Justice League: Darkseid War: Green Lantern #1 “Will You Be My God?”
Script by Tom King
Art by Doc Shaner
Colors by Chris Sotomayor
There’s something to be said about humanity. The struggles we face. How we adapt and recover. The grand meaning or purpose that lies behind everything we do. We spend most of our life driven by the will of emotion. Some consider it a weakness. Others a strength. And then, beyond us, beyond humanity, there are Gods. Omnipotent beings with endless power. But is it really omnipotent power? Or is it just a power that’s different than that which we already have?
These are all themes that King covers in this issue… And let me tell you, it’s freaking fantastic! I don’t read Green Lantern (or any of the Lantern books for that matter), but this issue sure as hell makes me want to. I’m honestly beginning to wonder if King can do any wrong! I’ve yet to read a book from him where I’ve thought, “Well, that sucked” – a thought that I unfortunately find myself having more often than I’d like to these days. Instead, with King’s work, I usually find myself thinking that it’s better than most, if not everything, I’ve read that month… And that’s no different here, so keep that in mind.
This issue, like the other one-shots before it, touches on the League following Darkseid’s death. With one God gone, new gods must arise. So far we’ve seen the outcome of Batman, the Flash, and Superman. Each of those issues focused on the characters existing as a god. This issue is different. It focuses on Hal Jordan as a man, facing the choice on whether or not he should become a god.
This issue was touching in so many ways. The story was split between two narratives: an adult Hal, and a young Hal coping with the death of his father. In the present day, Hal is reacting and responding to the events around him. Darkseid is dead. His friend, Barry, killed him. Batman is now occupying the Mobius Chair. And with Darkseid gone, the Parademons are left to reign without direction. There is also a weird anomaly occurring with Darkseid’s Mother Box as it needs a god to serve as it’s catalyst. But until then, it needs an energy source strong enough to sustain it… and the device it seeks out is on Oa. This leads Hal to leave Batman to return to Oa and help his fellow Lanterns stop the Mother Box and the hord of Parademons.
Meanwhile, in the flashback, Hal’s mother sends him to a church to light a candle for his father following his death. If it weren’t already a nice moment, it gets better after Hal explains that his mother sent him out of respect for her father since she is Jewish, and he was a Christian before marrying her. It’s a simple, yet effective moment that carries a lot of weight, and speaks volumes about Hal’s mother, which in turn, translates to him as well. Since he wasn’t raised Catholic, he isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do, and assisted by a man who knew his father. The prayer turns into a conversation about life and death, gods and men, and the strength that each possesses and fails to possess. This theme is deeply rooted in the entire plot, weaving the two narratives together efficiently. It’s a whirlwind of developments as Green Lantern is forced to make a life changing, and possibly dangerous, choice of becoming a god.
The Good: I would say the entire issue, but I didn’t go into detail in my Catwoman review, so I feel like I should be a little more descriptive here. The three aspects that really stood out for me centered around the church, Hal’s will, and his ability the make the choice to no longer be a god.
I don’t know why I find kids coping with loss so fascinating. It’s a terrible thing, but there’s something about innocence trying to understand the cruelty of the world. This isn’t overwrought with angst or melodrama, but instead is mature and poised. Having Hal speak and connect with the man at the church while discussing death, and why God allows it, isn’t a cutting edge narrative. We see it all the time. But it’s relatable, and this is done extremely well. The entire plot is executed with great sophistication, resulting in one of the finest moments I’ve read in comics lately.
I also loved the characterization of Hal. Both as a child and as an adult, he’s a brave, strong individual. I know his ring’s power is based on the will of its bearer, but I don’t feel like what I’ve read containing Green Lantern ever fully captured that attribute. Yes, if he willed something, it would be created… but I’m referring to his instinctual will as a person. His perseverance. It shines as bright as ever as he sets out to fight a planet full of Parademons and converted Lanterns. The same will, in fact, that drove him to not only become a god, but to relinquish that power and destroy it once he had saved the other Lanterns. It was unexpected, and summed up the definition of a true hero.
The Bad: At first the book felt a little disjointed as the plot pertaining to the battle on Oa was shrouded in some mystery. It wasn’t until halfway into the issue that the dots started to connect, but the moment they did, everything was worthwhile… In other words, no bad here…
The Art: I enjoyed Shaner’s art. His style isn’t my favorite (I tend to prefer art that looks more realistic and authentic), but the art here is solid and consistent. If there’s one thing that I’ve come to realize concerning art, it’s that a number of artists aren’t consistent, so I’ve come to appreciate that quality more and more. But above that, I enjoyed Shaner’s art because it was distinct. If I saw his work in another book, I would recognize it. And while I prefer art that looks more realistic, there’s something to be said about art that looks distinct, and leaves an artists signature.
- You want a strong, well written story.
- You enjoy emotional, character driven stories.
- Tom King
Overall: King delivers an amazingly touching story that sincerely caught me by surprise. It’s a great balance of plot and character, all while driving home it’s core theme. If you’re not a fan of Green Lantern, or you’ve just never been interested enough to pick up the book, this issue will make you want to!