I know that this book is over six years old, but it's something I picked up at Comic-Con. Re-reading it now, I say my favorable first impression of it holds up very well.
Now I'm sure that the behind-the-scenes editorial wrangling that led to Hal Jordan falling from grace as Green Lantern, becoming the villain Parallax, dying and becoming a host for the Spectre, before being coming back to life to pick up where he left off would make for a good book. I’d certainly like to know how DC tried to appease Jordan’s fans while making his replacement, Kyle Rayner, into a viable hero before they gave writer Geoff Johns the go-ahead to bring him back. That said, Johns didn’t have an easy task reconciling everything that had happened to Jordan after he became a villain into a coherent storyline, but I’ll be damned if he doesn’t make it look easy here.
On one hand, this series is more newbie-friendly than most DC Universe titles simply because Johns has to account for not only what has happened to Jordan recently, but the rest of the Green Lanterns in the DCU. Familiarity with who Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Ganthet are will certainly help, but it’s not required for this story. The focus here is squarely on Jordan and his journey back to the realm of the living and redemption.
This could’ve been a grindingly exercise in comic-book retconning, but Johns’ focus is clear and he knows exactly what he wants to do here and how he wants to go about doing it. Even if everything that has happened to Jordan since he became Parallax was the result of multiple writers and editors, Johns makes it all seem fairly seamless. His take on what Parallax actually is ties in nicely to the Lanterns’ problems with the color yellow, the reason Sinestro was able to survive his “death” at Jordan’s hands, and why the Spectre chose him as a host. It also sets up the “rainbow specturm of emotion” that has become a key part of Johns’ run on the title.
So if you’re looking forward to next summer’s “Green Lantern” movie with Ryan Reynolds and are looking to see why such a movie got (ahem...) greenlit, then this is the title to start with. I’ve heard that the producers used Johns’ revisionist take on Jordan’s origin (obviously titled “Green Lantern: Secret Origin”) as the basis for the movie, but if it wasn’t for his work here re-establishing the character and setting the stage for some very entertaining stories down the line then it’s very likely the movie wouldn’t have been made. The amount of retconning going on here may make it a bit much for non-comics, non-DCU fans to take, but if you can still appreciate superheroes then you’re going to be entertained by “Rebirth.”