or, Geoff Johns, the Master of the RetCon


Green Lantern #30 was highly anticipated in the Hill household, as I would get to see part 2 of what I believe to be a 3 part origin story, and it didn’t disappoint. Beautiful artwork, beautiful storytelling, and just the right amount of twist to give the story a new breath of fresh air.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Green Lantern origin story is one of the greatest there is. It is simple, uncomplicated; Abin Sur crashes, Hal Jordan is brave. What more do you want?

But the GL origin story was, more often than not, part of a greater story. This time, it is the story!

greenlantern30cover.jpgSurprisingly enough, this story’s main focus is not actually on Hal Jordan, as he only plays a backing role to our lead, Abin Sur. Abin Sur was the red dude who, in the original origin story, crash landed on Earth, and gave Hal his ring.

Now, we find out just what he was doing near Earth, why he was flying a ship and not using his ring, and what caused him to crash. These are not questions that become immediately apparent to you when you read the original story, because your focus is on Hal. But years later, when someone like Geoff Johns uses these unanswered questions for his own purposes, you wonder why you hadn’t picked up on it earlier.

This issue opens up with Abin Sur, steering his vessel – give him credit though, he’s at least using the ring, not his hands, to move the steering column – towing a prisoner along with him, and conversing with none other than Sinestro. And we find out that the two of them apparently have a very deep bond, something that I at least was unaware of.

We then swap to the many complaints of Hal Jordan, who is now working on airplanes, rather than flying them (and subsequently crashing them). He’s soon confronted with the desire to fly again, only to find that not only will his new boss not let him, but that he will soon have a new boss entirely; Carol Ferris.

Hal then encounters the being that will change his life forever, as he is ripped away from memories by Abin Sur’s ring, and deposited by the side of the dying alien. Abin Sur has been tricked in to his own death, which adds only another layer of emotional grief in to this issue, which has already focused on the losses that Hal has suffered – his father, and now his flight.

It is at this point, the beautiful splash page where Abin Sur asks Hal “Do you accept this duty?” that I want to take a moment to comment on Ivan Reis’ art. He gets stronger with every issue that he draws, and was a man born to draw Hal Jordan. Others have made mention of it, and I will do so too, the page where Hal climbs in to the wreck of what I believe to be his father’s plane. This page is the epitome of the emotion I mentioned earlier, and you really feel for Hal, even if he might have deserved it.

Carol Ferris’ entrance is absolutely stunning as well, and makes for one of the most beautiful women drawn in comics for many a year. And I say this not because it seems she’s going to bust through her top at any moment, but because of the lines and shadows that seem to add a touch of realism to the art.

As for what I didn’t like, they are few, and hard looked for. Hal seems to be a moron in that scene where he buzzes Laminski, when in reality I’m fairly certain Hal wouldn’t be so careless with another pilot’s life, no matter how much he didn’t like him. And who is Hector Hammond, and why am I supposed to know who he is? Also, why does Abin Sur look like a red version of the little men from Oa?

Hal Jordan’s origin story is no doubt being entirely used and abused for the sole purpose of setting up The Blackest Night storyline that is coming. But you know what, I don’t think anyone actually cares! Geoff Johns has done such a masterful job of retelling this story, never bastardizing the story, always keeping the changes subtle, that it works perfectly.

And, as DC will no doubt love to hear, has only heightened my anticipation for Final Crisis, and in particular, the Green Lanterns storyline. Green Lantern, issue #30 get’s a 4 out of 5 on the artwork, and a 4 on the story.


The Author

Joshua Hill

Joshua Hill

I'm an aspiring author who just happens to also work on the web, reporting on the environmental research and science at Planetsave.com that makes sense of the climate change hype, reviewing fantasy books at FantasyBookReview, because I love fantasy books and want to tell you all about it. I also blog over at Life As A Human and at Extralife.

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  1. ykw
    May 6, 2008 at 2:50 pm — Reply

    Hector Hammond is the over-craniumed immobile psychic powerhouse with an extremely creepy fixation on Hal’s personal life:


  2. May 6, 2008 at 3:16 pm — Reply

    If you read Emerald Dawn, you would know why Abin Sur crashed…but I guess that retcon is being retconned.

  3. May 6, 2008 at 5:18 pm — Reply

    Hector has appeared in THIS run of Green Lantern previously as well as having Silver Age origins…

  4. Alex Jay Berman
    May 6, 2008 at 5:40 pm — Reply

    I had a slight nitpick with this issue; I think that they should have kept the “Hal is flown to Abin Sur in a non-flying trainer/simulator” bit, as it slightly exculpates Hal of any wrongdoing in the way of desertion (well, “absenteeism”, since the retconned Hal is privately-employed rather than a serviceman). This way, you have the possibility of people just believing Hal to have run off, and makes it all the harder for him to get back behind the stick of a real plane again.

    (Of course, the whole flying simulator bit would make it easier for base personnel to connect the dots and realize that Hal=GL, but still.)

    I DO like Johns making Carol herself a pilot; moves her away from the stereotypical admiring-yet-bitchy-rich-girl type, and gives her more character oomph.

  5. Baal
    May 6, 2008 at 9:02 pm — Reply

    I miss the losingbattle with the yellow billboard…

  6. Carl
    May 7, 2008 at 10:27 am — Reply

    Actually, it was only in recent years that Hal was portrayed with any military background. He was a civilian working for Ferris in all of his origin stories.

    Also, the “why” of Abin Sur in a ship has been addressed several times in the past, as well.

  7. Scar
    May 7, 2008 at 2:54 pm — Reply

    As much as I love Geoff John’s work I don’t think it’s fair to credit him with the whole ‘Why does Abin Sur fly a ship rather than ride a ring’ question.
    Alan Moore offered an explanation in Tales of the Green Lantern Corps Annual #2.
    In fact elements of that issue made it into the Sinestro Wars. In particular; Sodam Yat.

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