Green Lantern hits theaters this weekend, but there’s still time to catch up on Hal Jordanâ€™s adventures and all the numerous characters that inhabit his corner of the DC Universe before you see the film, which stars Ryan Reynolds in the title role.
Since the creation of the second Green Lantern in 1959, heâ€™s gone on numerous adventures, died, been reborn, been replaced by three other characters, and fought Sinestro more than a few times. However, many of you may have never read any stories with him before, as I had until a few years ago. Whereâ€™s the best place to catch up, you may be asking. Well, here are four collections of Green Lantern stories that I recommend reading before you see the movie.
I havenâ€™t seen one frame of the film yet, but judging by the cast of the film, and the inclusion of Hector Hammond as a major villain in the piece, Iâ€™m going to bet that this 6 issue storyline from Green Lantern #29-35 will be the major basis for the films plot. The is Geoff Johnâ€™s take on the characters origin, giving us new versions of his first interaction with Carol Ferris, Hammond, Sinestro, and the rest of the Corp. Featuring the clean line work of Ivan Reis, this story set up a lot of things that would pay off in Blackest Night, as well as giving an updated version of the characters background for a new generation. If there is one book to read before the film comes out, this is the one to read. Available now in trade paperback as well as a hardcover edition.
For a long period, starting with Kyle Raynorâ€™s (the fourth human Green Lantern) introduction, Hal Jordan was relegated to an odd place in the DC Universe. He was either running around killing folks as Parallax, or he was running around killing folks (as Godâ€™s vengeance) as The Spectre. But Geoff Johnâ€™s had big plans for him, and the first thing he needed to do was get Hal back in the world of the living, and he did that in 6 issues with Green Lantern: Rebirth. Johnâ€™s found a way to elegantly bring back Hal, he reset Sinestro as a villain worth fearing, and set up plot points that we are still seeing fulfilled. Fans lamented at the time how long it took to get the issues out, but nobody cares about it now that they can dive into Ethan Van Sciverâ€™s pencils, which launched him into a string of high profile books. Available in trade paperback as well as a recently released Absolute edition, this is the best place to start if you want to start reading the current GL stories.
As GL: Rebirth was used to bring Hal Jordan back into the DC Universe, Recharge was used to bring back the concept of the Green Lantern Corps. After having been destroyed by Jordan when he went all Parallax crazy, the Corps has now expanded to have 2 members in each of its 3600 sectors. This book sets up the place to read about fellow human Lanterns Kyle Raynor, Guy Gardner, and John Stewart, as well as the more alien members of the Corp like Kilowog, Salaak, and the Guardians of the Universe. This will be your whoâ€™s who for when Hal Jordan begins his training during the movie. You canâ€™t tell one alien space cop from another with out reading this book.
If youâ€™re looking to start from the characters earliest adventures in the 60â€™s this is the place to read those stories. Starting with Showcase #22, this cheap black and white reproduction collects the first twenty or so issues featuring Hal and introducing many of his classic villains. Some of the stories may not hold up well, and a lot of the stories have been ret-conned away, but there are some classic stories with art by Gil Kane. Available now at the low, low price of $20 (or less). If you want to see some of these stories in color, check out the Green Lantern Chronicles, which have less issues, and are a bit more expensive, but are in color. Or you can check out the Green Lantern Omnibus, which will be out in November and will feature all the stuff in Showcase Volume 1, in color and in a nice hardcover, but will set you back $75, which may be a bit too expensive for casual fans.
Reign of the Supermen: See the destruction of Coast City that would end with Hal Jordan becoming Parallax and his eventual death. Certainly not required reading, but is a big part of the characters history.
Emerald Twilight/New Dawn: Iâ€™m hoping the movie is a big success and if it is a huge success and actor Ryan Reynolds becomes too expensive to be in later films in the series, we might see this story which see Hal Jordan become the villain Parallax and the GL ring eventually handed over to young artist Kyle Raynor. Iâ€™m not saying weâ€™ll ever see this story translated to film, but it would be kid of a cool way to change lead actors in the series.
The Sinestro Corps Wars Vol. 1 and 2: I have to believe that anyone currently reading the series wants to see this as the plot for the next movie. Imagine a space battle on the scale of the big battle in The Return of The King and you get close. The only problem is that all those effects come at a cost which Iâ€™m thinking may be prohibitively expensive to see this brought to life on the screen. But, you figure itâ€™s one year till the first movie comes out, and another few years till any possible sequel comes out, and computers may be advanced enough that we could see this. I can always hold out hope.