DC launched an Essential-type line in September. I
picked up both of the launch titles, but I haven’t had
all that much time to read them. (I’m still working
through 40 Years of the Amazing Spider-Man,
too.)

General Information

Title: Showcase Presents Green Lantern, Vol. 1

Author: Primarily by John Broome

Illustrator(s): Gil Kane in most cases

Issues: Showcase #22-24, Green Lantern #1-17
Original Publication Date: These issues were first
published from 1959-1963.

ISBN: 1-4012-0759-6

Cover Price: $9.99 US, $13.50 Can for this printing
only. When the
reprint arrives in January, the price comes up to the
same $16.99US
that the rest of the series will be at.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

This tells the first few stories in Hal Jordan’s
career as Green
Lantern from the Silver Age of comics.

The Package

This and Showcase Presents Superman were the
first two
releases in the Showcase Presents line, which
is remarkably
similar to Marvel’s Essential line. Although
these two
launched at $9.99 US, they will soon climb to the
$16.99 US price
point that the other Showcase volumes and Marvel’s
recent Essential
volumes have been published at. Like the Essentials,
we get over 500
pages of comics reprinted in black and white. This
volume has higher
quality paper than I’ve found in an Essential, and the
pages are
actually numbered, making the introductory table of
contents
considerably more useful. Also, like the Essentials,
this seems to be
placing its early focus on the Silver Age materials,
having already
published collections of Silver Age Superman,
Metamorpho, and Jonah
Hex. (Justice League of America is the next one I
plan to pick up,
and Green Arrow has been solicited. I’ll likely only
collect the
Green Lantern, Superman, Batman, Flash, and JLA
volumes in this
series.)

High Point

Sinestro was actually a pretty good villain here, even
if he was tied
to the cheesy Qwardian universe.

Low Point

Pieface? Man, this was long before political
correctness came about.

The Scores

The contents by themselves don’t feel all that
original.
It’s pretty standard “catch the bank robber” stuff,
mixed in with some
then-standard alien conquest stuff. However, I think
this was only
the second major superhero to be so rewritten he had a
different
secret identity, with a totally different history.
(The first, I
believe, was when Barry Allen took over as the Flash
from Jay Garrick
earlier in the Showcase run.) It was something of a
gutsy move, and
introducing the Guardians gave the chance to introduce
Sinestro, who
was the best villain to appear in this set. (We saw
villains reform
in these days, but how many heroes went bad?) I give
it 4 out of 6 in
this context.

The artwork was excellent. Gil Kane’s work
looks much, much
better here than it does in many of the Marvel
Essentials I’ve got
with his contributions. The art is very, very clear
at all times.
The perspectives aren’t as inventive as a lot of the
Marvel in the
day, but the line art is very well done. Thankfully,
the dialogue
will always tell you if an object is yellow, so
there’s no confusion
there despite the lack of colour. I give it 5 out of
6.

The stories are pretty typical. There’s also
a status quo
firmly established, which prevents us from seeing
major changes in
Hal’s personal life at any time. I give it 4 out of
6.



The characterisation is clear, but lacking
depth. Everyone
has their standard behaviours and attitudes, and uses
that same set
time and again. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response wasn’t bad. This is
good, clean,
non-PC Silver Age fun. Any mature adult should
recognise the
questionable aspects as side effects of a more
ignorant time period,
while the rest is just standard fun. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The flow works for the most part. It looks
like they used to
have half-page ads, as some stories have half a page
for the “Green
Lantern” logo used on the cover before continuing the
same story on
the next page. For the most part, we’ve got a series
of
self-contained stories, that often end with a request
to write in if
you want to see more stories of that type. Given the
status quo,
apart from the stories in 58,000AD and the Sinestro
stories, there’s
really nothing here that ties them into a particular
sequence. I give
it 4 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent Silver Age collection
that I’d
recommend to Essential fans only. I give it 4 out of
6.

In total, Showcase Presents Green Lantern Vol.
1
receives 29
out of 42.