A new origin for Hal Jordan and the most powerful weapon in the universe in the latest entry in DC Comics’ Earth One series.

Green Lantern: Earth One
Written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman
Art by Gabriel Hardman

In concept, I like the EARTH ONE series. It gives creators a little bit of license for new out-of-continuity stories featuring DC Comics characters, and could open up a whole new avenue of narration. But in practice, it’s been a bit disappointing. There’s not much you can do to change the origins of guys like Superman or Batman. A planet blows up and the last survivor of a doomed race is sent to Earth to be raised by a kindly Kansas couple. A trust-fund baby watches his parents get murdered in front of him and spends his life seeking vengeance. “New takes” on how these characters came to be can’t really change much in their early lives without changing the core of who they are.

But the origin isn’t as stringent with Hal Jordan. Here, the husband and wife team of Hardman and Bechko manage to find the sweet spot of making some simple changes while maintaining the essence of what people love about Jordan. The result is a reinvigorated concept that could potential give us a lot of great new stories, if the EARTH ONE line manages to continue.

Here, Jordan is shifted from a U.S. Air Force pilot to an ex-NASA officer now working as a for-hire space explorer in a dystopian near-future America that Jordan wants nothing to do with. On a mission to find some ore, he instead finds a centuries-old spaceship buried on a moon with a dead Abin Sur and an off-line Manhunter robot. And thus, Jordan’s adventure with the Green Lantern Corps begins.

How Jordan came to find the ring isn’t the only change to the mythos that Bechko and Hardman introduce into this EARTH ONE tale. The Manhunters have decimated the Corps, leaving stragglers across the sectors with rings not operating at full strength. Hal Jordan has to learn how to be a Green Lantern – once he finds out what a Green Lantern is – but he doesn’t have anyone to teach him what the rind to do. The Corps’ in-continuity drill sergeant – Kilowog – is the first living Lantern that Jordan finds in this book, but even he only knows of the Corps through myths and legends.  Beating the Manhunters with a ragtag group of protectors with depowered rings is a monumental task, one that only the will power of Hal Jordan could probably overcome.

The twist ending – another change to the mythos – should maintain another couple of volumes of EARTH ONE stories, and I’d be pretty interested in seeing what else Bechko and Hardman have up their sleeves.