A significant problem for anyone writing a well-known superhero comic is that it’s all been done before and the personality of the character is set. Both Marvel and DC have started parallel universes over the years where creators can approach these characters in fresh ways. DC’s Earth One books have looked at Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Teen Titans in recent years and next up is Green Lantern.

Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko present a Harold (Hal) Jordan who is an astronaut working for a for-profit space mining company. Gone is the cocky fighter pilot of the regular comics and in his place is a serious, competent man trying to do a job and uphold some ethical standards while doing it. When he and his partner stumble upon a wrecked spacecraft with a dead alien and an inactive robot aboard, the pieces of the Green Lantern mythos start to fall in to place.

Soon Hal is in possession of a ring that gives him untold power, but he doesn’t know how to use it. This Hal is unsure of himself and I found myself rooting for and caring for this Hal in ways I never have in the regular comic. I longed for an extended story arc showing Hal figuring out how to use his ring. Alas, the structure of the Earth One books doesn’t allow for a longer arc and soon, Hal is leading Green Lanterns from around the universe in a quest to defeat the robotic Manhunters in order to free a giant battery that powers their rings. There are some interesting storytelling beats, but in general, this turns into a traditional Green Lantern story where Hal must rebuild the Green Lantern Corps. I’m hopeful that there are some interesting places Hardman and Bechko can take us in future volumes.

Hardman’s artwork is detailed and muddy at the same time. He uses straight lines and cross-hatching to build the world. This works well for a story set in space and creates an oppressive, intense feeling like one would get in an Alien movie. The danger is palpable. Bechko and Hardman create some interesting looking aliens as well, though Killowog, Sinestro, and other traditional Green Lanterns look very familiar. Hardman and Bechko have a lot of experience with science-fiction and space comics including runs on Star Wars and Planet of the Apes, and they are good choices to handle this Green Lantern reboot.

Any library with a teen collection or strong superhero collections should consider adding this title. If you have the previous Earth One volumes, this is a must have. There is violence and death, but it’s not gratuitous or bloody. It is appropriate for teen collections. The Earth One volumes come as durable hardcovers without sleeves and hold up well for library use.

Green Lantern: Earth One, vol. 1
by Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko
Art by Gabriel Hardman
ISBN: 9781401241865
DC, 2018
Publisher Age Rating: 13+

  • Mark

    | He/Him Young Adult Librarian, Cedar Mill Library

    Reviewer

    Mark Richardson is the Young Adult Librarian at the Cedar Mill Library in Portland Oregon where he selects adult and young adult graphic novels, YA fiction & nonfiction, video games and adult music for the library. He also plans lots of activities for local teens ranging from art contests to teen trivia to Pokemon parties. If this sounds like a dream job, it is. Sometimes he has to pinch himself to make sure he really gets to do all of this. He’s been reading comics for as long as he can remember and has been known to present an occasional conference sessions on graphic novels at the Oregon Library Association’s annual conference.

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