Within the realm of superhero comics, the idea of faith is an odd one. The DC universe is filled with God like beings, with people who can defy death itself, among other “miracles” it can make a reader question why would someone believe in a God that isn’t physically there. Especially when actual Gods walk among them. Tom King using the events of Darkseid War tackles the very idea of faith, what it means to believe in something that isn’t completely tangible. This story is Hal Jordan’s confrontation not with parademons, but with God himself. There are parademons to fight though.
In one single issue Tom King has managed to boil down Hal Jordan to his bare essentials, an examination of the man and not the Green Lantern. While some long term fans of Green Lantern might overlook this issue and see nothing new. While that may be true when only glancing at the surface of this comic, if the reader chooses to delve deeper into the narrative one can find what makes Hal Jordan tick. King interweaves Jordan’s own struggle with fear with the reality of a believing in the Judeo-christian God. Unlike his work on The Omega Men, where Religion and the idea of faith is shown at it’s ugliest, King shows how faith can a be strong foundation for those who question the sanity of the universe itself. A way of taking fear and empowering their own will to live and continue to make the choices they want to make, a trait that Hal Jordan has become synonymous with.
Now while I’m praising Tom King’s depiction of Hal Jordan’s emotional status, there’s plenty of Green Lantern related action sequences as well. This issue was paced perfectly, as King would shift from Hal Jordan defending to Oa to young Hal questioning God in the greater scheme of things. Neither section feels as if it they overstayed their welcome, but in similar fashion both sections don’t feel neglected or shortened. Giving readers the best of both of sections and what makes Green Lantern a different reading experience than the traditional super hero story.
The other half to this amazing Green Lantern story, is Evan “Doc” Shaner on interiors. A classic tone needs a classic artists, which is what Doc Shaner excels at. Most fans honestly will mostly glance past what makes Shaner’s art sing. It’s his character acting in both emotional segments of young Hal, and the epic cosmic battle for Oa that will make readers invested into Hal Jordan’s predicament in either timeline. While Franis Manapaul was the designer for Hal’s New God costume, Doc Shaner makes it sing. It looks like something that Jack Kirby would have drawn back in the day, just with a Green Lantern logo planted in the middle. Personally my favorite page (and which perfectly sums up the conflict of the issue) is when Hal becomes the God of Light, and how Shaner uses space to emphasize his new Godly status. Not only that but you see Hal regret his decision, which is equally powerful.
If you wanted a classic Green Lantern story that is a one and done, then go an buy this issue. You will understand Hal Jordan at a base level, and also what makes Green Lantern different from say Batman or The Flash. Even if you aren’t reading The main Darkseid War story one can pick up this single issue and get a complete story from start to finish. Not to also mention Even “Doc” Shaner interiors will remind readers of a bygone era. Tom King and Doc Shaner tore the Lantern Safe house down.
Justice League Darkseid War Green Lantern #1 earns a 5/5