The Earth One Graphic Novel series is a place where writers can take time-tested DC characters and have some creative freedom to tell some great stories. Superman Earth One had the epic feel of an unused series of Superman movies that probably exist in another world. Now it’s the turn of the Emerald Knight, Green Lantern in Green Lantern Earth One.
So for those who aren’t familiar with Green Lantern, here’s the quick rundown; Hal Jordan is a member of The Green Lantern Corps, an organisation of space police officers who are gifted with a power ring that acts as a supercomputer, flight device, and can generate energy constructs.
First things first, let’s talk about Green Lantern Earth One‘s story. Departing from the comic, our tale is set in the future, like a decade or so away. Hal Jordan is an astronaut with the spirit of Starfleet to boldly go where no man has gone before. Though it turns out no one else wants to do that and he’s ended up as a miserable miner wandering around the solar system mining asteroids.
Things change forever when he finds a Green Lantern Ring and meets fellow Lantern Kilowog who introduces him to a world where Manhunters rule many worlds and the lanterns are scattered and lost.
Overall, Green Lantern Earth One‘s story feels like an early draft for a Green Lantern movie from the early 2000s since it departs so vastly from the source material. The good news is that it does have a strong beginning, middle and end, and the sense this the first one in a long series that seems to be going somewhere interesting. Hal is an interesting character is he’s haunted by inaction from his past.
Where the story goes a little limp is with the action. The Green Lantern ring is a device where the wearer can literally create anything – from robots to whoopie cushions. The limit is the wearer’s imagination. So it’s a bit bleak when Hal and co don’t do anything with the rings at all, except flying and firing energy beams. Though I guess volume 2 can correct that.
So let’s talk about the art.
Gabriel Hardman employs a heavily shaded technique that brings the emotions in the characters’ faces alive and creates a real grungy and live-in tone to his art in Green Lantern Earth One. The benefits of this style mean anything mechanic or out of this world looks top drawer. For example, the Manhunter robots have never looked so cool and intimidating.
Any part of the story that takes place on another really alien planet looks great with the alien characters drawn in a realistic style and not that of a cartoon.
Where the art is let down, however, is when it comes to portraying our lead, Hal Jordan. Hal’s face is constantly fluctuating and I don’t mean the fact that he grows a beard. His face at one point looks like Joe Flanigan from Stargate Atlantis for a few pages, then it morphs into the face that feels more at home with an early 2000s boy band.
Also, I know the whole point of these Earth One books is to try and do something different with these characters, but I don’t like the fact that Hal doesn’t have a uniform. The boring spacesuit he wears is dull and unmemorable, a hero is supposed to have an iconic look and not blend into the background.
Overall Green Lantern Earth One is a fun addition to the series with promise for the future. It’s a little slow, but the great artwork should be enough to get you through it.