Green Lantern is my favorite character in comics. Between individual issues, collected editions, and other GL paraphernalia I have way too much invested in the character. I grew up during the 90’s so my favorite Green Lantern was Kyle Rayner. He was the GL I grew up reading and he remains my favorite Lantern to this day. So for this edition of Back Issue Bin, I am going to write about one of my favorite Green Lantern stories from my childhood, and my very first trade paperback, Emerald Knights.
The premise of this story is Kyle Rayner gets sent back into the past, approximately 10 years before Hal Jordan became Parallax and tries to restructure time in Zero Hour. Due to last minute machinations by Sinestro, Jordan is accidentally sent to the future with Rayner. Once Hal is there he has to come to terms with actions and crimes his future self committed in the wake of Coast City being destroyed. He also has to deal with his best friend, Oliver Queen, being dead and the mantle of Green Arrow has surprisingly been taken up by Queen’s son, Connor Hawke. Parallax even makes an appearance in an attempt to send Jordan back into the past so he can resume the proper course of events.
I love all the work Geoff Johns has done on Green Lantern recently, but Ron Marz will forever remain my favorite GL writer. Not only because he created my favorite GL, but because some of the stories he told were some of the best you would ever read, Emerald Knights being one of them. Hal’s personal journey coming to grips with events that, for him, haven’t transpired makes for a great plot device.The interactions of the Justice League with Hal makes for an interesting aspect, in that they welcome him back into the League. Kyle understandably worries about his place in the League until Batman brilliantly explains that he doesn’t trust Jordan, so he wants to keep him close. One of the great things I loved about this story was how Marz had Batman reassure Kyle of his ability. This was one of the moments that allowed Kyle to grow as a character and begin stepping out of Hal’s shadow.
The art throughout most of this story was handled primarily by Paul Pelletier and Jeff Johnson. With any Green Lantern comic constructs obviously play a huge role. The differences between Hal and Kyle’s creations are quite evident. Jordan’s creations are clean and simple, while Rayner’s are detailed and very reflective of his creative side. I’m unsure why the book alternated artists between issues but it doesn’t hurt the overall look of the story. Despite having two different pencillers the arts flows from page to page and is very consistent. Rob Schwager’s coloring really makes the art pop, the different shade of green between the two ringslinger’s helps define the differences in the characters.
Even though this story took place some fifty issues after Marz took over writing duties on the title, this tale stands as one of the best he penned during his tenure. If you happen to be a fan of Green Lantern and somehow haven’t read this arc I strongly urge you to pick it up. Even if you haven’t read much about our emerald friend this is still a fun, engrossing story.
Parental Concern: All ages.