THE GREEN LANTERN #1
Written by Grant Morrison
Art by Liam Sharp, Steve Oliff, and Tom Orzechowski
Edited by Jessica Chen and Brian Cunningham
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: November 7, 2018
Grant Morrison’s Green Lantern #1 is chaotic, exciting, and forebodingly insidious.
Grant Morrison’s signature moves are character deconstruction and meta-commentary by using the most absurd, fantastical, and often obscure elements of the source material. His works on All-Star Superman, New X-Men, Doom Patrol, and even Batman all share these inherent qualities in their plots and the results have, invariably, been unforgettable tales that change the perception of the characters forevermore.
So, the comic book community rejoiced when the Scotsman announced that he’d be steering Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps on the main title but, curiously, Morrison said he’d be tame with his tale. He’s sworn to every outlet that would listen that he would fixate his story on the Lantern Corps’ central function of being police officers for the star ways and that it would be a superhero version of a cop procedural.
I think he’s lying.
Green Lantern #1 is simple prologue. Some baddies are around for the sake of action and exposition, Hal Jordan is pulled into the fray, Jordan meets up with the Guardians who are anxious about looming threat, and the looming threat introduces itself in the final page. It’s a standard story for a numero uno issue. Morrison’s writing, as always, is excellent. Every character, immediately, has a distinctive voice and he balances the need for plot work/exposition with dynamic character moments and action very well.
Morrison also has found the perfect partners in Liam Sharp and Steve Oliff. Together, they draw Morrison’s vision and the absurdities that are expected from a Green Lantern title with a stylized, grotesque glee that is reminiscent of mid 90’s 2000 AD magazines but, with a modern spin. Think something like Glenn Fabry penciling but Mike Allred coloring.
The aesthetic Sharp and Oliff create will prove to a wonderful marriage for Morrison’s often nightmarish plot sensibilities. They are also able to match Morrison’s frantic pacing. Morrison’s story shoves the audience into a cavalcade of locations, landscapes, and planets, without so much as a text-box but Sharp and Oliff usher us gently with expertly placed visual cues and ensure that each locale has a distinct color, identity, and feel. The artists truly achieve something in that respect.
So why do I think Morrison is lying? Why am I calling his bluff about promising to make this story simple and straightforward? Do me a favor and count how many times Morrison scripts the phrase, “space police.”
We’ve always joked that the Green Lanterns were space cops but Morrison is the first writer to ever run with that concept. He goes to great lengths in this first issue to build up that concept, has the Lanterns portrayed in the book approach each confrontation as a real police officer would, shellacs the story with themes of law and order, and teases a central conflict that will see The Green Lanterns and Guardians of The Universe contemplate their ability and their right to serve and protect. Morrison even goes as a far as to refer to Oa as a “precinct” for The Green Lanterns.
Morrison is clearly up to something and has something to say.
But regardless of where the story goes and if my prediction is right or wrong, this is a must-see new direction for Hal Jordan. It’s a back-to-basics story for Hal Jordan and it will be refreshing to see him out of the angsty rut he was in during the end of New 52 era and away from “the end of the universe” style plots that Vendetti had him wrapped up in. The issue does lose points for the prologue style cadence of the opening but, overall, it’s an exciting emerald dawn for the Green Lantern Corps.
The Verdict: 8.0/10