written by Geoff Johns
art by Ethan Van Sciver
published by DC Comics

Click to enlargeThere are times when it’s hard to find spiritual connections with whatever media that I am dealing with. Let’s face it, some things make it difficult to find God (maybe that’s the point) or at least don’t easily lend themselves to pointing to Christ. That is not the case with Green Lantern: Rebirth. Rebirth is literally the story of redemption.

First, let me tell you a story. There was once a hero named Hal Jordan, the Green Lantern, a member of an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps. In the DC universe (the home of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and the Justice League), next to Superman, he was the hero most admired. For decades he was a beacon of light.

He knew no fear.

Then, a terrible tragedy struck. He was unable to prevent a villain from destroying his home city. This senseless tragedy drove him quite mad. He even took to calling himself Parallax and tried to re-write history to his will. Eventually, he ends up sacrificing himself in the comic book cross-over “event”, Final Night.

Click to enlargeSince part of the super-hero credo says that dying means never having to say good-bye, Hal Jordan returned. His soul was merged, read: trapped inside, the “hero” called the Spectre, God’s spirit of vengeance.

[Look, a Green Lantern movie is in the works, so pay attention.]

This, by the way, is the trouble with comics: I have to explain nearly a decade’s worth of continuity in order for you to understand/appreciate this storyline. It makes it hard for new readers to jump aboard. However, that’s what this series is about: addressing the entire history of this character in order to give it a fresh start.

Two sentence review: Geoff Johns is in peak form and this makes me wish I had more money to spend on collecting the other books that he writes. The art is spectacular.

Click to enlargeThere are so many spiritual connections in this book it was hard to choose a focus. By one view of redemption, Hal Jordan starts off as a Christ figure. He sacrificed himself to save the cosmos (in Final Night) and then bore the brunt of God’s wrath (as the Spectre). And that’s before issue one even starts. Green Lantern: Rebirth is definitely one of those “event” books that explores the inner demons of the character and explores what really makes him a hero. Literally, the character’s inner demons as all of the Green Lantern’s, past and present, engage in a battle against the enemy within. An impurity of men’s souls that calls itself Parallax, the living fear. This corrupting nature brings with it a cycle of destruction, warping man’s sense of right and wrong, and spirals into a pattern of fear, violence, and death. This taint leaves men vulnerable to the Spectre (the embodiment of God’s wrath). The need to deal with this taint is one view of how redemption works.

Click to enlargeYou see, there is an inherent problem with that view of redemption. It is a very individualized view of how redemption works. In that view, the individual has to realize their taint and do something about it or face God’s retribution (and the Spectre is about retribution, not redemption). It leads to a shallow reason to seek redemption and find faith: they become about getting said individual’s own butt into heaven. There is a broader way to view redemption, also presented in this comic book.

Hal Jordan faces that very choice of redemption schemes, and basically goes through a re-thinking of his faith. He has the chance to get his butt into heaven (by going towards the light as he nears death). Instead, he is literally “born again.” Better put, he is made whole. He joins in God’s mission to be a blessing to the world. That is what redemption is all about.

Hal Jordan finds redemption in Green Lantern: Rebirth. He is restored, but that doesn’t mean that his sins have been forgotten. Explained? Yes. Forgotten? No. He has a lot to prove, to regain the trust (even the admiration) of his peers. However, being made whole again, he has the opportunity, a lifetime, to live and work out his newfound faith.