There have been some truly historic runs in comics history. For Marvel Comics, the sixties brought Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four, the eighties had Chris Claremont’s X-Men. DC has had its own moments but none in recent memory with the kind of longevity and consistency that Geoff Johns has delivered on Green Lantern. Save for maybe Grant Morrison’s run on the Batbooks (which is coming soon).
This generation has the privilege of having grown up with Johns’s vision of these champions of willpower. Starting with the mini-series Green Lantern: Rebirth, he brought back Silver Age Lantern Hal Jordan into the main role and began to expand an already large universe. The name had a double meaning. It wasn’t just the rebirth of a dead character but also of a dead book. The title had suffered in Jordan’s absence, so his return helped. But it was Johns that had to maintain any momentum after that.
Usher in the return of Sinestro and his Sinestro Corps. Coming off of his Infinite Crisis event, Johns united the Anti-Monitor and Superboy-Prime with the disgraced Green Lantern. His war against this former corps and the Guardians was grand in scope and raised the stakes.
As if that weren’t enough, Johns introduced the world to Lantern Corps of all colors of the spectrum, representing all different emotions. He spun this idea into the mega cross-over event, Blackest Night, with Hal Jordan taking center stage with Barry Allen, The Flash (also resurrected by Johns).
With the new 52, the Lantern books were noticeably not altered in any way, unlike every other title in the DC catalog. Almost all of the books had entirely new creative teams but Johns had a story to wrap up. When you’re as high up as he is in the company, no one will argue with you. He, once again, turned the book on its head. The star, Jordan, was out. Sinestro, the renegade, was in. The numbering had gone back to #1, so Johns brought us back to square one. And with that, the final arc had begun.
It is only now at the end that we see the Shakespearean depth of this story. It always was to come down to Hal Jordan and Sinestro. Sinestro began as Jordan’s mentor and they eventually became partners. The Korugan had kept order in his home world through intimidation, leading to the earthling to turn him in for the sake of those people. Sinestro was exiled and embittered, he vowed revenge. He got it as his actions lead to Jordan being possessed by the entity of fear, Parallax.
*Potential spoilers coming soon*
In Blackest Night, they were forced to join forces to destroy Nekron and the Black Lanterns from extinguishing the light of the universe. They fought side-by-side when Sinestro got his green ring back and he deputized his former padawan. They were both killed and fought their way back from the Dead Zone. But for all of their contentious repartee, both men have only ever fought for what they believed was right.
They clashed because they were so alike in their nature, if not their respective ideologies. At the end of their tale, rife with tragedy, anger, and betrayal, that we find just how Sinestro viewed their dynamic. For all of their differences and bloody battles, they were friends.
That may sound corny or ludicrous but that one admission informs everything else that came before it. It explains why Sinestro was so hurt by Jordan turning him, why he went through the incredible lengths he did to get his message across. It was never about killing Hal, it was about getting him to understand why he did what he did. Once that was accomplished, there was nothing left for him to teach him. So he went into a exile again, this time self-imposed and tells the tale of Hal Jordan, the greatest Green Lantern of them all. Quite an end to the greatest Green Lantern run of all. Don’t hold the movie against him.