The Green Lantern movie came out on Friday and though the reviews forit are negative, it is my opinion that the reviews it is getting are much worse than it deserves. That, however is a different article. This article, whether you saw the movie or not or thought it was good or not, is to help to be able to pick up the comic books. There are many Green Lanterns in the universe (and more recently other colors as well) and a good number on Earth as well. Here are a few good storylines to get you started.
Secret Origin - This is part of the relaunch of Hal as Green Lantern. It is a new origin story retelling and is the basis, more of less, for the story we’re getting in the movie. Collecting #29-35 of the newest volume of Green Lantern, this covers Abin Sur, Hal gaining the ring and establishing his relationship with Sinestro. If you want to start at the beginning with Hal Jordan, this most recent retelling is an excellent place to start. This is easily findable these days, collected in a trade paperback call, unsurprisingly, Secret Origin.
Tales of the Green Lantern Corps- I admit that I’m biased here but I would recommend grabbing all three volumes of Tales of the Green Lantern Corps in the trade paperback. The stories where you’re introduced to the Corps are collected here. This is where the mythological backbone of the Corps as we know it today (and all of the ground work for Blackest Night) comes from. You’ll get to meet Arisia, Kilowog, Mogo, Salaak, Katma Tui, Leezle Pon and so many more characters. It wasn’t until I met the rest of the Green Lantern Corps that I truly fell in love with Green Lantern, realizing how diverse the universe of the DCU could be. Also, in the third trade paperback, you get to spend time with the Corps team on Earth which allows you to meet and get to know Guy Gardner. There are three volumes of the older Corps tales, though there are also collections of the newer Corps title, all available and currently in print.
Showcase Presents Green Lantern- These are a good way to pick up back issues for any character in DC you’re interested in reading about. Like the Essential Marvel collection I mentioned in my X-men article the Showcase collections are a inexpensive way to pick up on past DC character storylines. These collections are relatively easy to find and inexpensive for how many issues you get in each. More specifically, I would recommend picking up Volume 5, as this has what has become know as the Hard Travelling Heroes story arc as well as the introduction of John Stewart. Collecting Green Lantern #76-100, you get to see Oliver Queen (Green Arrow) try to show Hal all of the problems that need his attention on Earth. Taking him on a road trip, you not only get to see Hal and Ollie’s friendship. you get to see a turning point in comics as they being to more obviously address the problems in the world today. There are also important cameos by Speedy (of the Teen Titans and later to be Arsenal) and Black Canary. The Showcase titles are all currently in print and are usually kept that way for long periods of time.
Justice League – Looking through Kyle Rayner’s stories, I have a hard time finding one that I would recommend as a place to start. There are a lot of things that happened in his run (including the event that created the term Women in Refrigerators) which I think should be read but I don’t think they’re a place to start. A good place to start to get to know Kyle Rayner, though, is Grant Morrison’s run on JLA. This was a big relaunch of the Big Seven and a lot of these stories show the best of all of these characters and Kyle Rayner was often put on display as the reader’s point of view. It allowed him to be relatable and allowed more people to get to know him. There is a new printing of the first volume of JLA coming later this year if you can’t find it right now.
Green Lantern Rebirth- Through circumstances that are complicated and completely comic book, Hal Jordan was dead for a significant period of time. This is the story that brought him back from the dead and re-established him in the comic book universe. This story has some excellent moments and while the references to other things and places and past storylines are present, they are not so intense as to prevent someone who has not read them from understanding the story. This story is what re-establishes the Green Lantern mythos and is the starting point for where we are in the comics today. Kyle Rayner and Green Arrow get some good moments and a few of the odd quirks of Green Lantern rings are explained. From here, you could pick up just about anything going forward and this shoudl be very easy to find right now.
Green Lantern #1 - If you want to pick up comics now, I would recommend any of the above. If, after reading those, you’re looking to read comics going forward, I would find a local comic book shop soon. You have a few months but with the relaunch/don’t call it a reboot of the DC Universe, there will be at least three great places to jump on depending on what you’re interested in reading. Green Lantern #1 will be written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Doug Mahnke And Christiam Alamy. The solicitation says they’ll be introducing ‘an unexpected new Lantern’, which could make it a very interesting place to start. Green Lantern Corps #1 will be written by Peter Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin and Scott Hanna. This will be the title with John Stewart and Guy Gardner and the rest of the elite Corps, so this looks to be more space cops patrolling the universe fun. There will also be Green Lantern : New Guardians and Red Lanterns if you’re interested in picking up Lanterns that are not of the green variety.