Review – Green Lantern: Earth One Volume One
Written by: Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Art by: Gabriel Hardman
Lettered by: Simon Bowland
Colors by: Jordan Boyd
Cover by: Gabriel Hardman & Jordan Boyd
Release Date: March 20, 2018
DC’s Earth One line is a series of original graphic novels that aims to reboot and modernize their iconic heroes. Not tied to continuity or the monthly format, these original graphic novels are able to truly take the characters in different directions. Finally, in 2018, Green Lantern was given the treatment in Green Lantern: Earth One Volume 1.
Gone is the thrill-chasing fighter pilot, the brightly colored comic art, and the flashy comic suit. In its place is Harold Jordan, a dour space miner for Ferris Galactic. Green Lantern: Earth One establishes itself early on as a more grounded science fiction story. Littered with classic sci-fi elements, we enter a familiar yet slightly strange world. With a troubled past and a desire to never return to Earth, our hero begins his journey.
At its core, this is a good book. They take a well worn origin story and update into a very modern sci-fi story. These updated concepts are all strong and well implemented. The changes are fresh enough to keep me interested as I compare them to the origins we’ve gotten before. I really do love the plot here.
I actually think the first act of the story is the strongest. Opening the story on a disgruntled space crew mining for metals is pretty fun. I absolutely loved this version of finding the ring and the first one interactions with a Manhunter. It all felt like an excellent start to a mid-budget sci-fi movie your friend told you about.
Instead of Hal being thrust into a strange world of the Lantern Corp, we follow Harold trying to find any information on a defunct Corp few have heard of. This gives us not only mystery but a refreshing change of pace. We still see some familiar faces pop up, but the writers also take the opportunity to give them new twists too. Heck, the updated way Oa & the Guardians are used feels so natural that I might prefer it to the core continuity version.
I love the changes they gave to the powers too. There’s more of a focus on concentration. They need to keep recharging the rings. Naturally following that, we get to see the ring fail from time to time. These changes grounded the book and were a welcome shift from the all-powerful plot armor rings we’ve gotten used to.
My biggest complaint with the story is how jumpy it feels. That inconsistency is frustrating in a story that’s otherwise really engaging. It feels like a page or two is missing from certain arcs. Multiple times I flipped back to make sure I hadn’t missed them. Our characters will be in one place, mid-conversation, but on the next page we’re on another planet talking about another thing. Even in one of the bigger battles, a character is like “I’ve got a better plan!” Followed by them doing a thing that looks an awful lot like the first plan, with no real explanation about why it’s different.
The art in Green Lantern: Earth One has a rougher edge to it, a darker look. It fits the sci-fi feel, and almost feels like it belongs in an early 2000s Vertigo title. Now that I’ve connected those dots, the story itself feels like it could have been a Vertigo title too, but I digress. The artists uses lots of shadows and black space, up close shots, and an almost sketched look to a lot of the art. These elements contrast nicely at times. The intimate moments between characters feel nice but even more important set against the vast space pieces or large groups of aliens. Especially early on, this art really helps sell the “astronaut in a strange world” feel.
Understanding that this is a reboot and it’s its own thing, I do wish there was more of an iconic look to the character. Everyone wearing real clothes instead of magic superhero fabric isn’t a bad touch . I don’t mind the muted colors either. The costume just never stands out and our Green Lantern never looks as cool as he does on the cover. You wouldn’t buy an action figure of this look. It’s a sci-fi story, not a superhero book, but it’s still possible to craft a unique or iconic look while staying true to the feel.
I hate to double down on the point, but the art gets to be a little hard to follow too. There’s some pretty shots and nice contrast, but the panel layout and pacing doesn’t do the book many favors. In the aforementioned bigger battle, I repeatedly had to backtrack to figure out who I was following or what was happening to who.
I’ll reiterate though, I really like this book. I don’t want my negatives to come across too heavy. My story complaints are more about writing details than plot. My art complaints might be more about my expectations of a Green Lantern book than what was on the page. Maybe they kept the art more muted and the designs more subtle on purpose, as part of the story, I just wanted more of a fusion.
This is a good book. You should read it. I plan on tracking down Vol 2 shortly, so I can see what unique spin is put on this universe next. It’s honestly the most memorable Green Lantern comic I’ve read in quite a few years. If we didn’t know Warner Bros had plans to immediately jump into Corp related stories, I would be rooting for this origin to be what they based their movie properties going forward.
If you enjoyed our review of Green Lantern: Earth One then leave a comment or leave your own rating below.
Join us on Twitter, IG, Discord etc –https://linktr.ee/BGCPComicCon
Buy tickets for BGCP Comic Con in and around Glasgow Scotland – BUY TICKETS