Following the epic conclusion of Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps, the titular character makes his return, now under the stewardship of legendary comics writer Grant Morrison. Working with Liam Sharp, one of the most innovative artists at DC Comics, the Scottish born writer has created a premiere issue that serves as a re-introduction to the character and builds on pre-existing continuity to achieve something new. That is a tough balance to manage, but Morrison’s script excels at both.
Morrison often breaks characters down to their essential elements and builds his stories over-top that foundation. The issue begins on earth, reacquainting the readership with the titular character. Hal Jordan is a fearless test pilot whose true calling is policing the space-ways, not trapped on earth – one of many planets under his jurisdiction. The most important part of that statement is that Hal is fearless, which is explicitly stated by the character in the pages of The Green Lantern #1. Jordan is a cop whose job is to defeat those who would create fear, all of which is laid out to the reader before the Green Lantern even has to make a fist.
The Green Lantern leans into the ‘cop’ aspect of the character heavily, casting this interplanetary comic in the procedural mold. Jordan has superiors he must report to, cases to work and must enforce the rule of law (in more ways than one). This is a brilliant move on Morrison’s part because it sets his series apart from previous acclaimed runs on the title and offers an accessible storytelling device through which Morrison can filter all manner of high concept ideas. This is shown in the story’s opening, where Morrison writes the typical chase scene one would expect in any cop drama, but throws in a surprising twist that only he could think of.
Morrison eschews the larger than life, mythic epics that have come to define the Green Lantern franchise over the last decade. Instead he offers an adventure that is both the beginning of something larger, but also a stand-alone tale with a satisfying conclusion. It is an accessible story that requires no prior knowledge of the character and is on its own, a satisfying read. In that way it resembles the police procedural, with Hal Jordan tackling criminals on a case-by-case basis. The approach feels fresh in the continued era of decompressed storytelling and is a much-needed change of pace for the character – though Morrison does pack all kinds of cool concepts into the oversized comic.
The Green Lantern adds new ideas to the cosmic side of the DC Universe, building unique worlds and offers a diverse Green Lantern Corps that takes full advantage of Hal Jordan’s sci-fi origins. Living viruses and beings that exist outside of our known perspective count themselves among the emerald warriors, showing the inventiveness Morrison brings to the series. This series may feature Jordan as the central protagonist, but Morrison seems poised to put the spotlight on all manner of Corps members, all in an effort to expand the world of Green Lantern.
Liam Sharp’s artwork is stellar and makes a compelling case for why he may be the perfect artistic companion for Morrison. His page layouts are deceptively simple, echoing Morrison’s plot and story structure. One standout example would be the re-introduction of the Book of Oa where his design skills are on full display in a gorgeous page that guides the readers eye whilst defying traditional panel structure.
Sharp’s character designs for the issue are impressive and aren’t limited to aliens that are essentially human in appearance. The aliens come in all shapes and sizes, some even lack a physical form, which makes for a visually stunning comic-book. Sharp also excels at drawing powerful heroes that are also incredibly human, with his range of facial expressions varied and expertly used. Between his pencils and Morrison’s scripts, Hal Jordan has never been more human.
The new era for the Green Lantern Corps has arrived, with a pretty damn good start. Simple in delivery, but with a complex design, Morrison and Sharp produced a comic book that has something for everyone.