When it was announced at San Diego Comic-Con this summer that Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp would be launching a new Green Lantern title, there was an understandably high level of hype associated with that news. Morrison has been absent from monthly superhero comics for a few years, and Sharp is a rising star whose most recent work was on a low-profile miniseries. The Green Lantern #1 debuts this week, and, after receiving an early peek at the issue, we are here to say that the hype was absolutely deserved.
There are a lot of reasons to be excited about the start of The Green Lantern though. It delivers an impeccable pedigree of creators, ideas, history, and style, combining a lot of excellent individual elements together into one of the most promising new series to come out of DC Comics since the launch of the Rebirth line. We have taken a look at the first issue and what it signals about the future to provide a breakdown of the top 10 reasons why this is one new series that cannot be missed. Whether or not you’re a fan of Green Lantern, Morrison, or Sharp, all of them come together to make The Green Lantern #1 one of the most thrilling debuts of 2018.
A promise for bigger and better can be found in almost every superhero event today, which makes the premise of The Green Lantern #1 refreshing. The series focuses on Hal Jordan’s role as a space cop. He is an agent of order tracking down criminals across his sector of the galaxy. While there are hints of bigger things to come, the series is surprisingly focused on this arrangement from the Silver Age and why it still works well after multiple decades.
In the past decade stories of the Green Lanterns have focused more on the fantasy appeal of the concept than the science fiction. An emotional spectrum, ancient legends, and legendary totems felt more like the work of J.K. Rowling than Heinlein or Herbert. This series refocuses on the sci-fi grounding of Green Lantern and deploys one law of physics to great effect in the first issue. The recent “Earth One” story of Hal Jordan has shown how even this magical ring can tell a great sci-fi story, and that’s the direction The Green Lantern is heading.
The Green Lantern Corps is organized into 3,600 sectors of space with each possessing two Green Lanterns. That is a massive organization and one that has only shown off a dozen or so central characters recently. This relaunch is not hesitating to introduce new members of the Corps and celebrate the diversity of a police force covering every sentient race and planet in all of space. The Green Lantern Corps feels every bit as big as it claims to be in The Green Lantern.
Along with that expansive vision of the Green Lantern Corps comes a lot of Green Lanterns who don’t resemble the typical cast of aliens. Unlike the denizens of the Mos Eisley cantina, this force is comprised of lifeforms that don’t resemble humanity in the slightest. The Green Lantern #1 introduces a sentient virus and mentions unique members like those composed entirely of light or those without any conception of sight or color. It’s clear this series is going to include every form of life imaginable, and maybe some we might not have already imagined.
When Grant Morrison joins a monthly title, you can always rely on him to provide a definitive take that will be referenced for decades to come. His work on titles like JLA, New X-Men, and Batman have all become central in discussions of those massive properties. While The Green Lantern #1 delivers a relatively simple story, the tone and approach already feels unique. This is only the beginning of something that may define Green Lantern lore for decades to come.
Liam Sharp’s work at DC Comics has been some of the most detailed and striking to emerge in the Rebirth era, and it’s clear in The Green Lantern #1 that he is just getting started. Designs of new characters stand out and his action sequences streak across the panels, even with so much fine linework present. While his ability to bring characters into stark relief has never been in doubt, Sharp is clearly growing as a storyteller and this debut is a big celebration of his place in the future of superhero comics.
The Green Lantern #1 does pull the Book of Oa back into the spotlight. This text was the source of Alan Moore’s contributions to this franchise and the point from which much of Geoff Johns’ extensive run on the concept sprang. Its return suggests a grander story in the outing, one that will build from the past in order to define its vision of the present. This could also offer a chance for more short stories to grow the lore of the Corps in interesting new directions.
Even while suggesting that a larger story is beginning, The Green Lantern #1 remains very focused on telling its own tale. It delivers an issue that can be read and enjoyed without needing to know the long history of Hal Jordan or worrying about what comes next. This approach is exceedingly rare in superhero comics today and serves as far greater encouragement to return for #2 than any number of crossovers or multiple unresolved plot threads.
We recently assembled a list of great villains for this run, but one thing The Green Lantern #1 makes clear is that we should also expect to encounter a lot of new bad guys. There are three notable new antagonists in this issue alone who make it clear how much potential policing all of space holds to find new challenges. Morrison and Sharp are both plenty inventive and their work together will likely produce a long list of great new villains for the Green Lantern Corps and all of DC Comics.
All of these reasons stack up to the biggest one: The sky isn’t even the limit for The Green Lantern. The very first issue introduces loads of new characters, both members of the Corps and interstellar criminals. It toys with concepts of language, physics, and prophecy, refocusing the series on its sci-fi roots without losing track of history. Throughout all of this it tells a great superhero story in a single issue, not only revealing promise but simultaneously delivering on that promise. The Green Lantern #1 is the rare debut issue that lives up to the hype, and that’s why we are psyched for its debut and everything to follow.