Tales of the Green Lantern Corps reprints stories from the 1980s and 1990s, but makes the mistake of opening with the longest and weakest content. Green Lanterns from across the universe gather, but the story takes a wild swerve from a beginning seemingly intended to recap assorted moments of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern’s history, before diving into a standard Green Lantern adventure. Mike W. Barr’s plot provides the villain with interesting motives, but Len Wein’s scripts suck any thrill. They start the interaction as if presenting an annual middle-management conference, then switch to the formality of a staged play as per Joe Staton’s sample page. Staton is professional, but not enthused by a plot requiring him to cram dozens of characters on every page.

The remaining material is all shorter, and more entertaining in taking a tour around the assorted alien Green Lanterns, who in the past were restricted to a few lines at best in playing back-up to Hal Jordan. Seeing their different attitudes and abilities is nice, although there’s nothing about most of Paul Kupperberg’s stories requiring an alien Green Lantern, which isn’t to say they’re not interesting. The moral quandry he sets Jeryll on a world of absolute peace is a heartbreaker, and one that couldn’t just substitute Jordan. It’s interesting to see Carmine Infantino and Don Newton drawing Green Lantern tales, and Paris Cullins really stands out.

Dave Gibbons draws the final few entries, these being his earliest work for American publishers, and the material ensuring he’d rapidly become the regular Green Lantern artist. Todd Klein’s plots are inventive and entertaining, with an ethical issue at the heart of each, although a Green Lantern goat might have been better left unexplored. Gibbons (sample spread right) lays that out with the clarity and elegance applied to the four earlier stories, and several more of their collaborations can be found in Volume 2.

The sheer page count of the lesser opening story when weighed against the remainder drags the overall ranking down, but there’s plenty to enjoy among the shorter pieces.