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Home » Graphic Novel Review: Green Lantern: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert

Graphic Novel Review: Green Lantern: Secret Origin by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis & Oclair Albert

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Green Lantern is undoubtedly one of the most recognized heroes in the DC universe. Especially the Hal Jordan version of Green Jordan. The initial concept of having a fearless jet pilot was fantastic, yet people saw fit to keep jacking around with his origin. Thankfully, Geoff Johns figured out a way to save Hal Jordan from the tangled web of death, Parallax, and the mantle of the Spectre and return him to greatness for the fans in Green Lantern: Rebirth.

Since that time Johns has continued to reboot the Green Lantern universe, adding more layers to the overall Silver Age concept initially created of a space lawman. Johns has introduced new villains and given dramatic facelifts to old ones. The new Hector Hammond is really creepy, and more powerful than I remember him being before.

As one of the top tier heroes at DC, Green Lantern’s origin has been constantly told and retold. Every Green Lantern fan on the planet knows how Hal Jordan received his power ring from Abin Sur as that Green Lantern lay dying. Even after years of reading the series and being familiar with the character, I never even once wondered why Abin Sur was in a spaceship when he could have used his ring to simply fly through space. All the Green Lanterns do that.

In this latest graphic novel, Johns explains why Abin Sur was in that doomed aircraft, why it crashed, then goes on to embroider even more legend into the Green Lantern tapestry. Jordan’s troubled family history is further revealed in this story as well, and readers get the chance to truly understand the motivation that has powered this man through so much. In addition, Sinestro shows up as he was at that time: the greatest Green Lantern that ever lived — until he turned evil.

This pairing of Sinestro and Green Lantern in his rookie debut offers a lot of speculation about what went on between them and what could have happened if they’d remained friends. When I first found out Johns would be revisiting Green Lantern’s origin one more time, I was irritated. He had just set up the idea of the prismatic power batteries and the emotions that fuel them. I think that’s one of the coolest ideas that has occurred in the DC universe in many years. But this reimagining of old heroes with new eyes that don’t stray too far from the original mold is one of the author’s greatest strengths. Johns bends and shapes heirloom heroes into new and thrilling stories, but he never breaks the bones.

The story of the Black Lanterns gets advanced in this graphic novel. Due to the nature of the villain involved in Abin Sur’s death and the questions that particular Green Lantern was asking right before his death, readers get a real good feel for what Johns has up his sleeve for the next act. He sows the seeds of that story arc within this one, mashing the two stories perfectly. My appetite is whetted even more now for the threat of Black Dawn.

Besides the great story, this graphic novel delivers the fantastic art of Ivan Reis and Oclair Albert. As penciler and inker, they knock this one right out of the park. The two-page spreads they do are breathtaking. Jordan looks like a regular man at times but definitely as a jet jockey at others, and both sides of his nature as fallible and heroic are fairly presented. When he’s in the Green Lantern suit, he’s the kind of hero kids want to grow up to be.

Be sure to look for the initial meeting between Hal Jordan and John Stewart (the second earth Green Lantern of the Silver Age) in the bar fight. If you’re not familiar with the Green Lantern history, that one will slide right under the radar.

I wasn’t looking forward to this digression in momentum of the story Johns was telling, but it simply had to be told and was so much more than I ever expected it to be. At this point I’m really looking forward to another digression, and this time I want to see what happens when Green Lantern goes to visit Sinestro on his homeworld for the first time. I have a feeling that would be an awesome story as well.

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