The first comic I can remember buying was the first issue of Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s HUSH arc on Batman. HUSH only solidified the fact that Batman was my favorite super-hero and that no one could ever come close to dethroning him. Knowing what wonders existed in the DC Universe, I was looking for the next big thing to hold my attention and capture my imagination. I was a bright eyed ten year old eager to learn more about the DC Universe and to find another epic story that I could sink my teeth into. I can still remember being in line at my local comic store in December of 2004 waiting to buy the first issue of Green Lantern: Rebirth, knowing that what I held in my hands was something special.
After watching John Stewart on the Justice League cartoon, I became fascinated with the idea of the character whose only limitation was his imagination. Before reading the first issue of Rebirth, I had no idea who Hal Jordan was.
At the end of Rebirth, I had a new favorite hero. Hal Jordan was the coolest hero I had encountered so far in my readings and had dethroned the Dark Knight. I wanted to know more about Hal’s history, his failures and his triumphs. At the end of Rebirth I was excited about the prospect of an all new ongoing series focusing on Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern. I remember being just as, if not more, excited to get the first issue of the new Green Lantern ongoing series that was announced at the conclusion of Rebirth.
Flash forward nine years, and today I am a twenty-one year old, who was both eager and remorseful to visit my local comic store today. Today was the last time I would ever be able to walk in and purchase an issue of Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern series. For the past nine years, Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern series has been a constant in my life. Despite moving, having my personal life be turned upside down more than once, overcoming personal hurdles, and becoming a broke college student, I have not missed a single issue of Green Lantern because it meant that much to me.
When things were at their worst, I can still remember quietly reciting to myself the Green Lantern Corps Oath as a means of finding some kind of inner strength. Yes, I understand that sounds incredibly silly, but so does the idea of a guy with a magic ring who fights giant space fear bugs. For some reason, the idea of overcoming fear through sheer willpower resonated with me and helped me through some of my own blackest nights. Sure, this sounds ridiculous but you can’t tell me that you haven’t found yourself emotionally attached to a comic character at some point in your years of reading.
With his final issue, Geoff Johns wraps up his nine year saga into a neat package. While the last two years of the book have been stagnant when compared to Blackest Night and the Sinestro Corps War, Johns provided a near perfect ending to his story. While the “Wrath of the First Lantern” has dragged in parts, the finale provided fans with everything they love about the franchise. You get to see all of the color corps join together and vanquish the ultimate evil, with the help of the larger than life characters such as Mogo, Parrallax, Nekron and a new Black Lantern Corps. Anything and everything that you have loved in the past nine years of Green Lantern makes an appearance in the beautifully drawn finale.
While it’s great to see Johns wrap up the First Lantern story, he provides an emotional coda that will leave long term fans a little misty eyed. Johns provides What If-esque endings to all of the human Green Lantern members in lives they could potentially go on to have. While the nature of comics prevents any of these futures to come to pass, it’s nice to think that in some alternate universe there is a happy ending waiting for Hal, John, Guy, Kyle, and even Simon. Knowing that next month these characters will be back to their regular adventures, it is nice to know that there is possibly a happy ending out their for them.
The issue focuses on Hal and his heroic efforts to save the universe, but the real star of the issue is Sinestro. Sinestro has been the real star of Johns’ run and it shows in the final issue. Sinestro started off as a mustache twirling villain, but Johns has transformed him into a unique, perplexing, and multi-layered anti-hero that warrants his own series. The fate of Sinestro is perfect and well suited for such a remarkable and complex character in the DC Universe. If there is anything that I’m going to miss above all else, it is going to be seeing the relationship between Hal and Sinestro change and evolve with nearly every issue.
Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern run will definitely will go down as one of the greatest runs of all time and it ended on a fantastic high note.... but I am still sad to see it go. So much of my adolescence was formed by this run and it is hard to see it leave. However, nine years of an over the top, emotional, action orientated-space opera is nothing short of an accomplishment and should be celebrated in the decades to come as the shinning emerald jewel that it is.