slightly malevolent? They aren’t saying peace, or justice, but order and stability. And, when the Guardian returns, they do just that – through extraordinary amounts of force and lockstep armies of space soldiers. It’s stop-and-frisk space policemen.
But, the book says, the flaws of their creators don’t doom the project in and of itself. An organization can overcome the malevolent intents of those who formed it, and through reform, introspection, and morally upstanding members of said organization, can become better. The Green Lantern Corps of Green Lantern: Earth One is one that has realized that its founders aren’t that great, and has resolved to do better.
In an era where, as we all know, the treatment and action of police have become a rather hot button issue, we can see the relevance.
And the art! Oh my god, this art is just fantastic. It’s moody and dark, with deep shadows and a sense of depth, of an endless void in space. Cosmic stories in comics often have a problem in showing the great size of space.
Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 2 does not have that problem.
And this moody darkness contrasts well with the bright lights of the various Lanterns, the light playing off to create these areas of great contrasts. It’s an incredibly evocative book. Corrina Bechko, Gabriel Hardman, and Jordan Boyd have created a comic that even people who don’t care about Green Lantern should go and read.