2020 marks the 80th anniversary of the first appearance of Green Lantern in the pages of All-American Comics. To celebrate the long success of the various versions of the emerald knight, DC has compiled ten stories from various writers and artists featuring every major lantern that has appeared since Alan Scott first donned the ring in 1940. I will be rating each story individually instead of the book as a whole this time around.
‘Dark Things Cannot Stand the Light’
Written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Gary Frank and Steve Oliff, the first story within this 100-page spectacular follows Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern. Scott is attempting to reconcile with the mother of a boy who died saving Allen in a train explosion, an explosion that Scott was the lone survivor of. It is a short, sweet story about helping others find the light within themselves. The art, particularly that from the panels covering the train explosion, is fantastic. This is my least favorite of the stories in this book mainly due to Alan Scott being my least favorite lantern.
Just like in comic history, Alan Scott’s story is followed by Hal Jordan’s, the silver age Green Lantern. Written by Green Lantern: Rebirth writer Geoff Johns with art from Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Alex Sinclair, Last Will sees Hal Jordan stranded on an unknown world with little power left in his ring. Believing this to be his end, he sends three messages, the first to the Green and Blue Lanterns, the second to Batman and the last to Carol Ferris. A humble story with a conclusion that blindsided me completely, I should not have expected anything else from Johns.
‘The Meaning of Fear’
Sinestro is seeking Green Lanterns that understand The Meaning of Fear at the beginning of this story. From Sinestro writer Cullen Bunn and artists Doug Mahnke and David Baron, the comic chronicles Sinestro’s time as the strongest member of the Green Lantern Corps before he became a yellow lantern. It was fun reading Cullen Bunn writing Sinestro again and the art, especially when Sinestro recreates a battle between him and Hal Jordan using his lantern ring, is spectacular.
The late great Denny O’Neil’s final story featuring Green Lantern and Green Arrow discusses the positive effects of isolation and self-reflection. After Hal Jordan notices that Oliver is punching Clock King a bit too hard, he confronts him and suggests taking some time off and reading “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau. It was bittersweet reading the last new Green Lantern/Green Arrow team-up from O’Neil and I would be lying if that did not affect my enjoyment of this story. It helps that his writing was paired with some amazing art from artist Mike Grell and colorist Lovern Kindzierski.
Kyle Rayner is my favorite Green Lantern, so naturally I could not wait to read his story. From Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner writer Ron Marz with art by Darryl Banks and Hi-Fi on colors, Legacy follows Kyle as he looks through a superhero storage room. Fellow Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, has sent Kyle to look for objects to decorate his new bar. Kyle and Mr. Barkley reminisce about when Kyle was Earth’s only lantern. It is a charming story and it was great reading Ron Marz’s Kyle again.
‘Heart of the Corps’
From Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors writer Peter J. Tomasi and artists Fernando Pasarin, Wade von Grawbadger and Gabe Eltaeb, Heart of the Corps follows Guy Gardner and Kilowag as they are sent on a mission by Salaak to rescue two distressed Green Lanterns. Kilowag and Guy have always had some great chemistry, so it was awesome to see them share a story together. Plus, that ending was not just surprising for Kilowag.
‘Reverse the Polarity’
This comic was written by Charlotte (Fullerton) McDuffie and Chriscross in honor of the late Dwayne McDuffie with art by Chriscross, Jordi Tarragona and Luis Guerrero. Reverse the Polarity follows John Stewart and Hawkgirl as they are attacked by Dr. Polaris while inside the Justice League’s Watch Tower. Seeing as the two characters had a prominent relationship in the Justice League: the Animated Series, it is no surprise that they are at the forefront of this story. This easily has the most action of the 10 stories featured in this comic, allowing the art to showcase the amazing power these characters possess.
Four, written by Robert Venditti (Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps) with art by Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Tarragona and Ivan Plascencia, Four begins with Hal Jordan, John Stewart and Kyle Rayner meeting for their annual reunion. Guy Garner has apparently shown up late once again, so while waiting for them, the three reminisce about their adventures with Guy. It was oddly charming to see some of my favorite heroes retired and recounting their adventures from their youth. This was easily my favorite part of the entire comic.
Written by Mariko Tamaki, drawn by Mirka Andolfo with colors from Arif Prianto, The Voice follows Earth’s newest Green Lantern, Jessica Cruz, as she struggles with anxiety during various battles alongside fellow lantern Simon Baz. Jessica is probably the msot relatable Lantern for me due to her constant internal battles with her anxiety. Tamaki shapes the conflict between the logic and anxious parts of her brain brilliantly. It was great to get a story focused on Jessica, and I hope we get more in the future.
Homegrown Hero, written by Sina Grace with art by Ramon Villalobos and Rico Renzi, focuses on Simon Baz as he attends an art walk with his family. While there, he catches a white supremacist who plans on creating a distraction for the cops so other members of his group can attack another location. Little did he know that a Green Lantern was nearby. Homegrown Hero tackles racism and stereotyping, two issues that are especially important due to recent events, such as the Black Lives Matter protests. Grace’s approach of these issues is done with care and respect. Much like The Voice, this story made me want more stories with Simon Baz ASAP.
It was great to see so many fantastic stories featuring every major Lantern. This special was just as great as Detective Comics #1000 and Flash #750, if not better due to the large variety of stories featuring so many different characters. This is the positive of there being so many different Green Lanterns.
Favorite story: Four
Least favorite story: Dark Things Cannot Stand the Light