It's clear to see why the Earth One line has generally been a success for DC. Allowing creators to riff on their favorite properties with a slightly more accessible angle in mind has allowed for talented people to take some interesting stabs at the DC canon.
Green Lantern: Earth One (opens in new tab) was no exception, eschewing many superhero elements in favor of a broader sci-fi approach. But with so many of the facts of the world established, Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman can't ease audiences back in the same way with their second volume (opens in new tab). Hal Jordan is a superhero now, and he's going to act like one. That's not a knock on this sequel, as I think it's a worthy successor to the first one, but it is a bit of a different flavor.
Written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Art by Gabriel Hardman and Jordan Boyd
Lettering by Simon Bowland
Published by DC
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10
In many ways, Bechko and Hardman try to keep the elements of the story as grounded as possible. We open with humanity making contact with aliens and a lot of space station business before reminding us this is, in fact, a Green Lantern book. But from the moment that Hal shows up, the book doesn't slow down for a second. How well that works for you depends on how much you remember or liked the first volume and how familiar you are with Green Lantern as a property. The arrival of the Yellow Lanterns signifies an inevitable heel turn, but Bechko and Hardman are smart to tie them to a different fan-favorite as well.
The plotting itself is all over the place — full of dimensional rifts, the end of the Manhunters, and the mystery of the Guardian of the Yellow Lanterns. But everything resolves itself fairly quickly, considering this is meant to be read in one sitting. That's where reader experience comes into play — either you're experiencing whiplash at the sheer amount of information you're receiving and some of it doesn't seem to be all that big a deal, or you are nodding along as things play out fairly close to how you expect them to.
Hardman's art is really made for the inky depths of space. This feels like the big-budget sci-fi blockbuster you wish WB would make with this property. I especially love the textures that Hardman uses on his pages — whether it's the use of zip-a-tone filters for his shadows or the obvious brushstrokes that can be seen in his work, there's a tangible quality to the art that makes everything feel a bit more lived in and realistic. Considering Hardman's past work, it's hard not to think that this is where he feels at home. If there's anything that takes away from it, it's colorist Jordan Boyd's unfortunate use of yellow all over the book. It's not his fault — the book features Yellow Lanterns, after all — but their presence ruins the balance of the book's visuals.
There's a lot of fun to be had in Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 2. It doesn't feel as impactful as the first volume, and with less room for reimagining, so in that way feels almost more like DC's monthly comics output — a little bit bare, a little unsubstantial. But it introduces more elements that could make for a compelling third volume, and it's still an enjoyable superhero sci-fi mashup, to boot. If you want Green Lantern without the weight of so much continuity, this is a breezy companion to the first volume — and that's not a bad thing.