Hey, You Got a Second?: A Series of Random Chats – “Green Lantern: Earth One,” Vol.1 Review

Hey there and happy Wednesday, thanks for stopping by! How’re ya now? We’re now at the beginning of another Autumn season, my favorite season and let me tell ya something: I really wish I could experience the seasons properly here in Texas. Being able to feel the temperature drop gradually and seeing your environment undergo it’s usual shedding of leaves as Winter arrives and if you’re fortunate enough, snow does as well. *sigh* I miss that from my childhood in Michigan. The heat is around for too long in Texas and it sucks like this for like half the year. One day I’ll live somewhere that more consistently experiences all four seasons. Anyway, enough about that, let’s talk about a graphic novel I read the other week. I have a review of it’s first volume ready for ya down below if you have a second. There’ll be cool art to look at if anything. Let’s get into it.

A Reimaging of Hal Jordan and the Mythology of the Green Lanterns

I would say I’ve maintained a passive interest for the Green Lantern since first falling in love with superheroes. The iconic emerald ring and hard-light constructs have always been awesome and has provided inspiration for a few ideas of mine. That’s really about it though. It’s not like there hasn’t been incredible stories or characters for the mythos; I just haven’t read anything related to it. What brought me to pick up and read both volumes of the Earth One reimagining was Owen Likes Comics‘ video over the graphic novels by Gabriel Hardman and Corrina Bechko. I respect Owen’s opinions, in the past he convinced me to check out Darwyn Cooke’s, DC: The New Frontier, which is a love letter to the Golden Age of DC and is a welcome addition to my collection now. It’s a great YouTube channel that talks about comics and often covers the history behind the creation of certain comic stories. Go check him out!

So what are the Earth One series of graphic novels? Simply put, it’s DC’s attempts at reimaging characters and their origins in a graphic novel format. Similar to Marvel’s approach with the creation of their Ultimate universe. The main difference being that DC wanted to lean into the graphic novel format and honestly I’m glad they did. It’s wonderful to have a contained story with substance collected in a singular book, I’d prefer that most of the time instead of collecting single issues month by month. So what is Green Lantern: Earth One, Volume One about? Allow me to tell you in a brief, spoiler-free manner!

Allow me to share with you the blurb for the first volume:

Hal Jordan yearns for the thrill of discovery, but the days when astronaut and adventure were synonymous are long gone. His gig prospecting asteroids for Ferris Galactic is less than fulfilling—but at least he’s not on Earth, where technology and culture have stagnated.

Hal is our titular main character for this book, a man who is in search of something more. Not inherently a new thing for story telling, I know, but it doesn’t need to be. What’s more universally felt than the curiosity to explore as humans? I’d argue not much, so it begs the question: What is out there? Well, how about a whole galaxy with its own history, people, and threats.

Kilowog exposits for us

When Jordan finds a powerful ring, he also finds a destiny to live up to. There are worlds beyond his own, unlike anything he ever imagined. But revelation comes with a price: the Green Lantern Corps has fallen, wiped out by ruthless killing machines known as Manhunters. The odds against reviving the Corps are nearly impossible…but doing the impossible is exactly what Hal Jordan was trained to do!

So first things first, this is a story about willpower and the choice to do what’s right. If there’s anything Hal Jordan is known for across the Omniverse, it’s proving his will to be unyielding. There’s a moment towards the last third of the book that really highlights that, but for the sake of remaining spoiler-free I won’t get into it. What I will get into however is the art!

A Look at the Art of Green Lantern: Earth One, Volume 1

The art in this book by Gabriel Hardman is definitely taking inspiration from science fiction films like Alien (1979) and you can see it in the way set pieces are designed in the beginning of the book. Things feel dark, worn, ominous, and dangerous. It helps to create a feeling that something could be hiding somewhere. An example of this is the discovery of the Manhunter on the uncovered vessel Hal and his crewmate Volkov are exploring.

Not only that but when it comes to showing the power of the Green Lantern ring, the linework becomes looser and almost sketch-like as Hardman and colorist Jordan Boyd lean into graffiti inspired accenting to convey the energy the ring is known to provide its user. Boyd seems to have selected a clear and definite color pallet to use for the book that really locks everything in. Another cool thing about the art is the approach to the costume design. Classically speaking the ring bestows some sort of leotard for the user to wear over their own clothing, but this time around the ring just adds what I’ll call “lantern flare” to whatever the user is already wearing. For Hal, he remains pretty consistently in his Ferris Galactic issued space suit, minus the helmet.

*chef’s kiss*
notice the loose linework?

Final Thoughts

Now since it’s a review, here’s an arbitrary score for ya: 8/10. Overall the art direction for this book and written narrative is done very well and feels grounded within its own world. A great read for those with little to no knowledge about Hal Jordan, Green Lantern, or for fans of science fiction. Let’s wrap things up and get on outta here!

So, what did you think?

This is my first comic review for the site and it was quite fun! I hope in the future to review more comics that impress me enough to want to do so as Bechko and Hardman have with their book(s). Let me know your thoughts in the comments to this post and/or on our socials, maybe you enjoyed my babble enough to seek out the story for yourself and we’ll end up sharing a discussion about it? One can hope at least haha. Anyhow, that’s it for now. Before I sign off, as a heads up, we’re hosting another site event next week! More details for that to come this Friday (09/30/2022). Until then, be well and be safe. I’ll talk at ya soon enough.

from the album, move (2021)

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