What has been fascinating to see over the course of Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp’s run on The Green Lantern to date is that while creating the quintessential Green Lantern story for the ages- and one for the comic history books, or I’ll eat my cape and cowl – with revisits through Hal Jordan’s greatest hits, each issue has taken the trouble to really work as stand alone issues, give or take the odd two-parter here or there. We’ve had new takes on the classic Green Arrow/Green Lantern team-up, takes on the sci-fi stories of the Julius Schwartz era, as well as all-but-forgotten Silver Age characters returning to be enveloped into the DCU’s current contemporary timeline, all the while taking Hal back to his roots as a inter-planetary copper. A point we are reminded of in this sumptuous looking issue.
It’s similar to what Morrison achieved on his Batman run, and seems to be something of an obsession with him over the past decade. And, why not? Other writers are currently trying to do exactly the same thing – make sense of convoluted characters histories, forging these stories into one coherent timeline – but Morrison is hands down the winner because he embraces the more bizarre and makes it work. Green Lantern has never looked this good, and I think it’s to his credit he doesn’t feel like he needs to delve into the more recent additions to Jordan’s story with the inclusion of other Lantern Corps we saw develop under Geoff Johns’ magnificent run. After all, these are still fresh and well established, while the past is often forgotten about because of its daftness. Morrison has always had an eye for the more whacky Silver Age tropes.
In the past Sharp has openly worn the artistic influences of past greats in the work he’s produced for this series, with nods to the likes of Frank Frazzetta and Neal Adams. Here too he is purposefully embracing such influences by colouring his own work, which harkens back to the glory days of Metal Hurlant. As does the sci-fi laced story by Morrison too. At times it can be a surreal experience reading this issue, as Hal seems to be engulfed by a sentient cloud and comes across lost colleagues in some kind of Hellish blood-red other-dimensional plane, with a satisfactory twist to events in which we are asked to ponder who is the real monster here? Well, it’s us, humanity, isn’t it? It always is.
It’s one of the less complex stories in this series so far, but I think that’s the point, as we are invited to simply stare gob-smacked at the art, with a liberal use of splash pages and overly large panels that really speak to Sharp’s strengths.
Fascinatingly, too, is that while each issue can be almost read in isolation, making each new issue a new point of entry for any are readers, thanks to Morrison’s years of writing experience and just the one artist producing each and every issue. Tthere is a consistency and continuity to the whole saga, as we discovered in Season 1 with the Darkstars story arc.
If this whole run had come out just a year later, I suspect it would have been brought out under the more expensive DC Black Label imprint, thereby putting off a good many fans. I’m glad it didn’t. In a world we currently live in now, this model of publication – a finite story, and NOT a cross-over, told over a certain amount of issues, with each issue clearly having been laboured over with blood, sweat and tears – could well the model for success moving forward. And, a way of sustaining print literature of this type. A true masterclass in the potential for all comic books and the reason that, one again, this title comes high on my reading list and recommendations to friends too.
The Green Lantern Season 2 #3 is available now from DC Comics, if you can find a comic book store open, at that is.
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