Of the Rebirth series, the Green Lantern-related books are the toughest for new readers. There are multiple Green Lanterns on Earth alone, not to mention the various multi-colored factions that embody other personality traits besides will. Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps Rebirth #1–other than being a mouthful–is the most successful yet at distilling that mythology down into something manageable.
That said, it’s hard to deny that someone who’s versed in the world (especially where we left Earth’s former Lantern, Hal Jordan, before Rebirth started) will get more out of the issue than a new reader. Quite a few of Hal’s various enemies and allies show up for a panel or two in the issue’s few pages and it could read like a confusing parade of unknown faces for those jumping into the Lanterns world for the first. However, writer Robert Venditti smartly focuses on two main storylines to keep things from getting overwhelming.
The first is the villain, in this case, an old and wrinkled Sinestro. While we don’t learn exactly why he seems so convinced that he’s got the Lanterns beat this time, there is a very promising splash page (which I won’t spoil here) that gives us a hint. More importantly, the issue’s other major focus is Hal Jordan himself. Pre-Rebirth, Hal had to give up his ring in order to save the Lanterns and he stole a gauntlet that has the same powers but with the volume turned up a bit. However, with great power comes…you know the rest, and the gauntlet is beginning to change Hal, making him disappear into the force of will that powers the rings and the gauntlet
He does find a solution to that problem by issue’s end and while it probably seems like a disappointing cop-out to those who followed the character pre-Rebirth, it does do exactly what this whole reboot of the DCU meant to do: put the character in a familiar, easily understandable place so that new readers can jump on. It may not be as exciting a start as some of the other Rebirth titles, but there’s potential.