While there’s no doubt that Morrison will have a clever and ingenious set of stories planned out, the first issue has to be a real doozy these days, and The Green Lantern #1 was a little underwhelming.
DC has just released issue one of The Green Lantern by Grant Morrison and Liam Sharp. In a back page interview, Morrison says “With Hal, I think it’s so simple and direct. That’s why it comes out with giant hands, and giant hammers, and giant nails – very specific physical things.” However, the opening few pages are anything but simple. There’s a lot of silly alien speak as Lantern Maxin Tox tries to report back to OA while engaged in combat with a vegan spider pirate.
As onlooking aliens gamble on the outcome of the battle, the spider bites off one of the Lantern’s fingers, to which he exclaims, “That was my favourite finger you savage.” It’s all a bit Douglas Adams for the first few pages, as we meet Floozle Flem, a super intelligent all-purpose virus, and size-shifting aliens are tricked into bottles with the smell of limes.
The opening gambit that Morrison gives us is all a bit twee, and the double speak and “Flaaart” sound effects almost cheapen the whole thing. Thankfully by page 10, we catch up with Hal, lying motionless on the ground waiting for his current love interest to return. He’s looking up at the stars, no doubt foreshadowing his dream of returning to his days as Green Lantern, and by page 14 he’s encountering tramp-like aliens, beating them up, then discovering a crashed half-dead Green Lantern that offers Hal his power battery, so Jordan can recharge his ring and return to OA.
I really like Grant Morrison’s writing, but there’s just something a little too awkward about the first half of this book. It’s all a bit convenient and that’s odd coming from him. I know he probably felt it best to get Hal back in costume ASAP, but I think I may have liked to see just a little more of Hal on Earth before he is thrown into Morrison’s strange alien universe.
Liam Sharp’s artwork is also a mixed bag. There are panels that are cluttered and confusing, and I don’t think the colourist, Steve Oliff, helped here. In the bigger panels it looks fine, but those smaller pieces with a lot going on seem muddied and dull.
Sharp’s Hal Jordan seems modelled on Miracle Man, and his work here looks a lot like Rick Veitch’s. Maybe it’s me, but there’s a lot of shots where Hal’s head looks too small for his long limbs and body. I know that proportion-wise, it’s probably accurate, but it just doesn’t scan well in a space cop comic book.
Towards the end of The Green Lantern #1, we get a subplot about a traitor in our midst and an alien race collecting components to build their “ultimate asset” but I’m not sure how excited I am to lay down my $4.99 for issue 2.
I have no doubt that Morrison will have a clever and ingenious set of stories planned out, but that first issue has to be a real doozy these days to keep us coming back for more, and this was a little underwhelming.
I know the idea is to take it back to basics, but we have seen this done a hundred times before, and I wonder if readers need more to hold onto these days, especially with classic DC heroes that such as GL. Alan Moore has already given us Hill St Blues in space, via Top 10, and this run looks set to copy that sort of storytelling.
I was hoping for a little more, but maybe future issues will deliver.