The Green Lantern #5 – Grant Morrison, Writer; Liam Sharp, Artist; Steve Oliff, Colorist
Ray – 10/10
Corrina: The Plot Comes Together
Ray: Once in a while, you get an absolutely perfect combination of writer, artist, and character. I’m starting to think The Green Lantern may just be one of those unicorn runs. The Green Lantern #5 is a single set piece taking place on the planet of Vorr, as the sadistic Blackstar queen Belzebeth subjects Hal to a nihilistic test to determine if he gets to be a Blackstar. Taking a step away from Green Lantern’s standard sci-fi vibe, this issue is almost entirely a horror story. Hal is unleashed into an underground necropolis in search of three legendary artifacts that make a Blackstar. All the while, he’s hunted by the forces of the undead and subjected to different tests and handicaps by Belzebeth – starting with the fact that he’s shackled. While Grant Morrison is at his best here, drawing on deep DC mythology including the Justice League and the Legion, it’s Liam Sharp who’s the real secret weapon here. The detail he puts into his work is unlike anything else on the stand.
Just look at that stunning splash page of the Necropolis – how is this book monthly? This is easily the most stunning book on the stands visually, and it adds a wild surreal edge to Morrison’s plot – which is actually a pretty standard but brilliantly executed undercover cop thriller. This issue is Hal’s hazing at the hands of the notorious crimelord, and by the end he’s gained their trust and an in into the society. But he’ll face one more test before he can enter, and it might just involve giving up his soul. This issue thankfully shines some light on the cliffhanger involving Hal taking a life – he’s working deep cover for the Guardians to uncover a Blackstar spy. There’s only so many plots out there and the undercover cop one has certainly been used a lot – but rarely this well. Grant Morrison is a weird writer whose writing style often goes off the deep end, but he’s found a title that brings out the absolute best in his style. This could be his best work since All-Star Superman.
Corrina: Liam Sharp’s detailed art makes the underworld in this story come alive, especially the choice for what monsters are spotlighted and what lurks at the edges of the panels, including Belzebeth herself. When creators said in interviews said The Green Lantern would be old school cocky Hal Jordan, they were right. While this story is high quality, as Ray says, it also depends on your tolerance for cocky Hal Jordan, too. And so, while I recognize the strength of this work, I can’t say it connects with me.
But this is an excellent space-based tale, even if it’s predictable that Hal was working undercover as “gone evil” and Belzebeth herself is a bit one-note. It’s the art that makes the sequence of Hal’s testing sing, yes, but it’s also one of Morrison’s most straightforward plots in recent memory.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.