Comic Review: Green Lantern #0
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Doug Mahnke
Inkers: Christian Alamy, Keith Champagne and Mark Irwin
Colourists: Tony Avina and Alex Sinclair
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Previously, in Green Lantern: The Guardians of the Universe have snapped, deciding that free will is the main source of chaos in the universe. As a result, they have decided that the Green Lantern Corps is obsolete, and needs to be replaced by their new Third Army, creatures created from Guardian flesh that replicate through touch, and possess no free will of their own.
Hal Jordan and Sinestro, two of the Green Lantern Corps who would have stood up to the Guardians’ insane plan, have been sucked into the Black Lantern ring of Black Hand, who himself has been imprisoned by the Guardians in the Chamber of Shadows, and Sinestro’s Green Lantern ring was sent out into the world in order to find a replacement Green Lantern.
Despite the fact that the whole idea behind Zero Month for the New 52 is to go back and re-tell the origins of the characters of each of the titles, there are those that are taking their own approach to this and writing something a little different. Green Lantern #0 is an example of this. Picking up from the end of the Green Lantern Annual last week, Sinestro and Hal are nowhere to be found, and instead we follow the life and times of Simon Baz, a Lebanese-American whose entire life is about overcoming fear in all its forms.
There is some very sensitive material in this issue, but Johns and crew handle it with the care it deserves, and weaves it into Simon’s back story very well, giving him his own motivations and hardships like all of the other Earth based Green Lanterns, as well as giving him more personality in one issue than John Stewart has gotten in the past six years of comic books. Whilst he isn’t instantly likeable, Simon is placed in a severe underdog position right from the off, and it does make it a little easier to empathize with.
It’s interesting that an entire issue of Green Lantern goes past with only one page having a Green Lantern ring on it. The strength of Johns’ storytelling means that this almost something that it isn’t even even something worth mentioning, with some tantalizing story beats put in motion here as well as a cliffhanger page that will probably confuse anyone who didn’t read the Green Lantern Annual, but will leave those loyal readers’ brains whirling around like crazy.
Doug Mahnke’s strength has always been drawing characters in costume, outrageous aliens, and the numerous members of the multiple Lantern Corps that have populated this book since its inception. However, normal human beings are something of a struggle for him. The main problem is the eyes of most characters – Mahnke has the uncanny ability to make everyone look glassy-eyed, as if their faces aren’t quite real. This is something that we usually avoid with Hal and Sinestro given their mask and alien appearance respectively, but in an issue with no masks to be seen, it becomes glaringly obvious.
Another Green Lantern has been born, and although we might not know everything about him just yet (or even having seen him in costume), there’s plenty of intrigue and mystery surrounding both Simon Baz and the continuing mis-adventures of Hal Jordan and Sinestro to make sure that readers of Green Lantern will be entertained by this issue. Unlike most of the other Zeros this month, this issue carries right on from the previous installment of the title without putting everything on hiatus, which will probably make it stand out even more when we look back at Zero Month as a whole. The final page may confuse new readers, but I think the bulk of this issue is strong enough that if they did want to use this issue as a jumping-on point to the Green Lantern universe, they could pick much worse places to start.
GO Rating: 4/5