Retconning the retcon


The Sinestro Corps War brought me back to the Green Lantern titles.  I soaked up every issue, rediscovering old friends, and meeting new ones.  It was enough for me to pull out my battered trade of Emerald Dawn and Emerald Dawn II to relive the origins of Hal Jordan, and his beginnings that would lead him to be the greatest Green Lantern of them all.  So when Geoff Johns and DC Comics announced the Secret Origin story arc for the Green Lantern book, I was a bit concerned.  Emerald Dawn and Emerald Dawn II aren’t that old, and to get a story that retcons the retcon could be problematic.

greenlantern35cover.jpgLet’s be clear with one another, Geoff Johns’ retelling of Hal Jordan’s origin is nothing more than a way to get the birth of the Red Lanterns into the Green Lantern Corps history, set up an earlier relationship with Sinestro, build a different origin for Hector Hammond and the Black Hand, all so Johns can explain everything in The Blackest Night.  That’s it, nothing more.  If you were expecting a story between the story originally told in Emerald Dawn, forget it.  For all practical purposes, Johns has erased the yellow robot Legion, torn down Hal’s inability to take responsibility for his actions, and tossed out the better first meeting of Sinestro and Jordan.

But is that such a bad thing?

After reading the concluding chapter in the Secret Origin story, I can say I do like some of the things Johns has done, and it does make a more solid story than a giant yellow robot running around.  But that is not to say Emerald Dawn still can’t be part of Hal’s origin.  At the end of the issue, Hal and his brother meet and Hal reveals he is the Green Lantern, giving his brother a journal of his first adventure.  For all we know the Legion story could be the story the collective we tell everyone based on bits and pieces picked up over the years, but only Hal’s journal recounts the real origin – something that has been kept hidden – a secret origin.

While I’ve begun at the end, the beginning is merely Sinestro and Hal being summoned to Oa to meet the Guardians of the Universe.  There are some great moments in the exchange as the old school try to scold the new, who promptly tells them they are the ones who are scared.  The upstart Hal does make some great points and it is enough for the Guardians to concede some of their discussions about the intermingling of Lanterns from different sectors.  This is a great little set up for the formation of the actions taken in the Green Lantern Corps, where we routinely see Lanterns assisting each other, regardless of sector boundaries.

The cool Easter Egg, is the mention of Ganthet, something that shocks the Guardians at first, but who quickly sweep it under the table.  Again, Johns is still acknowledging the past, without completely erasing it.  Oh, and watch for a mention of the guy in red and blue jammies, as it’s a nice touch to set up the period where super heroes were beginning to appear.

Art duties for the issue are handled by Ivan Reis, and he does a good job at it.  I especially like his treatment of the Oans, with their glowing eyes and scowls across their faces at all times.  His Carol Ferris won’t win him any good girl art competitions, but at least it makes her a bit more realistic.

I still have a fondness for that big goofy yellow robot.  I still wish the first encounter were held off for another time.  But I have to remember one thing; Emerald Dawn came out nearly 20 years ago.  If there is one thing I’ve learned, 20 years is the turn over period for new anything, which means the cycle must begin anew.

If you are going to retcon a retcon, then Geoff Johns is the guy you’d hire to do it.  I’m giving Green Lantern #35, 3.5 out of 5 Stars and the overall Secret Origin arc 3 out of 5 Stars.




About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


  1. as a marvel reader, i also picked up green lantern with sinestro corps war, and geoff johns is my favorite comic book writer ever. this issue was a good issue also, i dont mind the retcon cause i never really read emerald dawn, i appreciate it and the setup for the red lanterns who are gonna kick ass. only problem i have is i havent seen the comradarie between hal and sinestro who were supposedly best friends, i know they just met in the retcon and i could be looking to far into it, but i would like to see some mix matched partner quips. otherwise great work johns

  2. Again got into Green Lantern with Sinestro Corps War, never read Emerald Dawn, probably won’t based on the review of days ago. But my thing with the whole arc has been, did it really need to go on for this long? I wold have really like mabye 3 issues, and then more setup for the other corps, like this “Agent Orange” I’ve been hearing about.

  3. True sir, did the character “Pancho” exist before New Frontier? Or is it just a tip of the hat Johns through into the story.

  4. No sir, I was reffering to a passing mention on the page dealing with Hector Hammond. It goes “Heading down to Pancho’s with the guys.”

    P.S. Thank you for this bit of back and forth.

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