With the release of DC’s May Solicitations, it has been revealed that Geoff Johns’ run on Green Lantern is ending at 9 years with issue #20. (Yes, that sounds weird.) This news brings up mixed emotions in me. On the one hand, Johns has been on the title for a very long time, and it may be good to let someone step in and take control of the title. On the other hand, I’ve really enjoyed Johns’ run on the title, and there is the worry that I may not enjoy whoever replaces him.
Geoff Johns began his run on Green Lantern with the Rebirth mini-series. This mini-series is what ended Hal Jordan being The Spectre, and brought him back to life, and back to being a Green Lantern. Throughout the early part of his run, his stories dealt with the difficulty of Hal being alive again, considering what he did as Paralax before his death. Then there was the most notable story in his run, the crossover Sinestro Corps War. This story would launch the Sinestro Corps, wielding yellow rings powered by fear, and would expand to create corps for the rest of the light spectrum. Later on, we would get Blackest Night, War of the Green Lanterns, Rise of the Third Army, and lastly (soon to start) Wrath of the First Lantern.
And while I will dig deeper into the details of his run, I want to use now to discuss what it meant to me as a comic reader. To put it simply, Green Lantern: Rebirth is one of the things that got me back into comics. I had never really bought monthly comics (floppies) before this series. Hell, The last trades I had even bought before this was Batman: No Man’s Land, and that was in high school. I watched Hal Jordan’s decent into madness following the destruction of Coast City in The Reign of the Supermen, through his death in Zero Hour. (Because it really is a better death than in Final Night.) Then at last there was the attempt at redemption when Hal Jordan became The Spectre.
Now Geoff Johns didn’t write any of that. In fact, there are likely many that believe he tarnished all of that by bringing Hal back to life. I do not view it that way. I view it simply as a continuation of what had come before. Hal had hit rock bottom, and was traveling the road to redemption. At some point, he needs to be redeemed. Completing Hal’s redemption allows his story to continue to progress, and frees up The Spectre to once again become the spirit of vengeance. And it would have been easy for Johns to simply bring back Hal, and just write it as if nothing had ever happened before. But he didn’t.
The first two years of issues dealt with Hal proving to his colleagues on Earth and in the Green Lantern Corps that he was no longer Paralax, and would do what he could to make it up to the people he had harmed. That’s a fun topic to write. It doesn’t make for rousing adventures. But in the journey of Hal Jordan, it was something that needed to be done. The character needed to keep growing from what had already been done.
Foolishly, I quit buying Green Lantern for a while during that, and didn’t pick it back up until hearing about how great the Sinestro Corps War story was. In hindsight, I regret that. (Sure, now I own the trades of everything I missed.) Once I picked it back up, Green Lantern became a book that I looked forward to reading every month. After so long, it will be strange seeing someone else’s name listed as the writer of the book.