Grant Morrison writes with a complexity that gets scholars giddy. Having just closed out a deep dive on Grant Morrison’s 12-issue run on All-Star Superman on the AIPT Comics podcast, I found myself drawn to his layered genius and had to tackle his Green Lantern run. In the latest issue of Green Lantern Season 2, out now in comic shops thanks to DC Comics releasing a few books a week as the pandemic rages on, Liam Sharp and Morrison probe an adventure on Earth as Hal Jordan is grounded. Things get weird, aliens you’ve never fathomed are explored, and the greatest intergalactic space cop does his best with what he’s given.
The first thing that’ll knock your socks off when reading this book is how beautiful and painterly the art is by Sharp. There is a level of realism from skin tone, to backgrounds, to the alien that Hal must confront this issue that brings this book to another level of surrealism. It’s smartly used early on when Hal shows up to test a new aircraft, shifts to more casual comic book stylings, and then dips back into the surreal look when things get weird.
There are visual ideas at work here that may not have worked with conventional coloring and pencils. A closeup of Hal in the cockpit is a good example of how Sharp is blending realism with color, giving the scene psychedelic vibe that captures the mind-altering moment in the narrative. You’ll believe Hal is being transported to another place as if reality is falling away.
Interspersed in the narrative are more conventional-looking pencils that are blended well with the strange, painterly scenes to further transport Hal — and by extension you — to a place that’s unfathomable to imagine. Unfathomable until Sharp knocked the art out of the park here, that is. The visuals blend together to help remind us even the most cosmic of things can happen on Earth. You just have to be in the right place at the right time. Truly, there are multiple pages and panels you’ll linger on longer than you would with most comics.
In the case of this story that’s more than true thanks to Hal being able to stop a very terrible natural disaster from happening on Earth. Morrison cleverly strips Hal of his ring early on to further prove how much of a hero Hal is, but also to show intergalactic things can happen even to us mortals. There are complex ideas at work here — some might say godly even — and it’s impressive to see how Hal reacts calmly. It’s a reminder he’s a hero with or without the ring.
Deeper still, Morrison is playing around with an interesting natural alien entity you don’t normally see. It further expands your mind and makes you think deeper into what it means for a life form to be alien. Not to reduce the quality of this story, but in a lot of ways, this adventure plays like a good done-in-one TV adventure. Most will be able to pop in and enjoy this tale without reading previous issues, further strengthening the quality of the single-issue comic story here.
I’ve dipped in and out of Morrison/Sharp Green Lantern stories of late, but couldn’t help but adore what they’ve accomplished here. Sharp is shocking the system with masterwork-level art blending styles to make something incredible and surreal. Meanwhile, Morrison is crafting a hero’s story that captures the worth of the man in the costume and also how empowering it is to have strong judgment and fearlessness. It’s a strong example of how great Green Lantern can be in the right hands.
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