Review – The Green Lantern #4: Prey of the Sun-Eaters

Reading Time: 2 minutes
The Green Lantern #4 variant cover, via DC Comics.

The Green Lantern #4 – Grant Morrison, Writer; Liam Sharp, Artist; Steve Oliff, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9.5/10

Corrina: Definite Silver Age SF Vibe

Ray: Grant Morrison’s run on The Green Lantern has been fascinating because every issue feels like it’s its own arc with its own subplots and genre – while a larger meta-arc still subtly builds in the background. Last issue’s huge cliffhanger involving Hal seemingly executing a particularly vile space criminal takes a back seat in The Green Lantern #4 to a much bigger storyline, as Morrison brings back one of the deadliest villains in the entire DC Universe – the Sun-Eaters. This sentient-race of star-eating beings have frequently plagued the Legion and were the big bad in the 1996 event The Final Night, but they’ve rarely shown up since. Here in deep space, they can consume whole worlds and never be noticed by Earth – except when the Green Lantern Corps gets involved. Making things even more disturbing, the power to survive a Sun-Eater is in the hands of the malevolent Blackstars, and their sadistic leader, Countess Belzebeth. The scale of this issue is spectacular.

A lot of this issue’s strength comes down to Liam Sharp’s brilliant art. Few writers make alien creatures as genuinely alien as they appear here – the insectoid beings in the first few pages are hideous but surprisingly expressive. And Sharp does amazing things with negative space in the scenes where a few Green Lanterns stand alone against the Sun-Eater. The identity of the “mysterious stranger” looking to join the Blackstars is not really much of a secret – especially once we’ve seen Hal be suspended from the Lanterns by the Guardians despite his heroism against the Sun-Eaters. Hal seemingly going rogue and joining a villain group undercover is not a new concept – it was used extensively in Venditti’s run – but Morrison’s run is bringing a whole new level of scale to the story. Morrison on a licensed property is always a risky proposition – you never know when you’re going to get those last few arcs of his X-men – but this is the kind of property where it feels like he can truly cut loose and indulge his best instincts.

The Green Lantern #4
Planet of the bugs. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Any resemblance to other Green Lantern runs is probably strictly unintentional on the part of The Green Lantern, which is very much doing its own thing.

I’ve been ambivalent about this series because Hal Jordan isn’t a selling point for me but there’s no question that Morrison and Sharp are doing exactly what they want with this space-based property. Green Lantern space feels more wide-open than in any other Lantern story in recent memory.

That’s why we get a Vampire Princess with a name that reminded me of Elizabeth Bathory, the woman who allegedly bathed in the blood of her murder victims. Sharp’s gift for complicated, mythical elements works well with a storyteller who’s adding mythical elements to his universe. The Sun Eaters are new but never have they felt so..alive..as in this story.

I guess Hal Jordan as an out-and-out-murderer is the price paid for him to save the world from the Sun-Eaters. Though that could be a swerve too, with Hal working behind the scenes with the Guardians.

Next up, maybe: Irresistible Vampire Princess banters with Irresistible Cowboy Earth Hero. I imagine Morrison will love playing with that archetype.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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