Green Lantern: Blackstars #1 – Grant Morrison, Writer; Xermanico, Artist; Steve Oliff, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
Ray: In an unusual storytelling device, Grant Morrison is taking a break between the two “Seasons” of his Green Lantern run – but not actually leaving, doing a bridge miniseries with former Injustice artist Xermanico, namely Green Lantern: Blackstars #1.
There’s a good reason for the change in structure too, as the Green Lanterns are no more. Reality has been altered, the Guardians are a distant memory, and Green Lantern Hal Jordan is now Blackstar Parallax, a military officer under the command of Controller Mu bringing order to the galaxies. Hal has been turned into a villain – not the first time – but he’s also still working against evil. It’s just that the Blackstars’ primary method is forced conversion into a cult. From the start, we see the Blackstars breaking the spirits of the ancient immortal demons of Ysmault, before eventually allowing the monsters to join them out of boredom more than anything. It’s a smooth operation, making it all the more eerie.
It’s interesting that Morrison has chosen to make the Blackstars the main villain of his run, given that this is coming right on the heels of Robert Venditti using the similar Darkstars. But while the Darkstars were brute-force warriors, the Blackstars are a conversion force.
As they turn on Mongul and Warworld later in the issue, we see how they switch up their tactics based on the target. The issue is full of stunning visuals as Xermanico (paired with Liam Sharp’s regular colorist Steve Oliff) delivers both gruesome monsters and impressive vistas. Hal’s partnership with the ruthless Beelzebeth also delivers some intriguing moments, especially once it’s revealed what Mu’s plan for the two of them is. This is clearly a short-term status quo, but Morrison has managed to create one of the most compelling and unpredictable GL runs in a long time. I’m sure he’ll completely upend the status quo once again by the end of this miniseries.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.