The Rebirth initiative is on at DC! With a whopping four books released this week, It’s time to get to what’s going on with our favorite characters and what new twists and turns they’ll face going onto the next big event. So let’s start this off for our new segment, The Rebirth Files, your unofficial stop for all things Rebirth related!
…Actually, no. You see, I was going to this whole Rebirth Files thing, until I found out that my local comic book store had sold out of Superman: Rebirth #1, Batman: Rebirth #1, and Green Arrow: Rebirth #1. While I do plan on finding and reading each of those, the realization of how much hunting I’d have to do to make the Rebirth Files work as a concept (along with the more tactile financial necessities of such a project), I’ve decided to scrap that and generally play “catch as catch can” with DC’s Rebirth. As such, let’s talk about Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 and see if it’s a bright light or a long dark tunnel.
The story is this:
He’s a headstrong Muslim man just recently cleared of bunk terrorism charges! She’s a neurotic Latina formerly possessed by the power of the life sucking Green Ring! Together, Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz are the protectors of sector 2814: the (5th and 6th, respectively) Green Lanterns of Earth!
Well, together in the “they’re both Green Lanterns” sense, no in any “they’re close knit partners” or “they even know the other exists” sense. After and encounter with a Manhunter android is revealed to be a test they both failed, Hal Jordan (first Earth member of the Green Lantern Corps) merges both their power batteries together and gets them to work as a team, with the Justice League as their trainers since the Corps is MIA and Hal’s off to look for them.
Oh, and there’s some talk from Atrocitus about a lost Guardian and a mysterious new ring that can grant him his greatest wish, but I’m sure that’s not important.
Now I never read any of the New52 Green Lantern stuff until I randomly picked up Green Lantern #51 because it had a cover by John Romita Jr. As such, I don’t have the whole story on Simon or his struggles with the Feds or how Jessica became a Green Lantern and freed herself from the Green Ring’s influence. And honestly, I don’t care. Neither does Green Lanterns: Rebirth for the most part. We get some catch up with Simon and the penitent G-man who accused him of terrorism and Jessica meeting her sister and getting out of her apartment, but this issue is essentially all set up.
From what we see of Simon and Jessica though…I think this’ll work. It strikes as slightly cliché (one hard-headed with anger issues, another completely unsure of their new power) but this “buddy cop” dynamic, for lack of a better word, is something that has plenty of potential.
Also, I think it was the smart choice to go with the two newest Green Lanterns for this book. They’re both new enough that not much has been done with them, so it’s a chance for taking these characters in new and interesting directions. Plus, speaking as a black man, it’s always nice to see people of the non-white persuasion headline a book.
The writing is pretty good all around. Johns doesn’t seem to be leaning so heavily on the cheese or the exposition this time round, though that may just be because he has a writing partner in Sam Humphries. The “Red Dawn” and mysterious new ring are pure Johns, I have no doubt about that. I don’t know Sam Humphries as well as Johns, but I suspect the dialogue of Baz and Cruz is certainly him, since they have a different flow from how Johns writes, if that makes any sense.
The art is good but nothing too spectacular. I know Ed Benes from his work on the Justice League of America: The Tornado’s Path, and his work here is as, well, “serviceable” , for lack of a better word, as it was in that book. And I’ve been a fan of Ethan Van Sciver ever since Green Lantern: Rebirth, and he brings just the right amount of slickness and detail he did there. It’s just sad he only did about a few pages and not all the book.
All in all, I give Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 and 8 out of 10. It’s got me excited for how the Green Lantern books are going. That hasn’t happened to me in a very long while, and I hope I’m not proven wrong.