Green Lantern: Rebirth
by Geoff Johns
& Ethan Van Sciver
(DC Comics, 2005)

He turned evil and tried to destroy the world. He was killed by his closest friend, but came back even more powerful -- and more evil -- than before. He had a last-second change of heart and sacrificed himself to reignite the sun. His spirit was used to drive the earthly manifestation of the Wrath of God in a war against injustice. And he was replaced in his old job by a younger, hipper hero.

And yet, Hal Jordan's return as Green Lantern was always inevitable. The question was how -- and how well -- it would be done.

Geoff Johns succeeded admirably in Rebirth, a book that neatly reconciles the various personae of Hal Jordan in one man -- the one he was always meant to be.

As the story begins, Jordan's innate desire for justice and fair play is at odds with the Spectre's desire for pointed revenge. But as their internal conflict crests, the dormant personality of Parallax is revealed, still seeking ultimate power and corrupting the Spectre from within. Meanwhile, the various Green Lanterns of past and present relive their glory days, and the Justice League begins counting clues that seem to indicate that Jordan -- or Parallax -- is on the move. Some of the heroes -- Batman in particular -- are unable to trust Jordan after his wild grab at power and control.

But oh, the sight of Hal, a full-page panel of him back in his original costume, is magnificent.

Rebirth isn't just another chapter in the ongoing story of the Green Lantern Corps. It's an in-depth study of the mythology of the Guardians, the rings of power and the entities that bear them. It is a dazzling portrayal of personality and conflict, not just of Jordan and his immediate circle of friends, but of many familiar DC characters. And, it's a much-needed reinvention of Jordan himself -- the hero he was and, for many readers, always would be.

The art by Ethan Van Sciver is ultra-realistic, his lines are crisp, clean and startlingly expressive. Johns' story flows from the pages in bright colors and shadows, and the glowing green light of Lantern's power will dazzle your eyes with blinding intensity. The battles -- and there are many, large and small in scale -- are fiercely monumental, sufficient eye candy for any GL fan.

It's a brilliant story, artfully written and packaged, of incredible scope. Rebirth is truly one of DC's finest.

by Tom Knapp
17 December 2005

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