DC Super Heroes – Green Lantern Series

glsandsIn spite of my mother’s best efforts to limit my exposure to comic books as a boy, I became a superhero fan. And somehow, out of all the more popular heroes I was exposed to through the cartoons and action figures of the time, my favorite superhero was Green Lantern. Why? To this day I’m not quite sure. Maybe it was the appeal of the costume, dark green being my favorite color. Maybe it was because when the chips were down for The Superfriends and Superman was powerless it was usually Green Lantern’s Power Ring that saved the day. Or maybe even then my pre-school self admired the power of imagination and realized that of all the super powers a person could have, the ability to will into existence anything you could think of was a darn good one.

I couldn’t help but think back on this while reading a number of Green Lantern books from the new DC Super Heroes line from Stone Arch Books. Having read through four of the series so far, I can only wonder how much easier it might have been to explain just how awesome Green Lantern was to my classmates if I’d had these books back then. Each book establishes the basic concept of The Green Lanterns well enough – how they are police officers armed with rings that allow them to make their thoughts reality, appointed by the alien Guardians of the Universe and assigned a different sector of space. The Green Lantern of our sector is an Earthling named Hal Jordan – an honest and fearless (though somewhat reckless) fighter pilot for the US Air Force. It is the duty of each Green Lantern to protect their sector. Protection, in this case, is not limited toward capturing criminals and fighting vicious space beasts but also involves diplomatic duties such as settling conflicts between interplanetary governments.

One of these conflicts lies at the center of Web of Doom, in which Hal must supervise the signing of a peace treaty even as he deals with the manipulations of an agent of the fear-empowered Yellow Lanterns and then finds himself needing to make an unlikely alliance with the Yellow Lantern to put down an even greater threat. In The Light King Strikes!, Hal returns to Earth and must match wits with the fiendish Dr. Light – a super-villain whose powers allow him to absorb any energy a Green Lantern can throw at him and grow stronger as a result. In Savage Sands, Hal Jordan is dispatched to Egypt as the immortal Vandal Savage attempts to raise an army of mummies and an animated Sphinx as part of a mad scheme to take over the world. Finally, in Fear The Shark, Hal Jordan tries to enjoy a rare day off only to have his day ruined as the beast known only as The Shark goes on a rampage.

Admittedly there’s not a lot of depth to these stories but they are good for what they are – simple chapter books for beginning readers with an interest in superheroic action. These books are novels, with illustrated pages depicting the action intermingled among the text. Curiously, the text is punctuated with colorful cartoon-balloon style fonts every time there is an instance of onomatopoeia. It is strange to see all the WOOSHes and KA-POWs in the text rather than in the artwork but this is a small distraction.

The artwork by Dan Schoening is reminiscent of the Bruce Timm style of drawing, with overly broad shoulders on the men and a simple, streamlined approach in depicting everything. Every book of this series looks good though I can’t help but think it might have benefited from being rendered as a true graphic novel rather than a hybrid. Despite this, I would recommend this series to anyone who has or cares for beginning readers that have a fondness for superheroes.

DC Super Heroes – Green Lantern Series

Green Lantern: Savage Sands
Written by: J. E. Bright
Art by: Dan Schoening
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781434226198
ISBN (Softcover): 9781434234056

Green Lantern: Web of Doom
Written by: Michael Anthony Steele
Art by: Dan Schoening
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781434226211
ISBN (Softcover): 9781434234070

Green Lantern: The Light King Strikes!
Written by: Laurie S. Sutton
Art by: Dan Schoening
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781434226105
ISBN (Softcover): 9781434230836

Green Lantern: Fear The Shark
Written by: Laurie S. Sutton
Art by: Dan Schoening
ISBN (Hardcover): 9781434226204
ISBN (Softcover): 9781434234063

Stone Arch Books, 2011