For longer than most sentient races can remember, The Green Lantern Corps have served as an intergalactic peace-keeping force. Chosen from those few souls truly capable of overcoming great fear, The Green Lanterns are empowered by advanced alien technology that responds to the will of the wielder.
Yet despite the ancient legacy of The Corps, it is only recently that the people of Earth came to be considered for membership. Four Earthlings have served with distinction thus far… and another two have joined their ranks.
As a Muslim in the United States, Simon Baz experienced continual prejudice despite being a model student who worked his way through college and became an engineer. Forced into petty crime after being laid off from his job, he had the misfortune to steal a car full of explosives and to be accused of terrorism.
It was just after he had been deported to a secret prison for “enhanced interrogation” that a Green Lantern ring found him and his life changed forever. Now, Simon has his freedom, but at the cost of reporting all he learns about The Green Lanterns to the FBI. And that freedom has done nothing to make his or his family’s lives easier.
The sole survivor of an unfortunate hunting party that stumbled across a group of criminals dumping a body, one could understand Jessica Cruz being somewhat traumatized. Her fear, however, was something far stronger than the usual PTSD and Jessica became a shut-in and a doomsday prepper. She rarely left her apartment and then only to gather supplies as she waited for the end of the world.
Jessica’s anxiety made her the perfect host for the Ring of Volthoom – a twisted parody of a Green Lantern ring from another universe, which sought out the fearful and drained their life-force while prolonging their torment! But a selfless act of sacrifice on Jessica’s part destroyed the cursed artifact. More, it attracted a true Green Lantern ring, since Jessica had proven herself more than capable of “overcoming great fear.”
Simon and Jessica are both quite green (no pun intended) but Hal Jordan – the first Green Lantern of Earth – can’t spare the time to train them himself. The rest of the Green Lantern Corps has gone missing and Hal’s taking it upon himself to seek them out. Yet even now other forces are watching and plotting, thinking that the two rookies will be no threat to their sinister plans…
I stopped reading the various Green Lantern comics several years ago when it proved impossible to focus on any one book. It was not enough to read just Green Lantern or Green Lantern Corps – you also had to read Red Lanterns and The New Guardians to get the whole story, even when there wasn’t a crossover event! While it seems this will continue to be a problem post-Rebirth, it cannot be denied that Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 does a masterful job of introducing new readers to the Green Lantern mythos.
The script by Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries quickly establishes the premise of the series as well as Simon and Jessica’s respective backgrounds. I was already familiar with Simon from the last time I read Green Lantern but I had never been exposed to Jessica’s character before. Ignoring the events of Forever Evil, I love the novelty of “overcoming great fear” being taken literally and someone being chosen as a Green Lantern precisely because of how they cope with anxiety.
The artwork, alas, is not quite as good as the writing. Ethan Van Sciver performs at his usual high level of excellence, showcasing why he is considered by many to be the definitive Green Lantern artist. Strangely, Ed Benes’ pencils are uncharacteristically sloppy at times and his inks are too heavy. The difference between the two artists is noticeable and the visual continuity of the book is hurt as a result.
Despite this minor hiccup, Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 is still a good comic. Newcomers will have no trouble jumping into the story. And old-timers looking for a good place to jump back into the series will find that it’s like they never left.