Green Lantern: Secret Origin

Oh Green Lantern, how I’ve missed you.

I didn’t even realize I missed him until reading this comic.  He hasn’t been around much, popping into a JLA trade here and there but otherwise remaining completely absent.

I tell ya, the nerve of some superheroes.

(I’m writing this after too little sleep and too much caffeine, so this post may be a little punchy.)

I feel like I’m starting to repeat myself in these blogs, what with all of the new origin stories that have been popping up.  This trade is no different, with more detail and emotion being injected into Hal Jordan’s initiation  into the Green Lantern Corp.

This trade gives us more detail about Hal’s life before becoming a Green Lantern.  We learn that his father was a pilot who died during flight, and that as a result Hal longed to be a pilot as well, even though his mother forbade it.

Ignoring her wishes, Hal enrolls in the US Air Force on his 18th birthday.  He’s an arrogant, reckless individual, often showing off in his plane and disobeying direct orders.

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This was the first time I had seen any real backstory for Hal Jordan, and I found it extremely interesting.  Whereas Green Lantern had always been a somewhat flat character (insomuch that he always seemed like a hero first, regular guy distant second), here we get to learn what drives him, what makes him who he is.  By the time Hal actually inherits the Green Lantern ring, the reader has a pretty decent idea of what type of man he is.

Once Hal receives the ring from Abin Sur, he is forcibly flown upwards by its power, to which he has perhaps the best response ever:

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Because how else would you react if an alien handed you a ring that unexpectedly shot you up into the air??

After this, a good portion of the trade consists of Hal attempting to learn how to handle his newfound power while balancing it with his inherent arrogance.  He is flown to OA where he is trained alongside other Green Lanterns.

(Also, apparently humans are the lowest of the low in the universe.  None of the other Green Lanterns can believe that a human was given the power ring.  What did we do??  Nothing like a comic to try to knock world arrogance down a notch or two.)

The basic core of the story remains the same as the original Green Lantern origin.  What sets this one apart is the detail given to tie the world together.  We’re given details about Abin Sur’s mission prior to his crash on Earth, we learn more about Green Lantern’s initiation and training, we even get to see an embattled, realistic relationship develop between Hal and Carol Ferris.  Most notably, we learn about the early role Sinestro played in Hal Jordan’s new life:

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A part of me really wishes I didn’t already know Sinestro eventually turns into a baddie, because that would have made his transformation that much more shocking.  As it stands, it was still fascinating to see him mentoring Hal Jordan, knowing what hated enemies they would one day become.  I actually found Sinestro to be one of the most likable characters in this trade, often more likable than Hal himself.

I loved the way this trade teased future events while still leaving plenty unsaid.  It raises questions that will undoubtedly be answered in future issues.  One of my favorite scenes involved Hal facing the Guardians of the Universe, to which he questions their entire edict.  He accuses them of fear, noting that the power rings are useless against yellow and all of the buildings on OA just happen to be yellow as well.  This, coupled with the earlier revelation that androids turned against the corp once before, made Hal’s otherwise random accusations perfectly reasonable.  I’m glad this comic wasn’t afraid to delve deeper into the Green Lantern lore, taking nothing for granted and raising questions voicing doubts that readers would undoubtedly have.

As soon as I finished this trade, I texted Misah J to make sure that he has all of the trades that continue this storyline.  Mercifully, he does.  I’m not sure where exactly they fall on “the shelf”, but I’m hoping I won’t have to wait long.  I’m dying to learn more about Green Lantern’s origin and see just how everything presented in this collection ties the world together.

-Jess

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