Saturday, December 31, 2011

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn Reboots Hal Jordan Exceptionally Well!

The Good: Decent story, Good character elements, Generally decent artwork
The Bad: Somewhat limited plot, Artwork lacks real depth and shading
The Basics: Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn tells the origin story of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern in a very classic-feeling story that prepares readers well for what comes after.

As my Daredevil Year comes to an end, I am faced with a somewhat awkward confession. While the year started out big for me with Daredevil books arriving rapidly, I quickly exhausted all that my library could get in for me. Truth be told, I got a little bored with Daredevil. So, when I lost my job at the comic book shop and that whole avenue to free study of the Man Without Fear was cut off, I turned to my local library and looked through what they could get in for me. As it turns out, it was a lot of Green Lantern! Ironically, as I prepare for my Flash Year (yes, I am now leaking next year’s comic book franchise I intend to study!), I might have just passed the point where I read more Green Lantern books this year than Daredevil! Further irony in this comes from the fact that the book that is throwing me over is Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn, which notes on the back that Green Lantern was the original Man Without Fear.

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn is the origin story of Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. Told for the 30th Anniversary of Green Lantern, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn includes many elements that were later used in the film Green Lantern (reviewed here!). But what is arguably more interesting about Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn is to read what was left out of the film that is in this book. Hal Jordan’s drinking problem – which does not seem like it would be a dated element – is included in Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn and that adds an extra layer to the character that is somewhat incomprehensible the producers left out of the film!

Hal Jordan is a test pilot for Ferris Aviation when he is benched for reckless flying. He goes out with his brother and best friend and the group gets drunk. While driving them home, Hal’s car smashes into a bright yellow sign. He awakens in the hospital and soon learns that his best friend is now paralyzed. Before Jordan can truly react, he is pulled out of the hospital by a glowing green light. The light takes him to Abin Sur, a dying alien with a green power ring who fills him in on just enough of the ring’s powers to get him by. Abin Sur dies and his power ring is transferred to Hal Jordan.

Slowly, Hal begins to discover the ring’s powers as he wills things into existence to save his life and aid his friends. Almost immediately, Jordan is attacked by a giant yellow robotic construct who calls itself Legion. Desperate to survive after discovering that Legion is destroying everywhere he used the ring, Jordan takes on Legion. In the process, Hal’s best friend is killed and Hal sets off a nuclear bomb to try to stop him. Hal then is taken to Oa where he begins to train to be a proper Green Lantern. Unfortunately, Legion was not destroyed by Hal and as its goal was to find the Guardians, it uses Hal Jordan’s trip to Oa to begin its merciless revenge!

Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn is a decent origin story and anyone who wants to get into Green Lantern will find it a great way to start the franchise. There are some oddities, like the inclusion of the yellow weakness. Retroactively explained much later in a much better fashion, the Green Lanterns in Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn are unable to harm Legion because its armor is made out of a yellow metal. This seems somewhat ridiculous, but it is a conceit that one may buy just enough at this point.

What is a little harder to accept is the artwork. Penciller M.D. Bright did a generally good job with Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn. The characters, for the most part, look good. Abin Sur could have been rendered in a fashion that made him appear more alien, but Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn truly suffers on the coloring front. The book is not presented with particularly vibrant colors, so characters like Abin Sur looks just like a miscolored person as opposed to a truly individual alien life form.

Still, Green Lantern: Emerald Dawn is a good basic six-issue origin story that gets readers into Hal Jordan’s character arc. Knowing where the arc goes, it is easy to say that this is a pretty cool beginning and well worth the read, even if it is a little simplistic.

For other Green Lantern stories, please check out my reviews of:
Green Lantern: Willworld
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Green Lantern Corps: Rise Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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