There is nothing a like a great prequel, especially if it fills in all those holes that the reader wants to know about their favorite characters. One of the best ones I remember from growing up is the Muppet Babies, as I grew up watching The Muppet Show, and the cartoon offered us fans another side to our favorite characters. This is also true of the Truth: Red, White and Black book where we see that before Steve Rogers became the iconic hero, many Black soldiers volunteered, much like the Tuskegee Experiment. As I always wondered who was there before, as the new Black Panther comic book, showcases in many trips to the Hall of the Black Panther, where he seeks the council of all the Panthers who came before.
As Neil Gaiman’s Marvel 1602, though not an origin story, but rather an alternative history, how would our favorite characters favor in an another time in history? This is precisely what Gotham By Gaslight sought to show readers that Batman will for all intents and purposes, be the same, just with 17th century ideology. This is also what Milestone’s Icon, Kumail Rizvi’s Kahlil and Superman: Red Son shows audiences, that depending on the circumstance, we might not have Superman as we know him to be. This leads me to ask of one of my favorite characters, Green Lantern, how was there never no one worthy before Alan Scott, Hal Jordan, John Stewart, and Kyle Rayner, to be a Green Lantern? In Doug Moench’s superior Green Lantern: Dragon Lord we meet Earth’ first Lantern, Jong Li.
The reader is transport ancient China, 660 A.D. precisely, where we are taken to the Last House of the Dragon Lords, and meet a young tempestuous monk, named Jong Li, one whose impatience overshadows his potential. We are also introduced to jade Moon, who belongs to the Emperor’s Harem, as she looks to escape the palace with her child, she seeks refuge within the Dragon Lords temple, unfortunate for her, the palace guard tracks her down. This unfortunate chain of events leads to the massacre of the Dragon Lords, the capture of Jade and Li to flee with Jade’s son. While Li hides in the woods, the Guardians of the Universe, finds Jong Li, to become Earth’s first Green Lantern, one he is uneasy to accept and finds it even harder to navigate at first. That is until Jade through the Lantern acts as his conscience, guiding his actions, as he frees the country from the corruption the Emperor’s rule has brought. By issue’s end, an experienced Jong Li, finds himself on the precipice of reuniting Jade with her son , as his abilities become even greater.
Overall, an excellent story which combines a story told in Ancient China using the familiarity of the Green Lantern canon. The story by Moench is smart, action packed, and delicately weaves Eastern mythology with superhero lore. The art by the creative team is refined, vivid and striking. Altogether, a story that more than deserves to be part of the Green Lantern pantheon, as it proves that Jong Li is the standard all Green Lanterns including Hal Jordan could only hope to follow after.
Story: Doug Moench Art: Paul Gulacy, Bob Lappan, James Sinclair, Joe Rubinstein
Story: 10 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy