Green Lantern: Earth One Vol. 2 is the follow up to the first volume that came out in 2018. While the Earth One line from DC has been mostly up and down, I thought that Hardman and Bechko’s take on Green Lantern as more of a hard sci-fi story was really entertaining. The same team is back for volume 2, with Bechko and Hardman co-writing and Hardman illustrating (with Jordan Boyd providing colors). I was excited to sit back down with the world that the first volume created.
Volume one introduced the Earth One versions of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps. As I mentioned, rather than opt for the more adventurous and fantastical tone of the original Green Lantern books from DC’s main line, Earth One’s Green Lantern is much less whimsical. Think more The Expanse and less Star Wars. I thought it was a really good take on the story. Volume two takes place three years later and begins by introducing another fan favorite lantern to the universe in John Stewart. Humanity is quickly being thrust into the intergalactic community following the events of the first volume. Hal Jordan is a well-known, and controversial, entity on Earth. Humanity’s new reality is not one that all members of Earth openly embrace and a conflict at diplomatic talks with a space-faring race only serves to accelerate those issues.
A small spoiler warning for the next paragraph, but the primary development of volume two involves the introduction of the yellow lanterns. I was actually a bit surprised that the team opted to go with a newer addition to the canon, but it makes a ton of sense given that it’s proven to be the most memorable new development in the last twenty or so years of the character. Given that these only come out once every few years, going with the most compelling foil was a good choice. The yellow lanterns fit in well with the world that Hardman and Bechko have crafted and serve as a good way to introduce Hal to more of the universe beyond Earth.
Hardman’s art is such a perfect fit for the style of book that’s being written here. This should come as no surprise to those who read volume one, or Invisible Republic, another series by the same creative team with a similar hard sci-fi lean. There are giant space set pieces and fast-paced, cinematic sci-fi action. I love how much of the narrative is driven by Hardman’s art. The story isn’t over-burdened with long-winded explanations of space politics and redundant explanations of what’s clear on the page. This isn’t to say that the book lacks good scripting, but Hardman and Bechko have a great sense of when to let the art do the talking.
My only real qualm with this book is that the pacing did feel a bit unbalanced. I thought the second act was over-extended at the expense of the third act. Everything was resolved well but there’s a lot jammed into the last twenty pages. I’m guessing that’s partly caused by the length constraints of these Earth One graphic novels and there was an ambitious amount of ground to cover.
Green Lantern continues to be my favorite of the Earth One line. Hardman is clearly in his element as an artist and the story that he and Bechko put together is good sci-fi and top notch Green Lantern work. I’m hoping the creative team will be given more opportunities to revisit the world they’ve been building in additional volumes.