I wanted to like Emerald Knights. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't really good. This is the first time Lantern Kyle Raynor (voiced in my head by Jeremy Sisto) would encounter legendary Lantern Hal Jordan (now voiced by Ryan Reynolds). This was the first time legacy meets relative newbie, outside of Kyle meeting Jordan as the villainous Parallax, and the dramatic tension should have felt greater.
Instead of palpable tension, Marz's writing didn't seem to capture much more than Kyle feeling inadequate compared to Jordan, who at this time is still very unsure of his powers as a new Lantern, which doesn't feel like Hal "Fucking" Jordan. The Guardians of the Universe come off as worthless, since they claim they don't act, even when about to be killed by Sinestro. I'm not sure how that explains their creation of the Manhunters or the GL Corps, but that aside, the story ends with Hal fighting his future self, Parallax, who can travel through time like opening pages in a history book, to paraphrase, but somehow doesn't know that he sacrifices himself when the sun needs to be reignited during Final Night. How the hell did he miss that? He tried to reorder time during Zero Hour and somehow in his attempt at omnipotence misses his own death? Did he just not look into the future since the story was about changing the past? Even with the memory-wiping, how could Jordan/Parallax still miss this with his abilities?
The art is passable. Unfortunately the story is penciled by half a dozen artists and almost as many inkers. It's fairly typical DC 90's art. It does the job, but is nothing to write home about. Many pages look like not much time was spent on them and some of the inkers are heavy-handed with their thick lines, which may be a result of loose pencils (Banks and Austin issues). The artistic highlight is probably Jeff Johnson and veteran Bob Wiacek in the first chapter of the titular story. It's got a cleanness not evident earlier, though, on an aside, I don't care for how Marz makes Hal act when he finds out almost everything he knew is gone. Looking at the second chapter, Paul Pelletier pencils, and Austin inks, and I'm seeing what looks a bit like the first reprints in this book, overly heavy inks in places. Hmmm. Then we have Johnson again with his tighter looking art and good facial expressions, again inked by Wiacek, with the second half by Anthony Williams and Andy Lanning, also looking good, with Batman making a solid Batman appearance. Then repeat this and you have the rest of the story of inconsistent art.
There's also an appearance by the Justice League of America and Green Arrow Connor Hawke, which is kind of interesting, but the story, by Chuck Dixon, is less than awe-inspiring even though it's where Hal learns of his friend Ollie Queen's (original Green Arrow) death at the hands of eco-terrorists because Ollie is a ladies' man who can keep his shaft in his quiver. Serves the prick right. And of course, who do our heroes fight? Eco-fucking terrorists who want to destroy Seattle. Isn't that one of the greenest cities on the planet? Is the message that, fuck you and your attempts at progress, even green cities can suck our eco-cocks? While some comics were becoming post-modern or post-something since the early '80s, plenty were still overly simple with flat antagonists. I don't think I'd mind a revamped version of this story, but then again, what's the point given where the Green Lantern titles are now.
My attempts to look at the post-Crisis Green Lantern mythos by checking out everything the library has has had it's ups and downs. This story is somewhere in the middle.
I'd read Green Lantern: Emerald Knights when was serialized in the late '90s. I don't recall much other than time travel gone wrong and Hal Jordan ending up in then present day and fighting alongside Kyle Rayner. I think reading any of these issues on their own, without holding too much to canon would be a lot more fun. Of course, I was still in my late teens then and perhaps was awed by less or simply did not discriminate since comics were more my life then.
Really, disappointing is that I normally like Marz's and Dixon's writing from the '90s. It's usually fun. I've read a good portion of Marz's GL and Dixon's Batman work, but perhaps it's time for a reexamination of what I want to keep in my collection. I think it's time to say goodbye GL 100-106, even if it breaks up a run.
Cover image borrowed from the Comic Book Database.