Green Lantern: Rebirth #1
DC Comics (2014? the “DC Comics Essentials” version on comiXology version is “chapter 1 of the trade” and no longer available)
WRITER: Geoff Johns
ARTIST: Evan Van Sciver
COLORIST: Moose Baumann
LETTERER: Rob Leigh
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Steve Wacker
EDITOR: Peter Tomasi
Two guys trying to break into an abandoned airbase are met with a spaceship carrying what appears to be a dying Kyle Rayner. Unaware of this event John and Guy attempt to take in a baseball game with Hal, who at this time was the new host for the Spectre, which makes the experience awkward when the whole stadium is suddenly confessing their sins to him. He leaves and later appears at Green Arrow’s place when Black Hand attempts to steal a spare power ring, the Spectre turning his hand to coal as punishment. (This is why I don’t buy the Spectre as God’s “spirit of vengeance” given my Christian beliefs, but that’s what the character has been literally from the beginning.) Hal says it’s all wrong, and he’s trying to control the Spectre as he leaves. Later, the roads of Coast City suddenly appear along with Hal’s old apartment and Guy’s Vuldarian DNA starts fighting against his own body. This convinces Batman that Hal is back to doing the Parallax thing of remaking things and John goes off on him until Green Arrow tells them about Black Hand. While all this is going on Carol is visiting her closed airplane testing place where she runs into Hal.
What they got right: I do enjoy the art and as a summary of events the scenes that do that do it well.
What they got wrong: You can already feel how hard the reset button is being pressed on this one. You have Guy Gardner losing his Vuldarian heritage, John going back to a more in-your-face attitude in his reaction to Batman, something Guy brings up during their oddly long talk in the hallway, Coast City being restored, and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they had killed Kyle here and despite showing Carol involved with someone named Gil restoring the Hal/Carol romance wouldn’t be too farfetched given how she’s shown still at least caring about him. I know the way they destroyed Coast City and ruined Hal Jordan as a character didn’t sit well with a lot of people but you can redeem Hal without regressing all the character growth and changes. Then again, that was the problem with this and The Flash: Rebirth–regression and darkening of DC characters. It’s like the opposite of the post-New 52 “Rebirth” where they tried to course correct, but made the mistake of letting DiDio have full control back afterwards.
Recommendation: This story undid even the positive changes to the Green Lantern characters and thanks to the universal reboot we don’t even have to care about its place in GL history anymore. That doesn’t mean I’m giving it a hard skip mind you, but this issue at least is just about setting up the reboot to follow, making it hard to recommend on its own and not giving me personally any reason to follow up on it. If the lore doesn’t bother you then you may get more out of it than I did, if only for the art.