Green Lantern: Secret Origin is a collection of Green Lantern issues 29 – 35 written by Geoff Johns and penciled by Ivan Reis. The story arc retells the origin of Green Lantern while also tying it into the recent development of the other colored rings (you will see the various symbols appear in the irises of characters) and the foreshadowing of Blackest Night.
This retelling of the origin of Green Lantern is in the spirit of Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One and John Byrne’s Man of Steel. But unlike these two works, Johns does not really re-envision the character. Year One allowed Batman to punch his campy image right in the throat and “Frankly” (sorry, sorry) inspired both the Burton and Nolan films. However, I argue that Johns didn’t need to recreate the character because a majority of the public barely knows who the Green Lantern is.
Green Lantern: Secret Origin is the perfect series for both those who think he’s a Planeteer and for those who are Lantern fans excited about the new film. Producer Donald De Line calls Origin “the touchstone of our film.” From the trailers, this looks to be true. Obviously, the film needs to tell the origin of Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern. In Origin we see Jordan receive his ring from the dying Abin Sur. But before this iconic moment, Johns portrays Jordan as a young man who abandons his family after an inability to deal with his father’s accidental death. He acts out violently against any authority figure in a self-destructive pattern. It is only after he deals with his anger and guilt, that he is able to hone the willpower necessary to power the ring. The screenwriters would do well to keep this character development in the film.
Hector Hammond appears to be the central villain of the film while Sinestro does not yet don the yellow ring – saving Green Lantern’s ultimate villain for the sequel, a la The Dark Knight. In Origin, Hammond is a minor, although creepy, villain while the homicidal Atrocitus takes center stage as the one responsible for killing Abin Sur. It would be great if Atrocitus makes a cameo in the film, but Hammond’s obsession with Carol Ferris is more likely the main threat to Jordan as a fledgling superhero. This way the dawning relationship between Jordan and Ferris can take a more prominent role in the film.
Based on Green Lantern: Origin as the “touchstone” for the film, I expect Jordan to deal with guilt and anger while learning the ins and outs of being a Green Lantern. Hector Hammond will be a serviceable villain that GL battles on earth after he attends boot camp on Oa. All the while, the film will hint at the fall of Sinestro and portray the ironic relationship between Jordan and the Greatest of the Green Lanterns, soon to be his greatest enemy. Any foreshadowing about the “emotional spectrum” and Blackest Night will be an added bonus. To expect more would be to abandon all those who think Green Lantern has a sidekick named Kato. So, fanboys, don’t get too upset and remember that this film will be the first introduction to the character for many. If Green Lantern: Secret Origin truly is the touchstone, then it can’t be as bad as Ghost Rider, right?