Green Lantern: Where Do I Start – UPDATED!

This article originally appeared just over 2 years ago, right before the start of Blackest Night. Most of the suggestions still hold true, but I've added some notes in italics, and one more suggestion at the bottom. But if you're interested in the movie, or have just always wanted to get started with Green Lantern, this is the place.

This isn't everything that's been published, even since Geoff Johns has been writing the title. You wouldn't need an article for that, would you? You'd just go buy everything. These are the more essential stories, and frankly the best of them.

Green Lantern: Rebirth – Hal Jordan was dead, and they had to bring him back. Rebirth is that story, and it marks the start of Geoff Johns' legendary run with the ring wielder. Johns has a great knack for bringing you up to speed without feeling like you're just reading exposition. Teamed with artist Ethan Van Sciver, this is the start of the definitive modern Hal Jordan.

There is now also available an Absolute Edition of Rebirth. If you really want to dive in, this is the place.

Green Lantern: The Sinestro Corps War Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 – Sinestro is Green Lantern's arch foe, when he forms his own corps of bad guys wearing yellow rings, the we see a huge universe spanning story involving all the Green Lantern Corps, and just what makes Hal Jordan so special. This is probably the finest modern Green Lantern story to date.

Green Lantern: Secret Origin – Published right after Sinestro Corps War, Secret Origin takes us back for an in-depth retelling of Hal Jordan's origin, including his early relationship with Sinestro, as well as his rocky start in the Green Lantern Corps. Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis take the classic Hal Jordan origin story, and throw on a very fresh coat of paint, while still respecting the past.

This is the book that a whole lot of the movie was based on. If you get a copy of it now, you'll see Ryan Reynolds' face on it.

Green Lantern #36-40 and Blackest Night #0 – These issues bring us into the present, with the Rage of the Red Lanterns story arc, and the current Agent Orange arc.  To be honest, I'm not sure how integral these are to the later story, but if you can grab the issues, you'll be caught right up to the current goings on.  Chances are, these stories will be mostly recapped with the start of Blackest Night, but I'm also incredibly intrigued by the events with Hal Jordan and the Blue Lanterns.

The good news is, since the original article was published, Blackest Night came and went. And unlike many promises in comics, it actually delivered most of the way through. If you want to read most of it, you can do so in 2 volumes. There's   Blackest Night  , collecting the issues from the mini-series, and Green Lantern: Blackest Night, collecting the issues from the main title during the event. You could go so far as to read Green Lantern Corps: Blackest Night as well, but it isn't necessary.

BONUS READS!  Perhaps you don't just want to know what you can read to appreciate the current stuff, but you just want to know some great Hal Jordan stories.  These are the best I've read.

Green Lantern / Green Arrow Collection Vol.1 and Vol. 2 – These books compile the classic run of writer Denny O'Neil and legendary artist Neal Adams. When Hal Jordan is confronted with the real world by Green Arrow, they hit the road to see what America is really like. Touching on politics, racism, drug use, and all sorts of issues which hadn't ever been touched on in comics, these issues changed not just Green Lantern, but comic book history, and they've never been the same since.

DC: The New Frontier – Master creator Darwyn Cooke tells his unique take of the time just prior to the start of the Justice League of America. The story focuses very heavily on a young pilot named Hal Jordan who has no fear at all. This stripped down version of a late 50's era hero is a wonderful and elegant re-imagining of Green Lantern, and his place in the DC Universe.

Showcase Presents: Green Lantern, Vol. 1 – If you really want to go back to the place where it all started, check out these black and white reprints of Hal Jordan's earliest adventures, written by John Broome, and illustrated by Gil Kane. This includes the first appearance of Hal Jordan from 1959's Showcase #22, as well as the Guardians, Sinestro, and his lifelong love, Carol Ferris. If you're a nut for the classic comics, this is the book for you.  And remember folks, Stan Lee wouldn't hire Gil Kane to work at Marvel because he said he drew everyone, "too gay."

JLA: Year One – While not specifically a Green Lantern story, in 1998, Mark Waid and Barry Kitson re-told the origin of the Justice League in 12 issues. It really shines when it comes to depictions of these characters as the JLA is forming. We get to see some great moments in the relationship between Hal and Barry Allen, the Flash, and it's just a fun read.  There are trades out there, but a new version will be available from DC in December later this year.  If you see it in a shop, pick it up!


  1. I must say; I really have tried but have never been able to get into GL. Maybe it’s just not my scene?

  2. I just finished the Sinestro Corps War for the first time and it was possibly the best GL story I’ve ever read.

  3. How difficult is it to find JLA: Year One? 

    I’ve been wanting to read a good JLA story that has the main cast.  

  4. GREAT ARTICLE. I’ve read most of these and it’s a good collection to familiarize any new reader.

  5. I have DC New Frontier (Had it for quite a while actually) and haven’t read it yet, I’ve got to get off this site and start some time!

  6. @SteenAR: It’s pretty thin on the ground. It’s been out of print for a while and it’s no longer canon (but don’t let that get in the way of a good story). With enough hunting online you should find it at a price that suits you. EBay has some sets up at reasonable prices now. 

  7. That really suprises me about Stan Lee.  Mainly because he was angry that CBS changed the name Bruce Banner to David Banner, and the reason was cited that the name Bruce seemed too gay.

  8. @UncleBob  Different times.

  9. I just got lucky with finding JLA Year One during a CBS sale. Just bought it and never looked back. Great story + art. I hope it gets Absolute-ized one day.

  10. I feel sometimes like the only guy in the world who has read Will World.  Hugely underrated GL story.

  11. Too bad DC doubled the price of Showcase v. 1 as it was a steal at $9.99. They’ve made up for it a bit, however, by releasing V.5, which has the Adams run in glorious black and white.

  12. @Tork  Just finished that a couple days ago. Loved it. 

  13. “RIIIISE”
    Seriously Blackest Night was not very good…