“Green Lantern: 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular” Review

“Green Lantern: 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular”

Writers and Artists: Assorted

Review by Jason Kahler

Dedicated and casual fans alike will find something to appreciate within the pages of DC’s celebration of Green Lantern. As the cover announces, the book features ten new stories starring current–or former, in one notable case–ring bearers. The book also features some nicely-executed pin-ups (tear pages from my comics? perish the thought. . . .) and some always-fun “Secret Files” bios of assorted Green Lanterns both famous and more obscure.

If the book has any shortcomings, it’s that the stories here are safe and predictable. It serves as a review of characters more often than it reveals anything new to long-time fans, especially in the cases of some of DC’s newest lanterns, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz. Their stories are disappointingly what you might expect, focusing on their unusual mental health challenges and religious background, respectively. While these elements make these characters unique writ large, neither of their stories reveal anything new about them or seem particularly fresh. It feels like a missed opportunity to attract a larger audience for these two groundbreaking characters.

The same is true, really, of the rest of the stories, with three notable exceptions.

One of the pieces focuses on the relationship forged by the four classic post-Space Race Earth GL’s: Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, and Kyle Rayner. I won’t spoil what’s revealed here, but it’s a fun, funny, touching story about brotherhood, bravery, sacrifice, and love.

The opening story takes place early on in Alan Scott’s career. It explores how he came to possess his ring, and the motivation behind his heroism. It’s very strong, and addresses Scott’s sexuality in a way that couldn’t have been done in the 1940s.

The real star story is about a guy who isn’t a Green Lantern at all, or at least not anymore. In “The Meaning of Fear,” Sinestro revisits his time as a Green Lantern while a current GL fights for his life. The ending is chilling.

Verdict: This book is a BUY, even with its faults. A fine read and reflection on one of comics’ most-important, earliest heroes, even if the stories could have pushed the characters a little bit further.

Jason Kahler is a writer and scholar who lives in Michigan. His latest work is forthcoming in the book "How to Read and Analyze Comics" from SequArt. His poem, "After National Geographic," will soon appear in an issue of Analog…

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