Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
Ron Marz &
Chuck Dixon, writers,
various artists
(DC Comics, 1998)

Now, this is a great Green Lantern story!

Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, having just concluded a delightful little adventure in the 30th century, is sent back to his own time -- but, alas, his 30th-century friends overshoot the mark by 10 years and land him on the wrong planet, too. Oa, specifically, home to the smurf-like Guardians of the Galaxy, who are dead in Kyle's time but still very much alive 10 years in his past. So, too, is Hal Jordan, the late, great Green Lantern of Earth who -- until he went power-mad, killed the Guardians, wiped out the Green Lantern Corps, destroyed Oa and attempted to remake the entire universe in his own image before having a sudden attack of latent heroism and giving his own life to reignite Earth's dead sun -- was the greatest hero of the corps.

OK, yes, the storyline which laid poor Jordan low is a travesty. But let's let that slide for now, because at least we get to see Jordan back in action once again! He's 10 years younger, not yet mad and still by all accounts a good guy. And Rayner teams up with his idol to defeat the nasty pink villain Sinestro and save the Guardians from certain death (for now, anyway) before the Guardians send him back to his own time. But a last stray shot from Sinestro sends Jordan along for the ride, and soon he must cope with a world where he's remembered primarily as a villain.

But Jordan is nothing if not adaptive and, all kidding aside, this collection is one of the best runs of the Green Lantern series I've seen in years. It's fun, it's touching and it's downright good storytelling, particularly as Jordan interacts with Rayner, a trio of ex-GLs, members of the Justice League -- whose last memories of Jordan are mostly about trying to stop him from destroying the world -- and Connor Hawke, the son of Jordan's deceased friend Oliver Queen.

The artwork here is good, but the storytelling is great. While Jordan goes through great emotional turmoil -- and who wouldn't, given revelations like these? -- he never suffers the kind of all-encompassing angst that seems to paralyze some heroes now and again. Instead, he copes as best he can and he continues to do what he does best -- be a hero.

Unfortunately, we know this is too good to last. I'll let the final storyline be a secret, because anyone who likes the real Green Lantern -- as well as fans of his lesser replacement -- will want to savor this story without further clues.

Someday, perhaps DC will do the right thing and restore Hal Jordan to his rightful place in the DC universe. Until then, we have Emerald Knights to tide us over and show us how things could be someday....

[ by Tom Knapp ]
Rambles: 25 June 2001

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