Graphic Novel Review: Green Lantern: Secret Origin

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WHEN washed-up test pilot Hal Jordan is chosen by dying alien Abin Sur to inherit the most powerful weapon in the universe, he discovers a new focus as a member of intergalactic police force the Green Lantern Corps…

It’s a simple premise owing much to its 1950s origins, with Jordan himself modelled on Paul Newman, and takes inspiration from science fiction literature of the period. But in this recent retelling, released to tie in with this summer’s blockbuster movie, writer Geoff Johns crafts a tale which firmly roots the Green Lantern mythos in the 21st century, and shows the first faltering steps in a career which will become legendary.

Any flaws in Jordan’s character aren’t introduced without cause, adding depth to his desire to take to the skies and his subsequent enthusiasm for his new role as a space-faring ring-bearer, assigned to police an entire sector of the galaxy with the aid of his incredible power ring, a device which brings his very thoughts to life.

But Hal’s mentor in the Corps is the pink-skinned Sinestro, who adopts much more of a hard-line approach to his work, demanding obedience and fealty from the inhabitants of his sector. It is the clash between their ideologies which forms the focus not only of this story, but subsequent clashes between two friends who end up as bitter arch enemies.

Over the last five years, Johns has succeeded in reshaping Green Lantern as one of DC Comics’ best-selling titles, offering planet-spanning epics alongside deeply personal character arcs, and it might be argued that Hal Jordan’s glow could even threaten to eclipse staplemates like Wonder Woman and The Flash, if not Superman and Batman. But outside the comics industry, and indeed the United States, he has failed to crossover into mainstream perception, and the success of the forthcoming movie outside of America remains uncertain.

For new readers looking for a perfect introduction to the character and series, this book is indispensible. With a specially designed cover featuring the film’s star Ryan Reynolds, together with extra features explaining more about Jordan’s world, it’s the ideal tie-in to accompany GL’s celluloid adventures.