Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan Has Two Wonderful Green Lantern Stories, The Second Of Which Is Only Marred By Poor Artwork!

The Good: Very engaging character stories, Artwork in the first story, Great plot arc
The Bad: Artwork in the “Mystery Of The Star Sapphire” plot
The Basics: The trade paperback anthology Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan is very much a transition book that helps to establish both the Sinestro Corps War and Blackest Night while actually telling stories of its own very well!

Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan came to me as part of a surprisingly large collection of Green Lantern trade anthologies and graphic novels. Honestly, I was beginning to wonder if the hero had any real appeal to me still when I started getting into some of the most engaging stories from the character from before the Blackest Night Saga. I have been getting them out of order, but my main issue with many of the stories in the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe was that so many of them are repetitive. They either become giant battles that wear thin or they feel like what they are; a set-up for other, larger story arcs.

That is not the case with Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan.

Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan precedes the Sinestro Corps War and it finally fills in some blanks that I had been missing! This story takes place on the heels of Infinite Crisis (reviewed here!) and has the superheroes like Green Lantern working in a very different world than they had been. Hal Jordan, for example, has been held both as a P.O.W. and has issues with honoring a new international treaty restricting the jurisdiction of superheroes in the post-Crisis world. Not at all dependent upon those stories, Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan tells two essential Green Lantern stories.

In the main story in Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan, “Wanted: Hal Jordan,” Hal wrestles with getting his life back in order. Apparently, his alcoholism from Emerald Dawn (reviewed here!) is forgotten, as he, Cowgirl and the other man who was held as a P.O.W. for three months with him in Russia get together for drinks now that they are back home. Cowgirl goes out on a flight over Chechnya and is shot down a second time, which activates Hal Jordan as Green Lantern. Determined to keep his friend and emerging romantic interest from getting tortured again, Green Lantern violates the treaty that keeps American superheroes out of Russia to try to rescue her.

But the terrestrial difficulties Green Lantern faces are quickly overwhelmed by a dilemma in the form of Amon Sur, the son of Abin Sur, the alien who found Hal Jordan and inducted him into the Corps. Twisted by decades of pain and anger over the loss of his father, Amon Sur hunts down Hal Jordan to try to take his Green Power Ring, in the process alerting the Corps to an emerging threat!

The first arc in Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan is an intriguing one because it is a part of the lead-up to the Sinestro Corps War, but it does not feel like just that. Moments like Arkillo sending out yellow power rings and Batman being tapped by one insinuate what is coming in the Green Lantern Universe, but the story is rich enough and well put together enough to not make one feel like they are reading a teaser. Instead, the “Wanted: Hal Jordan” story unfolds as an interesting adventure.

What works so well in this story in Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan is that Hal Jordan has truly grown up. His experiences as a P.O.W. and in the wake of Parallax have made him more mature and more devoted to the fight for justice. In short, through this story, it is far more evident hat he would make a good interstellar cop than ever before. The confrontation between Amon Sur and Hal Jordan highlights that sense of growth. Amon is what Hal could have been had he simply let the loss of his father consume him. Instead, Hal Jordan rose above and this story illustrates that exceptionally well.

The artwork in the “Wanted: Hal Jordan” section of Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan is phenomenal. Ivan Reis has sharp lines and the characters are rendered precisely and beautifully. The coloring is excellent and this quickly develops as one of the best written and drawn Green Lantern stories I can recall reading.

The other half of Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan is a very direct three-part story called “The Mystery Of The Star Sapphire.” Just as the Sinestro Corps was teased in the first story, the Star Sapphires erupt in the second story. Carol Ferris is flying when the Star Sapphire jewel affixes itself to her. When she refuses to simply chase Hal Jordan and when the gem realizes that Hal is involved with Cowgirl, it leaps onto her. Having been attached to the jewel, Carol now knows the horrific history of the Star Sapphire and what its goals are to preserve love. She and Hal must stop the Cowgirl Star Sapphire as well as a team from Zamarron who have come to encase Earth in a crystal crypt “for its own protection!”

Unfortunately, the artwork by Daniel Acuna in the “Mystery Of The Star Sapphire” story is very sloppy. While the colors are rich, the entire portion of the book has a washed-out feel, as if there are no firm lines. That changes panel to panel and the characters are not always recognizable or particularly detailed.

Ultimately, Green Lantern – Wanted: Hal Jordan is a surprisingly engaging read and one that anyone who wants a decent superhero story ought to pick up!

For other Green Lantern-related books, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Green Lantern: Rebirth
Revenge Of The Green Lanterns
Green Lantern Corps: Recharge
To Be A Lantern
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume One
Tales Of The Sinestro Corps
The Sinestro Corps War - Volume Two
Ring Quest
Sins Of The Star Sapphire
Rage Of The Red Lanterns
Agent Orange
Emerald Eclipse
Blackest Night
Blackest Night: Green Lantern
Blackest Night: Green Lantern Corps
Blackest Night: Tales Of The Corps
Brightest Day: Green Lantern
Brightest Day: Green Lantern Corps - Revolt Of The Alpha-Lanterns


For other book reviews, please visit my Book Index Page!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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