When it was originally announced that the legendary Grant Morrison was going to be writing a Green Lantern title, I (like many people) was ecstatic. Morrison is one of my all-time favorite writers/creators. I’ve always admired and respected his ability to take characters and stories to strange new places and to look at things from different angles. His knack for presenting a story in a non-linear manner and connecting the scattered dots at the end to make your brain spark with glee is, quite simply, second to none.
In anticipation for the book, I scooped up DC NATION #4 from my comic shop to read the interview with Morrison and his artist counterpart on the project, Liam Sharp. It’s a great read, with Morrison and Sharp giving you insight into their creative process and the various inspirations for the overall story. One of the things you learn from the interview is that this book will not be a world-ending arc that threatens the Multiverse, but rather, follow Hal Jordan and his interactions with the beings and world(s) around him as an intergalactic police officer.
Grabbing a copy of issue #1, the first thing you notice is the beautiful cover by Sharp. Looking at covers from the Golden, Silver and Bronze Age, the characters for the most part were always interacting with one another and there were gorgeous, bright colors. The Modern Age started to kind of change that and I think we’re seeing many more covers with characters staring directly at the reader—sort of breaking that fourth wall. I’m mixed on this. I love older covers for the reasons I mentioned above. Sharp’s cover for issue #1 falls into that Modern Age trend, but it works so well because the title of this book is THE GREEN LANTERN. The key word being “the.” I absolutely love that title, and as such, find it completely appropriate that the cover image is just Hal with his fist raised, power ring surging, staring back at us with the swirl of cosmos flowing behind him. Perfect!
Sharp’s brilliance continues throughout the book with his detailed interiors that never really seem to be too busy. For me, it has a Moebius vibe to it—especially in his handling of the intergalactic and outer space scenes. Another great example is his handling of the inside of Chriselon’s downed ship. Sharp masterfully lays out each page with a refreshing, organic feel that comes through his lines and inking. There are a lot of artists out there who have a look that is “of the time,” meaning it looks like it’s from a certain period of comics. (For example, you can spot an ’80’s or ’90’s comic a mile away.) Sharp doesn’t have that. His work feels like it spans a wide range of periods and influences. It stands completely on its own.
Okay, Sharp’s art guides the story well. But…how’s the story?
What Morrison does so well is keep it simple. There’s a threat out there. Some bad guys are looking to obtain this device in order to build something. As the reader, we’re not quite sure who the bad guys are and what that “something” they’re building is, but there’s anti-matter involved and a traitor somewhere in the Corps, and so, your interest intensifies. Is it all connected? We see a little glimpse at the end as to what might be going on, and it raises more questions, while simultaneously piquing our interest even more by leaving us hanging for what’s to come.
One of the major strengths of the issue is the introduction of our hero, Hal Jordan. This isn’t the uber-confident flyboy hunk working at Ferris that we’re used to seeing. While his years of being a space cop have left him with a wealth of knowledge in terms of intergalactic beings, customs, etc., something happened with him and the Green Lanterns and it seems to have left him lost and empty. He’s a man who’s not fulfilling his purpose and it’s made him numb. He’s directionless, a wanderer. This all serves to drive home the idea that Hal and his ring are one. It’s not just a tool or a weapon—it’s a part of him. True, this is somewhat of a common theme in Green Lantern lore, but there’s something different about how Morrison makes you feel this one.
This book pretty much nails it on all fronts: pacing, art, setup, execution…everything. So, grab a copy quick!